Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Black Books

After a long day of reading books, writing books, blogging about books, and teaching and/or selling books, sometimes a person just needs to kick back and watch a television show about books. Black Books is an incredibly silly British comedy about a London bookshop whose cranky Irish owner, played by Dylan Moran, has no interest in selling books at all, and spends the bulk of every episode reading, drinking, smoking, and shouting at people.

Customer: Those books, how much?
Bernard: Hmm?
Customer: Those books. Leather-bound ones.
Bernard: Yes, Dickens. The collected works of Charles Dickens.
Customer: They real leather?
Bernard: They're real Dickens.
Customer: I have to know if they're real leather because they have to go with a
sofa. Everything else in my house is real. I'll give you two hundred for them.
Bernard: Two hundred what?
Customer: Two hundred pounds...
Bernard: Are they leather-bound pounds?
Customer: No...
Bernard: Sorry, I need leather-bound pounds to go with my wallet. Next!

Of course it's not much like a real bookstore, and there's no discussion of books, and books are flung, torn, put in the refrigerator, and stomped on more than they're sold. There's something cathartic about it, actually.

The show ran from 2001 to 2004, but you can rent them on disk. And of course, Youtube has excerpts from the episodes, probably enough of them so you could patch together the entire run of the series. Is that even legal? Here's a terrific bit about Bernard getting a rejection letter for his novel.


jrlennon said...

My favorite exchange:

MANNY: Do you think I should wash my beard?
BERNARD: I think you should wash it, shave it off, nail it to a frisbee, and fling it over a rainbow.

zoe said...

I didn't think you'd have heard of that in America. It's so British.

If you like that, you'd love the IT crowd. Similar idea about a group of IT people in an office. It might be by the same writers. One of the characters is obsessed with comics.

BTW I loved the rant about Stephen King. Swearing is fucking phenomenal.

aos said...

Oddly enough Dylan Moran played a shoplifter in the bookstore scene in Notting Hill a few years earlier. But yes, loved Black Books. Was particularly amused when his friend swallows a self help book and becomes a spiritual advisor.

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