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Stewart Lee

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It's no coincidence that the worst published writer in the world today is also one of the world's most successful writers... Dan Brown. Now Dan Brown is not a good writer, The Da Vinci Code is not literature. Dan Brown writes sentences like "The famous man looked at the red cup." ...and it's only to be hoped that Dan Brown never gets a job where he's required to break bad news. "Doctor is he going to be alright?" "The seventy five year old man died a painful death on the large green table... it was sad".
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Episode 1: "Toilet Books"

 
Stewart Lee

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The world of publishing is in crisis. It's no coincidence that the worst published writer in the world today is also one of the world's most successful writers... Dan Brown. Now Dan Brown is not a good writer, The Da Vinci Code is not literature. Dan Brown writes sentences like "The famous man looked at the red cup." ...and it's only to be hoped that Dan Brown never gets a job where he's required to break bad news. "Doctor is he going to be alright?" "The seventy five year old man died a painful death on the large green table... it was sad".

 
Dan Brown
 

Douglas Brown: Dr Banda, what is the purpose of your visit?
Hastings Banda: Well, I've been asked by the Secretary of State to come here.
Brown: Have you come here to ask the Secretary of State a firm date for Nyasaland's independence?
Banda: I won't tell you that.
Brown: When do you hope to get independence?
Banda: I won't tell you that.
Brown: Dr Banda, when you get independence, are you as determined as ever to break away from the Central African Federation?
Banda: Need you ask me that question at this stage?
Brown: Well, this stage is as good as any other stage. Why do you ask me why I shouldn't ask you this question at this stage?
Banda: Haven't I said that enough for everybody to be convinced that I mean just that?
Brown: Dr Banda, if you break with the Central African Federation, how will you make out economically? After all, your country isn't really a rich country.
Banda: Don't ask me that, leave that to me.
Brown: In which way is your mind working?
Banda: Which way? I won't tell you that.
Brown: Where do you hope to get economic aid from?
Banda: I won't tell you that.
Brown: Are you going to tell me anything?
Banda: Nothing.
Brown: Are you going to tell me why you've been to Portugal?
Banda: That's my business.
Brown: In fact you're going to tell me nothing at all.
Banda: Nothing at all.
Brown: So it's a singularly fruitless interview?
Banda: Well, it's up to you.
Brown: Thank you very much.

 
Hastings Banda
 

Of all his memories of Wilt Chamberlain, the one that stood out for Larry Brown happened long after Chamberlain's professional career had ended. On a summer day in the early 1980s, when Brown was coaching at UCLA, Chamberlain showed up at Pauley Pavilion to take part in one of the high-octane pickup games that the arena constantly attracted. "Magic Johnson used to run the games," Brown recalled Tuesday after hearing that Chamberlain, his friend, had died at 63, "and he called a couple of chintzy fouls and a goaltending on Wilt. "So Wilt said: 'There will be no more layups in this gym,' and he blocked every shot after that. That's the truth, I saw it. He didn't let one [of Johnson's] shots get to the rim." Chamberlain would have been in his mid-40s at the time, and he remained in top physical shape until recently

 
Wilt Chamberlain
 

"There aren't many of us left where I come from."
"And where is that?" asked Mrs. Brown.
The bear looked round carefully before replying.
"Darkest Peru."

 
Michael Bond
 

My English teacher from 1955, run to ground by some documentary crew trying to explain my life, said that in her class I had showed no particular promise. This was true. Until the descent of the giant thumb, I showed no particular promise. I also showed no particular promise for some time afterwards, but I did not know this. A lot of being a poet consists of willed ignorance. If you woke up from your trance and realized the nature of the life-threatening and dignity-destroying precipice you were walking along, you would switch into actuarial sciences immediately. If I had not been ignorant in this particular way, I would not have announced to an assortment of my high school female friends, in the cafeteria one brown-bag lunchtime, that I was going to be a writer. I said "writer," not "poet;" I did have some common sense. But my announcement was certainly a conversation-stopper. Sticks of celery were suspended in mid-crunch, peanut-butter sandwiches paused halfway between table and mouth; nobody said a word. One of those present reminded me of this incident recently I had repressed it and said she had been simply astounded. "Why?," I said. "Because I wanted to be a writer?" "No," she said. "Because you had the guts to say it out loud."

 
Margaret Atwood
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