There are times when you stumble upon an old, mostly unknown book and it changes your life. The prose is thought-provoking, poetic and profound, the characters are rich and so well crafted it feels like you’ve known them for years and the story (or stories) so engaging you just can’t put it down. Then there are the times where you come across a largely unknown piece of writing and you wonder why it isn’t more known, primarily because it should be held up as the worst thing ever committed to paper.
I recently discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories by one Hubert J Watergipridget. Some brief research tells me that he was active during the 30s-50s but was well known in literary circles long before and after. It is suggested that it was he who inspired Tolkien to write The Hobbit. I can only assume that this is the case because Tolkien read Watergipridget’s work and was inspired to write something good.
The collection I found is entitled The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness and was completely free to download, and yet, I feel ripped off. The only good thing I can say about it is short, but it won’t feel like it when you’re wading through what feels like an endless river of shit.
Each short story is needlessly introduced and analysed by a professor of English Literature because you can’t be trusted to form your own opinions. Yet, despite this, it’s impossible to make any sense out of the gibbering and morose texts.
The first short story, The Girl Who Would be a Caterpillar attempts to be a critique of the education system and the societal pressures put upon the young but has all the subtlety of a pig dressed as a nun vomiting on a pile of textbooks.
The second, Alec and the Magical Housetree reads like an Enid Blyton book, if Enid Blyton was a dribbling moron who could barely string a sentence together and her editor was a crack addict. Still, in Watergipridget’s defence, he’s considerably less racist.
The less said about the third together. The fourth, however, is where I really start to get mad. The Elephant Who Often Forgets and the Giraffe Who is Always Late for Things, is without a doubt the most egregious thing I’ve ever read and I’m not just saying that to use the word egregious for the first time in my life. Framed as an environmental novel, this patronising tripe exploits offensive stereotypes about elephants and giraffes and, once again, bangs on about how we need to protect the environment. I for one am getting sick of this view. We don’t need trees, they’re fucking cunts.
The book then delves into some awfully laboured poetry before finishing with a final short story The Man who has Baguettes for Dinner. I can’t help but feel this is where Watergipridget revealed himself for the weird and twisted pervert that he was. Admittedly, everyone in the arts back then was a pervert to some degree, much like they are now because some things never change. Anyway, it involves an unhealthy obsession with jam.
In short. This was one of the few literary ventures that I actually felt myself getting stupider the more I read of it. My brain cells preferred to commit suicide rather than work to process the information they were receiving. The only people that would like this book are those who have been lobotomised or have no appreciation for the written word. Alas, in the age of piss poor journalism, third-rate fantasy novels and poorly conceived (and ultimately tame) erotica, this could be a mainstream audience.
I beseech you all to download this text now so you too can see just how diarrhoea inducingly terrible it truly is.