Jobsworth by Malcolm Phillips

JobsworthI can’t believe I fell for it again. Looking for a light read after a series of heavy tomes I came across Jobsworth (confessions of the man from the council).

The prologue read: After a delightful dinner where one too many bottles of wine were consumed, I was reminiscing with one of my old friends about the hilarious times I had enjoyed when working as a civil servant for the County Council. My friend said “You should write a book Malcolm”. Whoever that friend was, he should be taken out and shot. It’s one thing try to shut up a crushing bore but never, ever do so by suggesting that his stories are funny or that he should write a book, because he might just do it.
You may wonder why I read this tedious drivel right through to the end, there were three reasons for this.
First: For two weeks my phone line was out of action, I had no internet connection, no phone calls, no emails, no facebook. Nothing else to do but catch up with my reading.

Second: I assumed from the prologue that it was going to be similar to the plot lines of “Yes Minister”, which would be a rich vein to mine and could indeed have produced hilarious stories. Unfortunately in Malcolm Phillips’s case one or two of his stories were mildly amusing, the rest without exception were an infantile ode to tedium. To make matters worse the author has no writing talent whatsoever. I assume that comes from thirty years of writing inter departmental memos.

Third: I’m an optimist, I was convinced that there must be something funny somewhere in this dire piece of drivel, so I stuck it out to the bitter end, and no, not once did I laugh.

The reason I said “I can’t believe I fell for it again” is that over the last few years I’ve twice read similar prologues that ended with the words “Your stories are so funny you should write a book” in both cases they were dreadful dross.

Bookeaters beware, when you read a prologue such as this it is a warning that the writer is a humourless bore, with an inflated ego intent upon inflicting his pathetic aspirations upon the long suffering reader.

No bites from me.

Jeff Short
I was born into a Forces family so naturally enjoyed Biggles as a child alongside Enid Blyton. I fell in love with the Librarian at RAF Akrotiri and read and read so that i could see her every day. The book that I read there that had the greatest impact on me was Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 - set on an American airbase on a small island in the Mediterranean, and filled with military incompetence with black humour. I could never take service life seriously again. I usually has three books on the go at any one time. Kindle, Audio and a proper book. My favourite genres are military memoirs and thrillers but being compulsive I'll read anything.