Here’s a fun little book we suddenly remembered during the week. From the mind of Simon Brett, it launched in 1991 and led to a TV adaptation with Rik Mayall providing his vocal talents.
It’s about a wee baby who’s a bit of a Machiavellian git. So, sounds like good fun, eh?
How to be a Little Sod
The comedy book presents itself as a type of diary. The baby, which is a kind of Stewie from Family Guy type thing, documents its daily life.
This is from within the womb and then outside of it.
There’s no indication what the sex of the baby is, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s a dame or a geezer (although the TV show later decided it was a bloke).
What remains throughout the work is the baby is a bit of a sod. It cries a lot, causes havoc, and generally makes the mother’s life a misery.
The baby appears to revel in this behaviour. Particularly with freaking the mother out. Such as during a medical examine, where the baby pretends to keel over with illness.
Reminds us of our mate from primary school. He’d pretend to lie in a heap at the bottom of the stairs to freak his poor mother out. A good kid, he was.
Anyway, the book is pretty short and sweet. Brett turned it into a trilogy, with the second work being Little Sod’s Next Step. It was followed by Not Another Little Sod.
Basically, it takes the idea of making the baby a psychotic little bastard with a high intellect. But with all the trappings of youthful naivety.
It’s lightheated, in a sort of dark way. And we like the thing. Clearly, as for some reason it popped up in our memory again.
These days, Brett is still writing. But largely as an author of mystery novels. On his website he says:
"I am, incidentally, not to be confused with Simon Brett, the wood engraver. I occasionally meet people who say how fortunate I am to be able not only to write but also to create such skillful and beautiful wood engravings. Sadly, I have no aptitude at all for the visual arts."
And he kindly links to the other Simon Brett’s website! Very nice of him. Gentleman!
How to be a Little Sod—The TV Series
The BBC handled the TV adaptation and the 10 episode series ran in 1991.
Rik Mayall was perfectly cast as the voice of the baby. He was fresh from his hit run in The New Statesman (a sitcom taking the piss out of the Thatcher government and vile Tories).
Later in 1991, along with with comedy partner Ade Edmondson, he also launched Bottom on the BBC.
The books were also made into a series of audio books, which we’re not sure if we bought. But we did watch the TV show and enjoyed that a great deal. As you can see, many episodes are on YouTube.
Good fun, if you’ve got a bit of spare time to enjoy Mayall’s vocal talents at their peak.