Book of da Week: The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper

The Timewaster Letters
Time wasting.

It’s Christmas so, you know, we’re going to be upbeat and all that, so let’s have a look at a funny book from 2004 from the fictional character Robin Cooper (Robert Popper is the man behind all of this, in the same way our esteemed editor Mr. Wapojif is really called Arnold Schwarzenegger). The Timewaster Letters was a big hit and received endorsements from many celebrities. The reason? It’s bloody funny and ridiculous.

The Timewaster Letters is about busybody Robin Cooper, who keeps himself occupied by sending a relentless series of twee, but thoroughly idiotic and regularly inexplicable, letters to businesses, organisations, and whoever else he decides to in his spare time. Popper seemed to do this for a laugh in the late ’90s, with the results proving funny enough to add together into this excellent collection of fun. Hurray!

The Timewaster Letters

Popper is one of the unsung heroes of modern British comedy – you’ll probably have no idea who he is, but he’s been instrumental across a wide variety of cult TV shows such as Look Around You. More recently he’s written the pretty decent sitcom Friday Night Dinner, but he’s also worked for the often excellent Peep Show.

This book, then, is a compendium of pointlessness and absurdity – Popper’s alter-ego, Robin Cooper, is a meandering, well-meaning, but daft individual who wastes everyone’s time with a relentless series of utterly irrelevant, often  bizarre or inappropriate, letters to all manner of industries and organisations across the UK. Here’s an example:

The Timewaster Letters Example

The book is littered with ridiculous letter such as this, with the many polite responses (and it’s a sign of how sickeningly polite us Brits are that so many busy people would put the effort in to respond) often trying to accommodate Cooper’s weird requests. The one time he does get a telling off is when he suggests he paint a new colour he has discovered on a nearby bridge, which receives an angry response about vandalism.

Kind of like Professional Moron, it’s all idiotic and doesn’t serve any purpose other than to be as amusing as possible. If you want something silly and fun to read this New Year, then we can recommend the Timewaster Letters heartily! Plus our website, of course. Keep visiting us, please. Oh, and give us your cash!

Peep Show

On a final note, if you’ve not come across the Peep Show before then it’s one of the best sitcoms from British shores for some time. It ran from 2003 to 2015 and turned its cast, particularly David Mitchell and Robert Webb, into stars. It’s also inventive TV, regularly viewed from the perspective of characters – you get to hear their inner thoughts and everything. Lovely. It dipped off a bit after season 5, but if you’re looking for something quirky and quintessentially British then this is the show for you!

5 comments

  1. I used to watch BBC all the time. But now we get BBCA but I found recently that the same shows are there. My Brit friends don’t believe I just discovered Dr Who. We go more for violence here. I did take an online course through BBC . Classic Theatre , I , Claudius it was. I will be on the look out for Peep Show. Is there any violence at all?

    Liked by 1 person

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