Review: James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes

James Acaster is funny. Hilarious actually. And reading his book James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes got me into a scrape of my own.

It was all Dara O’Briain’s fault.

See, every time I have a baby (which is twice now… welcome little butterfly), I have to sit at home on the sofa doing nothing while the exit wounds heal enough to keep my organs inside me again. The first time, it was a C section so that meant I had zero stomach muscles.

Unfortunately, when left to my own devices on a sofa in front of a TV, I will always put on comedy. If there’s a choice between a new comedy show and a large amount of money, I’d probably take the new comedy show. Because it would be funnier. In fact, I once turned down a career-making book writing opportunity in favour of the chance to write a book that sounded like it had the scope to be much funnier and a bit weird. I only regret that on my monthly Amazon pay day.

So it was 2019. Netflix had Mock the Week on, and I binged it because I find Dara O’Briain hilarious. James Acaster was on Mock the Week. And I had these stitches across my abdomen. I’d been in China for the 2 years prior so I didn’t really know who was who in comedy anymore. James had a Netflix Special on at the time so when Mock the Week ran out, I put on Repertoire.

So I spent the next four hours holding a pillow against my stomach trying to laugh without using my belly, unable to stop the video. It was like comedic Piri Piri sauce; I was hurting myself but I needed more.

I was breastfeeding and one of the foods that increases your milk supply is the humble apricot.

I spent the next 6 months telling my husband that I was ready to eat apricots every time I opened the fridge. If you don’t get it, you need to watch James Acaster’s Netflix special “Repertoire”. Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t like apricots. In which case there’s no helping you. But consider this: There have been a lot of comedians making jokes about plums, but only one has dared take on the mighty apricot.

Anyway fast forward two years, three months and nineteen days to November 2022. Baby number two came out. A new tiny god to appease. I preordered so I got a good seat this time. Same sofa. Same TV. Different country. And now we also had a car-obsessed toddler who didn’t let me watch TV unless it was a fire truck (and TVs aren’t known for morphing into fire trucks). So I bought a book for post-birth.

I’ll be honest, I wanted Michael McIntyre’s book but it was too expensive. So I bought James Acaster’s. Why wasn’t it my first choice? Because I’ve had more than my fair share of scrapes and I didn’t see how anyone else’s could be more ridiculous than mine. I once got lost in the alps while failing to navigate the Zurich metro.

So anyway I bought it with low expectations.

Cracked it open between breastfeeds.

And suddenly my stitches were in danger all over again. If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of different birthing methods, consider how much you laugh. If you’re not the sort of person with a sense of humour, recovery from a C-section is probably fine. But if you’re a laugher, like me, then a VBAC with episiotomy is much better. Laughing is only hard for the first week whereas you’re looking at two or three for a C-section.

Anyway I finished the book. Now it wasn’t just apricots at the supermarket. There were cabbages. And Capri Sun. Aldi is basically one giant in-joke. I walk around trying to stay focused then I get to the Aisle of Crap, see some clever German coathangers, and I’m smirking all the way to the checkout. At which point I remember I don’t put my coats in a wardrobe, I stuff them over that knobbly bit of the bannister at the bottom of the stairs until they start falling off then I use the hooks by the door. Which begs the question, what is the point of coathangers? Music. Obviously.

It’s mostly taken verbatim from Josh Widdecombe’s radio show, on which James was a regular. I subsequently found this on Youtube. So when the book ran out and my new baby wouldn’t settle, I put Youtube on my phone. Six. More. Hours. Of. Scrapes.

What followed was a minor James Acaster obsession. Until I ran out of Would I Lie To You clips, burned through Sweet Home Lahnsteineringa and Sweet Home Ketteringa and bought Tim Allen’s new book.

Haha just kidding, it was TOM Allen. Whose tale was delightful and inspirational. After which I came crawling back like a crack addict and bought Perfect Sound Whatever, which I shall review presently.

You can buy James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes on Amazon and watch Repertoire on Netflix. And I am starting a new series on this blog: My very own misadventures. What day is it today? Saturday. Great. Every Saturday, then, a new misadventure will be written up and recounted for your amusement.

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