Kar-lol-ogy

514TcTPSlBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“It’s not Karr…it’s Karl…”

In winter 2014, I read the Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington, which I think is light-hearted and warm as if I am listening to a grumpy but friendly man moaning about life and journey at the pub. I thought he was just a man full of tales about acts of eccentric people and the reflections of their hectic lives resulted from the process of urbanisation. He was a man full of observations that city people often overlook.

Two years passed and I have known so much about Mr. K. Dilkington after listening to the Podcast with features like “Monkey News”, “Karl’s Diary”, “Educating Ricky”, “Rockbusters” etc.. His thoughts, which I find, like a matter of contagion from Ricky Gervais’s hysteric laugh, so ridiculous, so ludicrous, so far-fetched, but imaginative, I’ve never thought of a pointless talking from a human who is considered ignorant could sound so funny and interesting in this way. In the podcast, I especially find it hilarious in Ricky’s response on Karl’s findings like “you’re talking shite again” or “it’s simply ramblings of a madman”. Of course, who would have thought like him that the protagonist of Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton is a man in a wheelchair? And what’s more idiotic than “Alien gives man a beard”? Sometimes his points are interesting and philosophical, which trigger good conversations with Ricky and Steve; for example, in the parody of BBC’s Desert Island Discs, he decides to bring nothing but a dictionary with him so he keeps his brain active, makes his imaginations and thoughts run wild as to have a talk while not being annoyed with himself if gaining better vocabs and language capabilities. In this case, the aspects of thoughts and conceptualisation in the brain turn back to the debate about the unity between mind, body and brain. It is this contrast between a round-headed buffoon with IQ of 85, who only had GCSE history of E grade with two “quick-witted” men who studied literature and political science that make this show interesting.

Karlology is the second book I read by this Manc maniac. I thought he would talk more about his education and childhood. Instead, this is a book which is about him embarking on different trips and sightseeing in London as if based on various subjects in school in order to know better at his age – V&A Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, the Tower of London, the London Aquarium, and so forth – to fill the 200 odd pages. Again, what I find most amusing are his observations of the English eccentricities, his anecdotes about his neighbours and some wild thoughts on evolution of nature.

“The universe is 93 billion light years across”, was the opening line of the Atlas of the Universe…I must have been standing looking at the pictures for a while, and I got so into it that I didn’t hear the old fella who I’d seen earlier come shuffling behind me…I started to look at the other books on the shelf while still holding the universe book in my other hand for him to carry on reading. He didn’t stop mumbling…, passed the universe book to him, and then moved to another aisle. Whenever I heard his breathing close by, I moved on. It was like playing a real-life game of Pac-Man, moving up and down the aisles to get away. It’s amazing that the universe is so, so big and yet I couldn’t get away from the heavy-breathing man.” – (The Day at the Library, Karlology)

This book is funny, but not that amusing compared with him mumbling in his montone voice and dry expressions. However, I would take a break from Karl Pilkington and turn to big chunk of literary reading.

Today’s Quote

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Look at Grumpy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He’s got a reputation for being moody, but of course he’s grumpy, half his colleagues are bleeding useless. If I had to work with Dopey, Sleepy and Sneezy I’d be well pissed off too, especially with Happy standing there acting like everything is fine.

(The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington)

The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington

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forget the brainy quotes, embrace the Pilking quotes!

I have finished it on Wednesday, but I already got a little rusty talking about this book! Karl Pilkington gave me an impression of a presenter who got unlucky all the time, and that he ranted and ranted all along concerning his unfortunate series of events, and that I had that human nature of schadenfreude laughing at him. That’s what I thought when I listened to a podcast of Greg James’s show on BBC Radio 1 in which he had an 40-minute interview about his life. However the impression was swept away when I had engaged with this book with my train of thoughts. Actually he is just a harmless moaning person, thinking that this world and its people gradually and increasingly bear watching; he is just normal as you and me about things going on here in this planet.

Anyway, he travels around different countries and sees how peoples settle with topics regarding marriage, kids, vocation and money, happiness, and death, thereby knowing whether those experience would change his frame of mind (he has a long-term girlfriend and have been together for 20 years, never wants to get married or has kids). After seeing and getting deep about their cultures and the topics; observing at close quarters he comes up with and adopts what he thinks the best interpretations reflecting overall viewpoints and conclusion on the topics. For example, on “marriage” chapter, he has an insight to combine drive-thru marriage in Las Vegas – considered to be the most convenient yet fragile marriage procedure – with smell (the best and effective method in finding a lifelong partner) , and ditching the long hours Indian bulky marriage ceremony in holding a new way of nuptial do for a couple from the US. Clever idea.

The best stuff to make the travelling thing much more interesting is that he recounts his childhood experience and weird events along the book, which adds a strong humourous revival into the journal. There are some bits that make me LMAO; for instance, on “kids” chapter, he goes to a big fertility festival in Japan where couples get together and seek blessing for new babies. One guy is wearing a pink plastic penis on his head and gets surrounded by huge populace. Karl then recalls:

“I was sure if he was some kind of official at the festival or just a local nutter. There used to be a man on our estate called Mad John who did this sort of thing on the back of the 261 bus into Manchester, and he got put away for it.”

and after that, he attends a party held by a group of middle-aged women, and they all have talking dolls with them representing their phantom kids. He says:

“They’re odd-looking things, sort of like furry Teletubbies with a hint of Wayne Rooney about them.” 

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LOL. I think he hits on the right note!

On serious matters, he ponders some argumentative mindsets. He questions that who would be more tolerable, a grumpy considerate person or a happy selfish person? There is no way you can make all people happy at all times, but you cannot make someone mad just seeing your happy face dishing out selfish acts.

This gets me thinking that people always judge things by their clever misconceptions and experience. For example, I have a sort of mopey look. When I am not smiling, my lips curls upwards and I frown naturally that make me look like a miserable person not contented with this world, which is not advantageous for a woman, and people asks why what is wrong with you? Cheer up! Then they chat to people with happy looks. That’s annoying and as a vicious cycle this makes me an unsociable person and they think I am not sociable and some stay away from me. In this case my personality is naturally molded by them. BUT I am just a peaceful person! And you know the persons who look happy probably think of plotting against you!

At the end of the day, I think he is just a practical and down-to-earth bloke trying to live in a world which he wants to be more moralised, so there is a probability that you will get bored at the end of this journal like eating roughage at lunch time, but it will cheer you up at midnight after all the backlog of daily work, and when you read that in bed, it’s like listening to a pleasant old chap in the pub ranting about this miserable world, whether he is thinking your thing or change your old ways of thinking.