Working with her was like being bombed by watermelons... It's what Alan Ladd thought about Sophia Loren, right, and is one of a new collection of insults

The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm. Alexander Woolcott

Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 365 kinds of cheeses. Charles de Gaulle on France

In America sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it is a fact. Marlene Dietrich

The English think incompetence is the same thing as sincerity. Quentin Crisp

I mean, who would want to live in a place where the only cultural advantage is that you can turn right on a red light? Woody Allen on London

If you stay in Beverly Hills too long you become a Mercedes. Robert Redford


I like men to behave like men - strong and childish. Francoise Sagan

My husband's mind is like a Welsh railway - one track and dirty. Anon

Woman would be more charming if one could fall into her arms without falling into her hands. Ambrose Bierce

Men fantasise about being in bed with two women. Women fantasise about it too because at least they'll have someone to talk to when he falls asleep. Anon

Most women are not so young as they are painted. Max Beerbohm

Women have a wonderful sense of right and wrong, but little sense of right and left. Don Herold

The trouble with Ian is that he gets off with women because he can't get on with them. Rosamond Lehmann on Ian Fleming

Love is the delightful interval between meeting a girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock. John Barrymore

A woman drove me to drink, and I never even had the courtesy to thank her. WC Fields

The reason that lovers never weary of each other is because they are always talking about themselves. Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Love is two minutes 52 seconds of squishing noises. It shows your mind isn't clicking right. Johnny Rotten

A promiscuous person is someone who is getting more sex than you are. Victor Lownes


There is only one race greater than the Jews - and that is the Derby. Victor Sassoon

The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around. Herb Caen

People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die. Saki

I do not believe in God. I believe in cashmere. Fran Leibowitz


A Conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run. Albert Hubbard

John Major is to leadership what Cyril Smith is to hang gliding. John Prescott

The Prime Minister tells us that she has given the French president a piece of her mind - not a gift I would receive with alacrity. Denis Healey on Margaret Thatcher

All politics are based on the indifference of the majority. James Reston

You couldn't knock the skin off a rice pudding. Roy Hattersley to Michael Foot

The Bertie Wooster of Marxism. Anon on Tony Benn

The dismal-voiced, dough-faced and discredited twister.

Andrew Marr, editor of `The

Independent', on Harold Wilson

Being in politics is like being a football coach; you have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important. Eugene McCarthy

The enviably attractive nephew who sings an Irish ballad for the company and then winsomely disappears before the table-clearing and dish-washing begin. Lyndon B Johnson on John F Kennedy

The left in Canada is more gauche than sinister. John Harney


Why does Courtney Pine always look like a startled dildo? Robert Mapplethorpe

Once upon a time, rock music was sung by the young to disgust the old. Now, it seems, it is sung by the old to embarrass the young. Craig Brown, `The Sunday Times'

I love his work but I couldn't warm to him even if I was cremated next to him. Keith Richards on Chuck Berry

Michael Jackson's album was only called Bad because there wasn't enough room on the sleeve for "Pathetic". The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

Show business

The Russians love Brooke Shields because her eyebrows remind them of Leonid Brezhnev. Robin Williams

Working with her was like being bombed by water melons. Alan Ladd on Sophia Loren

Elizabeth Taylor's so fat, she puts mayonnaise on an aspirin. Joan Rivers

Q. What's the difference between Madonna and a Rottweiler? A lipstick.

`Bitch' magazine

Copulation was, I'm sure, Marilyn's uncomplicated way of saying thank you. Nunnally Johnson

I am neither a movie star nor a singer and really these days not much other than an inflated swimsuit. Samantha Fox

I'm writing Kylie Minogue's biography. It's called `Superstar: Jesus Christ!' Barry Cryer

Glenda Jackson has a face to launch 1,000 dredgers. Jack de Manio

Alan Ladd had only two expressions: hat on and hat off. Anon

Chevvy Chase couldn't ad-lib a fart after a baked-bean dinner. Johnny Carson

The man was a major comedian, which is to say that he had the compassion of an icicle, the effrontery of a carnival shill, and the generosity of a pawn broker. SJ Perelman on Groucho Marx

He acts like he's got a Mixmaster up his ass and doesn't want anyone to know it. Marlon Brando on Montgomery Clift

Charlotte Rampling - a poor actress who mistakes creepiness for sensuality. John Simon

`The Ultimate Insult' by Maria Leach, 1996 (Michael O'Mara, pounds 5.99). To order, call 01403 710851.