Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"D'you know what? I've been paying National Insurance for decades and there are only three things wrong with me: my hair, my eyesight and my teeth, none of which is covered by the N.H.S!"
"Perhaps you would like to make an appointment to see our specialist to discuss the work?"
"Sigh. Why not? What harm can it do?"
"She has a space free on Monday at three-thirty if you're available."
"Yeah, I can make that."
"Please be aware that there is a charge of one hundred and thirty pounds..."
"WHAT?! A couple of years ago, I had doubleglazing put in! When I saw the man to discuss the possibility of me placing an order, it was free! This is because as an individual operating in a free market economy, he understood that if I placed an order, I would be spending a lot of money with him!"
"So, shall I book you in for Monday?"
"Go on, then."
Ha, the punchline to this particular instalment of Pope Francis' saga to find an NHS dentist with reasonable waiting times and affordable prices is that he has second thoughts overnight at the cost and thus decides to cancel his appointment and continue looking. It's almost like his never-ending, self-perpetuating quest is his personal penance for his sins. Though to him, I'm sure it seems more like purgatory!
Fresh from his brilliant recent time-travel epic THERE'S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT, Paul's rounded up this self-published collection of gag strip material featuring the likes of the dentally delicate Pope Francis, Monsieur Octopus the comics artist, Big Town News featuring a certain oafish mop-haired Mayor, the 14-year-old stand-up comedian, avid console gamers God + Son, plus Doctor Poo and his lovely companion Dara O'Briain in a particularly scatological strip!
The whole thing reads like some bizarre sketch show whipping from one ridiculous character another, keeping the laugh factor as high as the preposterousness of scenarios our characters find themselves in. This is the most consistently funny, and daft, selection of peculiarly British shorts I've read for a while. Though actually, many of these strips are rather slyly satirical, with some choice observations to make about our current socio-political malaise.
Paul even finds time to include a little autobiographical number "What Dave Gone Did" about his brief adventure to see Depeche Mode play, his favourite band of all time, in which amongst other things he pays homage to the fact that Dave Gahan didn't succumb to a drugs overdose on May 28th 1996.
Great fun and fantastic value at the cost of less than a tube of toothpaste. The parsimonious Pope Francis would be ecstatic!