Page 45 Review by Stephen
Landscape prose hardcover lavishly illustrated on every page with full-colour cartoons, the ink in question is predominantly blue - as are the jokes!
Those I can't quote, but Thomas' art here is to dream up new (and old) contexts for current colloquialisms or conceits, juxtaposing the contemporary with the historical, the irreverent with the revered, and putting frivolous phrases into the mouths of famously po-faced public figures for maximum iconoclastic impact and LOLZ.
This isn't merely "unreliable"; it's full of absolute whoppers, like the most startling set of knuckles to ever be adorned with that 'LOVE' / 'HATE' legend: the Sphinx's.
"In 1066, King Harold II famously had his wife Edith's name tattooed on his chest. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle reported the design to be 'beautifulle to beholde, beynge of qualyte and reallye cool', The decoration surrounding it was, however, said to looke 'a bitte shitte on hyse man boobes.'"
Adding an 'e' doesn't hurt while in those parts of the past that deployed them, but it's the lateral thinking I admire the most.
"In 1483, Richard III's first act as king was to convert the Tower of London into a 'worlde class childcare facilite'."
I know of two princely playmates who might have claimed otherwise.
My favourite piece of lateral thinking combined a) the art of tattoo and b) the printed paper bills we have to pay. Or, in this case, the additional surcharge attached to being married to a certain misogynistic monarch. Anne Boleyn is shown paraded in front of the public for beheadification, her executioner behind her and a line of dashes - - - - - - - - - - - inked round her neck with the legend "coupez ici" underneath.
I liked the old-fashioned flourish on the 'z'. I also smiled at Charles Dickens being deemed "celebrated poverty ogler", which wasn't quite his humanist mission.
It works best the further back in time you go, perhaps because we've almost exhausted the satirical wet sponges that can be thrown at more recent regents and reprobates.
And while I remind you that I have explicitly alluded to some of the more ribald humour (so don't run cumming to me), I did chortle childishly at two mutual male admirers in a prison shower being told by the guard to "Get a cell!"" One has a male hen tattooed on his chest, the other twin 'R's on his buttocks. "I like your Rs", says one. The other says something else.