• RedHanded Scotland

The power of "a good old moan" to raise some much-needed giggles

The Becket List: An A-Z of First World Problems by Henry Becket, illustrated by Tony Husband, published by RedDoor Press

- A spot of light-hearted relief for challenging times

We're living through some tricky times, on that we all agree. Covid-19, lockdown, social distancing, quarantine: they are all words that have entered our everyday language, and daily experiences. Much to our frustration!

But just because life is intensely serious, surely that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a laugh/a good old rant at the television?

The Becket List: An A to Z of First World Problems is a not entirely serious compendium of the sort of stuff that drives us round the bend on a daily basis.

And, naturally, we're definitely allowed to have a grumble during a pandemic. Henry Becket has written a fresh list of first world problems in a pandemic, which didn't make it into the book (it was edited pre-Covid) that are all too relatable right here, right now:

  • Discovering what your other half does all day long

  • Discovering that your other half likes regular coffee breaks, loo breaks, TV breaks…

  • Surprisingly missing the many minor irritations that come with commuting

  • No longer having excuses to postpone tiresome bits of DIY

  • Not being able to complain about your journey to/from work

  • Wondering if ANYONE who ‘sadly dies' is anything but saintly (do sh1ts live forever?!)

  • Giving in and watching 3rd-rate TV programmes because you've watched all the 2nd rate ones

  • In a weird way, missing even the most profoundly tedious work colleagues

  • Re-taking up a hobby at which you were once good and discovering you're now utterly crap

  • Fiddling with old PowerPoint presentations on your laptop with a sense of nostalgia

  • Partaking in Zoom events at which somebody ALWAYS forgets to put on the sound, or the video, or both

  • Pointing at something in shot on your Zoom multi-screen before realising their multi-screen has different pictures in different places and that you're being a twat

  • Saying "You're on mute" at least five times a day

  • Not being able to open the loo door because of mountains of loo paper

  • Not being able to open a kitchen cupboard without dozens of cans of chopped tomatoes falling out

  • Listening to EVERYONE becoming an expert at ending lockdown…international death rate comparisons…the efficacy of facemasks…the R number….

  • Seeing some daytime television by mistake …and actually STAYING TO WATCH IT

  • Not being able to complain about the price of a packet of crisps in a pub

  • Missing complaining about your wobbly table in a restaurant (ah, those were the days!)

How many of these have been bugging you over the last few months? Why not play lockdown irritation bingo and tick them off?

And then when you're done, pick up a copy of this new book and chortle away to yourself, all the way from A to Z. They say a ‘problem shared is a problem halved,' but sometimes, just having a good old moan is the only way to get through the latest Government ‘guidance'.

In fact, Dr Tony Ortega, clinical psychologist and #AreYouHereYet author, says that "While moaning and grumbling about first world problems may come across as petty to some, it may have some inherent value to the extent that the mumbler/grumbler doesn't stay solely in that state of mind. We are living in quite an unprecedented era. We don't know day to day what may happen or what will need to change. First world problems offer a respite from all of that. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of a potential zombie apocalypse or tyrannical leaderships, we can sit and complain about the Zoom call or annoying ‘colleague' or face masks. These problems are much more manageable with potentially known strategies to navigate versus thoughts on the end of the world as we know it. It's a lighter emotion to manage and have more accessible solutions for the most part. So moan and grumble about the little annoying things if you want to. It's healthier than predicting and/or anticipating the end of the world."

About the book

What's on your Becket List? What really grates on you? What gets you ranting at the television? Henry Becket decided to compile a list of things that could be put right/restored/replaced to help rid the world of unrighteous anger. A list of things that make him (and he suspects many, many others) angry. Turns out there's so much to be angry about! This is a hilarious, witty guide that will find a good home in many a downstairs loo library. It's the ultimate gift for the grumpy git in your life. It's also a wonderful form of escapism from what might be perceived as the REAL issues of the day. After all, there's nothing like a pandemic to make you realise you miss not being able to complain about the price of a packet of crisps in a pub, or about the wobbly table leg in a restaurant… ah, those were the days!

An A to Z of First World Problems is… just that. The Becket List is a not entirely serious compendium of 'First World Problems' - the sort of stuff that drives us round the bend on a daily basis. How is it that atonal music, bus stations, cling-film and coat-hangers can b*gger us up so comprehensively? Or passport control people, Chuggers, email strings, fake candles, loud eating, predictive text, or just about anything you'll find in a typical hotel bedroom? Embracing both the inanimate - from allen keys to rawlplugs - and the animated (well, in some cases) - from your fellow-travellers to every third-rate waiter who ever walked the earth - this book is essential for your sanity. As such, this comprehensive A to Z provides a signal service to humanity.

A collection of entries about many of the things in life that, whilst essentially trivial, day after day contrive to p*ss you off. In the greater scheme of things they don't matter a damn, but in the context of advanced civilisation they take on a huge significance. The book is a both an important resource for future social historians and a call to action. It's also, mostly, really rather silly.

About the Author

Henry Becket was one of that curious breed, a Choral Exhibitioner at Cambridge, where he read... books. And magazines. He then spent decades nurturing what a head hunter once described as an iffy CV - as a Westminster speechwriter, lobbyist, wine merchant, copywriter, ad agency supremo (industry-speak for MD), and writer/director of innumerable eminently forgettable TV commercials in an awful lot of languages. He is lucky enough to have an impressively large family, and is also pretty obsessed with sailing, skiing, claret, churches and hillwalking, among other things. Oh, and the foibles of the world around him. Obvs.

Essential info

Title: The Becket List

Author: Henry Becket

Genre: Non-Fiction, Humour

Publisher: RedDoor Press

Publication date: Oct 1 2020

Availability: Hardback, eBook,

ISBN: HB 9781913062156

Number of pages: 256

Price: PB £9.99