March 28, 2010 10:03 PM   Subscribe

What would we find on the bookshelves of Chris Morris?

Metafilter is already familiar with the beautiful brain-wrongs of genius British satirist Christopher Morris, and as geniuses rarely evolve in isolation, I found myself wondering this weekend what sort of stuff Morris would have on his bookshelves?

More clearly: what works of literature, great or mean, could be said to have influenced Morris, either directly or indirectly, and what could be said to be influenced by him? I am looking for the written equivalent of Morris’ radio and television work. Pitch black, furious satire meets troubling, surreal absurdity. As something may be Python-esque, I seek that which is Morris-esque!
posted by turgid dahlia to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Both Nathan Barley and Blue Jam reference directly the finale of Roland Topor's The Tenant, which was also made into a terrific Roman Polanski film.

Will Self has also been directly referenced at least once in Blue Jam. He's an excellent author: Great Apes is one of my favorite books of all time.

Morris' wordplay is rather Joycean. Read James Joyce if you haven't already.

Franz Kafka.

Bruno Schulz.

Michael O'Donoghue.

The prose of Woody Allen.

Steve Aylett is a bit more manic than Morris, but I can trace a connection there.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:18 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and you simply must read The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien, if not also the works of Patrick McCabe, including but not limited to The Butcher Boy and Mondo Desperado.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:22 PM on March 28, 2010

Response by poster: Oh, and you simply must read The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien

Devoured everything by O'Brien and that is exactly the sort of stuff I am talking about. Unfamiliar with McCabe so I'll check him out, and thanks for the other tips!
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:27 PM on March 28, 2010

Les Chants de Maldoror is another book you should read. (Lykiard translation only.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:36 PM on March 28, 2010

posted by holgate at 10:45 PM on March 28, 2010

I would hope that Facts and Fancies by collaborator Armando Iannucci is there, it's one of the funniest and strangest books I've read
posted by quarsan at 10:50 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would imagine an equal mix of the absurd and the totalitarian

The White Boy Shuffle: A Novel Beatty, Paul
A Confederacy of Dunces Toole, John Kennedy
Will Self of course

Mix this with a lot of Orwell and Soljenitzyn (sp) ...
posted by hotdogcop at 3:10 AM on March 29, 2010

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (It's not an obvious satire but it is)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:56 AM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: Something angry. Like The Catcher in the Rye.

Something sociological - Morris correctly forecast the future of broadcast news 15 years ago. The Sociology of News.

Something technical - Morris achieves his effect by mirroring the same production values and techniques as broadcast news producers. He might lurk here.

Something about trends in news reporting: Flat Earth News.

Something absurd - Catch 22, The Idiot.

Something timeless, simple and memorable: Aesop's Fables.

Something about reality and forgery- Gide's Les Faux Monnayeurs.

Something on the psychology of magic and effect: Psychological Subtleties.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:40 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Christie Malry's Own Double Entry by BS Johnson struck me as being rather Morris-ian.
posted by curiousorange at 5:03 AM on March 29, 2010

Tragically, I Was an Only Twin by Peter Cook

The Firesign Theatre released albums, not books, but they deal in a similar strain of hyper-intelligent, surreal verbal satire. Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers

But especially:
The Tetherballs of Bougainville by Mark Leyner. One of the strangest, funniest, darkest works of contemporary fiction I've come across.
posted by scarylarry at 11:37 AM on March 29, 2010

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