A staggering work of breathtaking deviance

'Harry Potter devises a spell to turn Hague into an all-powerful politician.It goes disastrously wrong'
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The Independent Online

Today I am bringing you a round-up of some of the most talked-about current books and films, so that you can keep your end up in cultural conversations for the next week or two at least...

Today I am bringing you a round-up of some of the most talked-about current books and films, so that you can keep your end up in cultural conversations for the next week or two at least...

"The Accidental PM" by Tony Blair

Tony Blair relates how, while he was quietly getting on with his job as a barrister, his whole life was turned upside down by the unexpected death of the Labour leader John Smith. "People came to me and begged me to lead the Labour Party and run the country and be one of the great statesmen of modern times, and I said, 'Well, OK, but only for one term in office, or maybe two or three, OK?'" How does he think he has made out in a world so far from his quiet legal existence? Pretty damn well, seems to be the answer.

"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius"

The new Martin Amis.

"Hello, Yes, It's Me, the Real Lord Lucan!" by "Lord Lucan"

Annoyed by Muriel Spark's new novel Aiding and Abetting, in which not one but two characters claim to be Lord Lucan, the real Lord Lucan has now sprung into print with this book about his recent life and travels. For obvious reasons, he has had to change the name of most of the places he visits. But he does reveal that he paid a pseudonymous visit to Muriel Spark while she was writing the novel about him, and was laughingly tempted to bump her off there and then. A fascinating glimpse into the mind of the real Lord Lucan, or maybe, of course, an impostor...

"Harry Potter and the 14 Pints"

The best-selling new Harry Potter, in which the youthful wizard takes on the hardest task yet: how to groom William Hague to become the next leader of his country. Harry Potter devises a spell to turn Hague into an all-powerful politician by making him master of the great basic 14 points of policy. It goes disastrously wrong and ends up making Hague boast of drinking 14 pints. Now Harry has to undo the damage he has done. How will he do it?

"Down Under" by Bill Bryson, Robert Hughes and many others

In 1999, Australia was a quiet, remote country inhabited by a few million people and some dozy crocodiles. Then, suddenly, it was decided to dump in the country a lot of desperate writers who had run out of subjects and credibility back home. This was odd, because for years writers had been desperate to get out of Australia. All became clear when it was realised that the Olympic Games were about to hit Australia and that books about Australia would sell like hot cakes. Could be.

"Angela's Ashes"

Yet another Irish cookbook.

"The Harry Potter Cookbook"

Nothing to do with the best-selling children's books, but an old cookery book first published in 1932 in the West Midlands by Harry Potter, a Staffordshire writer who had collected many recipes of the region. It is now being reissued in the hope that a million or two people will buy it by accident.

FILMS

"Gone in 60 Seconds"

Another film about men and sex.

"Chicken Run"

Thrilling story about how underfed, chemical-stuffed chickens from the Far East manage to reach top-priced London restaurants after a journey of many twists and changes.

"Shaft"

Brilliant animated comedy about a single fox's attempts to get through the eponymous Channel Tunnel to Britain to spread rabies.

"X Men"

A thoughtful look at the work of censors.

"Nurse Betty"

The story of Betty Boothroyd, who, as Speaker of the House of Commons, really came to believe in the soap opera that was going on around her and mistook all the characters, such as dishy Tony Blair, cheeky William Hague and sinister Dennis Skinner, for real live people. Her gradual disillusionment and escape from this unreal world is touching but comic.

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