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Matthew Parris was born in Africa and grew up in Cyprus, Rhodesia, Jamaica and Britain. He worked for the Foreign Office and Margaret Thatcher before becoming an MP in 1979. After serving in parliament for seven years (he claims as his only success the abolition of imprisonment for prostitutes) he quit to present LWT’s ‘Weekend World’.
For thirteen years The Times’s parliamentary sketchwriter and a regular travel writer, reviewer, broadcaster and Spectator columnist, and has won Best Political Journalist at the British Press Awards 2015. He is the author of several books, including the longstanding travel-book success, Inca Kola, his autobiography Chance Witness and the bestselling The Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase. He lives in London and Derbyshire.
Author photo © Jack Hill
A completely updated trawl through tongue scorching invective from the ancient world to yesterday (almost). As well as being breathtakingly rude so many of the comments are outrageously funny although anyone on the receiving end of such rudeness can only comfort themselves at some of the spectacular errors of judgement in history. How about this journalist’s comment “…a slang-whanging stump-speaker of which all parties are ashamed….” This was about Abraham Lincoln one of an endless parade of public figures to be misjudged. Mathew Parris has done a fine job in rounding up this parade of invective choosing the best of the skewering and the blackest of barbs. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Biteback Dictionary of Humorous Political Quotations, Fred Metcalf (Editor) Shakespeare’s Insults Desk Diary 2017 Hardback 96 pages Flame Tree Publishing 23rd August 2016 9781783618767
Sadly, the tradition of Ambassadors firing off one last missive as they leave their posts is now finished – and reading some of the letters published here, you can see why. Putting the Freedom of Information act to full use, there has been some very productive digging in the archives, the authors coming up with an impressive collection of unguarded, often unwise and often humorous comments from departing Ambassadors. Like for Like ReadingDiplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, Brigid KeenanDaughters of Britannia: The Lives of Diplomatic Wives, Katie Hickman
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 3 February 2011. Sadly, the tradition of Ambassadors firing off one last missive as they leave their posts is now finished – and reading some of the letters published here, you can see why. Putting the Freedom of Information act to full use, there has been some very productive digging in the archives, the authors coming up with an impressive collection of unguarded, often unwise and often humorous comments from departing Ambassadors. Like for Like ReadingDiplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, Brigid KeenanDaughters of Britannia: The Lives of Diplomatic Wives, Katie Hickman
'He's 100% political herpes. Back in six months whatever you do. Or three days, like last time.' Camilla Long on Nigel Farage 'You're as ugly as a salad.' Bulgarian insult 'I'm going to beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.' Muhammed Ali There's no pleasure like a perfectly turned put-down (when it's directed at somebody else, of course) but Matthew Parris's Scorn is sharply different from the standard collections. Here are the funniest, sharpest, rudest and most devastating insults in history, from ancient Roman graffiti to the battlefields of Twitter. Drawing on bile from such masters as Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth I, Donald Trump, Groucho Marx, Princess Anne, Winston Churchill, Nigel Farage, Mae West and Alastair Campbell - which form an exchange between voices down the ages - Scorn shows that abuse can be an art form. This collection includes extended literary invective as well as short verbal shin-kicks. Encompassing literature, art, politics, showbiz, marriage, gender, nationality and religion, Matthew Parris's sublime collection is the perfect companion for the festive season, whether you're searching for the perfect elegant riposte, the rudest polite letter ever written, or a brutal verbal sledgehammer.
Chance Witness by Matthew Parris - a hilarious and fascinating portrait of life in politics, from Thatcher to Blair Winner of the Channel 4 / Politico's Political Book of the Year Award 'Made me laugh out loud. A book full of wisdom' Simon Hoggart, Guardian In this surprising and eccentric autobiography from a former Conservative MP, Matthew Parris writes of his personal and political life with equal candour. With a First from Cambridge and the possibility of working for the Foreign Office, he decided instead to apply to be an apprentice diesel-fitter with London Transport. He was rejected and so turned to a life in politics. He has worked with Margaret Thatcher, Chris Patten, Tony Blair and Michael Portillo, and his observations of political lifeand those who move within it are truly fascinating. This colourful memoir is an account of a young life already well lived. For readers of Margaret Thatcher by Charles Moore, and fans of The End of the Party by Andrew Rawnsley, this is a fascinating glimpse into modern British politics. 'A five-star autobiography. Dazzling, hilarious and wonderful' Sunday Times Matthew Parris was born in Johannesburg in 1949. He was a Conservative MP from 1979 to 1986, since when he has worked as a journalist. He is the author of A Castle in Spain, the acclaimed story of his medieval home in L'Avenc, as well as the bestselling books Parting Shots and A Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase, both based on the BBC Radio 4 series. He divides his time between Derbyshire (where his old constituency was situated) and east London.
Matthew Parris's A Castle in Spain is one man's attempt to transform a magnificent forgotten ruin into his own castle. Walking in the Pyrenees one spring morning Matthew Parris stumbled upon a magnificent ruined mansion standing on the edge of a line of huge cliffs. Later he was to discover that parts of the house dated back to the 14th century though it had not been completed until 1559; and that it had survived two massive earthquakes before falling into disrepair in the early 1960s. A few years later, seduced by 'one of those foolish challenges that grip us in middle life', Parris bought the house, L'Avenc, and set about restoring it to its full glory. This delightful book chronicles it all: the original discovery, the attempts to discover its history, and then the long effortful years trying to bring it back to life in the face of scepticism from family, friends and Spanish neighbours. The original edition of A Castle in Spain was published in 2005 when the renovations were a work in progress; this new edition triumphantly records all that has happened since. 'Stands apart... This Englishman's castle might have started as a dream, but it has ended up being an extraordinary reality' Sunday Times 'So infectious is his enthusiasm for L'Avenc and the dramatic, unvisited landscape of Collsacabra, that I wanted to leave at once to explore it ... And it's all just a few miles away from the Costa Brava!' Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail Matthew Parris had a short career in the Foreign Office where one of his tasks was to distribute incoming valedictory despatches. He was a Conservative MP from 1979 to 1986, since when he has worked as a journalist. He is the author of A Castle in Spain, Parting Shots, and A Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase. He divides his time between Derbyshire (where his old constituency was situated) and east London.
A modern classic of travel and adventure. INCA KOLA is the funny, absorbing account of Matthew Parris's fourth trip to Peru, on a bizarre holiday which takes him among bandits, prostitutes, peasants and riots. He and his three companions seem to head into trouble, not away from it, and he describes the troubles, curiosities and wonders they meet with the spell-binding fascination of a traveller relating adventures over the campfire. 'A backpacker's classic: atmospheric, touching, instructive and compulsively readable' THE TIMES
The Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase is a hilarious new collection of diplomatic tales by Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson Heard the one about the Spanish Ambassador who arrived in the scorching Saharan desert fully suited and with a mysteriously enormous suitcase? Or the horse they gave Prime Minister John Major in Turkmenistan - which hapless embassy officials had to rescue from the clutches of the Moscow railway? These and other 'funnies', as they are known in Whitehall, are included in Matthew Parris and and Andrew Bryson's glorious new volume of not so diplomatic writing, which accompanies a new BBC Radio 4 series is a follow up to their acclaimed collection of ambassadors' final despatches, Parting Shots. Drawn from Freedom of Information requests and previously overlooked Valedictories these startling despatches throw a revealing light on how the British have viewed the world - and, unwittingly perhaps, on how the world has viewed the British. Praise for Parting Shots: 'Parting Shots is unbuttoned, indiscreet and very funny' Yorkshire Post 'Fascinating, if sometimes uncomfortable, reading' Financial Times 'Very funny' Guardian After working in the Foreign Office then serving as a Conservative MP, Matthew Parris joined The Times in 1988. He writes two weekly columns for The Times and one for the Spectator, and in 2011 won the Best Columnist Award at the British Press awards. His acclaimed autobiography Chance Witness was published by Penguin in 2003. He is a frequent broadcaster. Andrew Bryson is a radio journalist working in the BBC's Business and Economic Unit. He frequently works as a producer on Radio 4's Today programme and on Radio 5 Live.