Manny's Reviews > Bert Fegg's Nasty Book For Boys And Girls

Bert Fegg's Nasty Book For Boys And Girls by Terry Jones
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Oct 06, 09

bookshelves: well-i-think-its-funny, children
Read in November, 1975

I bought a copy of this marvelous book when I was a first-year undergraduate, and it became a favorite in my circle of friends. We would frequently quote from it. There is a decent article in Wikipedia. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Bert Fegg's Nasty Book For Boys And Girls is a humorous book first published by Methuen in 1974 which purports to have been written by a psychopathic character, Dr. Fegg. In fact, the book is the work of Terry Jones and Michael Palin, who adapted a range of material from scripts written for the television comedy series, Monty Python's Flying Circus. Some material was later used in Palin's 1977 TV series, Ripping Yarns. The first edition was sold bearing a sticker on the front cover which read "A Monty Python Educational Product".

The book may be seen as a satire of children's education literature; whether it is actually written for children or is intended as a parody aimed at adults is open to interpretation. It satirises elements of educational text books, as well as annuals, which were popular hardcover publications for children featuring short stories, comic strips, and games, often based upon television series and films of the day.
It had some rather fine bad poems, which I have been attempting to reconstruct. Here is what I can recall of Depravo the Rat, who, I now learn, is one of the two official mascots of Grizedale College, Lancaster. Clearly more famous than I'd thought, which makes it all the more mysterious that the poem is not in fact easy to locate:
... I like being very rude
Eating half-digested food
And seeing ladies in the nude.

Even nasty little frogs when little girls look in their minces
Tend to go all soppy and turn into handsome princes
But there's no chance of that with Depravo the Rat
I'm a loose-living, dirty little scab
So stay away do-gooders, don't do being nice to me
Or I'll make your life real hell
I'll slit your face I'll wet your bed I'll wrap your nostrils round your head
I'm Depravo, Depravo the Rat
The filthiest creature that could be!
Well, I'm glad to see that other students loved him too. And here's about half of A Garden is Rather Like a Poem, which I am also surprised not to find at once on Google:
(The first verse has explained that gardens and poems have a lot in common)

Instead of metre, there's something neater, i.e. rows of pretty things!
Instead of rhyme, there's parsley and thyme
And the sound of the lawn-edger sings

My garden has a compost-heap, and herbaceous borders as well
And where a poem has a thought
My garden has a smell
But how did it start and end? If someone can enlighten me, I'll be pathetically grateful.

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin Ward My garden is like a poem
Only full of flowers not words
Instead of rhyme, there's parsley and thyme
And instead of scansion there's birds.

Instead of meter, there's something neater
i.e. rows of pretty things.
instead of vowels there are spades and trowels
And the sound of the lawn edger sings.

My garden has a compost heap
and herbaceous borders as well.
And where a poem has a thought
My garden has a smell.

My poems are rather like a garden
Only minus the flowers and birds
And minus the trees and minus the bees
And instead of the plants - there's words.


Manny Thank you so much Robin!! A truly impressive example of the power of the Goodreads Hive Mind. And the poem is just as funny as I remembered.


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