Friday, October 19, 2007

The great Alan Coren

The sad news of the death of Alan Coren gives me an excuse to trot out the story behind his 1975 book "Golfing For Cats". This was so called because Coren was told by his publishers that only three kinds of books sold: those about golf, pets and Nazis.
Hence the cover.


  1. He's a great loss. The News Quiz won't be the same without him. Losing Linda Smith was bad enough but now this...

  2. It's very sad. I spent my teenage years reading books like Golfing For Cats, The Lady From Stalingrad Mansions and The Rhinestone As Big As The Ritz that collected his Punch articles, and I wanted to be him when I grew up, or at least write for Punch. (I got as far as a couple of subbing shifts before it sank beneath the waves.) He must have been one of the last of that very English tradition of 'humourists' who could write wittily about anything under the sun.

  3. This is very sad news. One of the wittiest men this country has produced.

  4. Alan Coren claimed he'd had letters of complaint from people at the lack of golfing (or cat) related topics in Golfing for Cats. To avoid such misunderstandings, he called a later book Tissues for Men on the grounds that the pages could be torn out and used for wiping purposes.

    His wit and humour will be sadly missed.

  5. Anonymous6:50 pm

    I've had the great pleasure of seeing Alan a couple of times at recordings of the News Quiz. As essentially a humourist, whose main outlet was print rather than stand up comedy, he always more than held his own against stand up comedians. There should be a staggering amount of tape of hilarious but unbroadcast material in BBC archives (unless they've scrubbed it) from the dozens of News Quiz appearances he made. I think we need an audio version of YouTube to allow Alan's hilarious rants ("Don't get me started on the Germans....") to be heard by a few more than the 200 or so who catch the News Quiz recordings.

  6. I remember being extremely bemused by Golfing For Cats as a child but also very drawn by the cover - the formula obviously worked! A very great and premature loss to the literary and broadcasting world.