364 Days of Tedium: Or What Santa Gets Up To On His Days Off

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364 Days of Tedium: or What Santa Gets Up to on His Days Off By Dave Cornmell, book review364 Days of Tedium: Or What Santa Gets Up To On His Days Off by Dave Cornmell is a cartoon book covering what it says in the title – what does Santa do for those 364 days when he’s not busy delivering presents to good girls and boys around the world?

I wasn’t exactly expecting a cutesy book, I expected it would be an adult cartoon book, but having not really paid attention to the fact that the cover picture was of Santa passed out and covered in vomit with an empty bottle beside him, I was slightly taken aback by the first few pages of cartoons. Cornmell’s Santa is a fat, drunk, lazy arsehole. Really, he’s not a pleasant or jolly chap. He seems to vomit an awful lot – but then he does drink a lot.

The cartoon style itself is fairly simplistic, with a lot of bright block colours, no subtlety to the colour palette or use. For the portrayal of this Santa though, it works well. The style is somewhat childish, and despite his drinking and possible antics with reindeer, Santa is not a grown up person, so it suits the character.

There is a cartoon strip for each day, starting on Christmas day after Santa’s work is done. He has a lot of plans and resolutions, but none of them quite come to fruition. He is plagued by polar bears, taking out the bins, worries over what happened with Vixen, and other concerns that you would expect Santa to have.

“It would make a good present for those who like slightly rude and silly humour”

I really didn’t like the character of Santa in Cornmell’s cartoons, but after a while I really got into the book and found myself laughing out loud at him. Most of my laughs however were directed at the cartoons which featured other characters – the elves, the reindeer and Santa’s bath toys, Ducky and Mr Whale. I loved the reindeer – especially Terry the three-legged reindeer who has one of those lampshade plastic collars that cats and dogs get to stop them scratching. He just wanted to be accepted by the other reindeer, but he wasn’t. By sheer luck he is accepted onto the sleigh team (luck being all the other contenders die) to replace the missing Vixen.

The humour in the book is not high brow or clever. Santa falls over, throws up, gets peed on by polar bears…it’s fairly base humour. That’s not a bad thing though, I enjoy a bit of low-brow humour, but it’s perhaps not to everyone’s taste.

There are several little stories which run through the book. Some cartoons are standalone, but most have a connection to a story of some kind. Some of the stories pop up several times throughout the course of the book, while some run continuously over several days. One of my favourites was when a pair of scientists visited the pole, and Santa and friends painted themselves white so they wouldn’t be seen. We can see them, they are just black outlines, but the scientists can’t. The scientists are baffled as to why they fall over nothing, and why their dog pees in the middle of the expanse of snow, not up against something as usual (poor Santa…).

364 Days of Tedium is a funny book. I wouldn’t rank it as one of my favourite cartoon books, but it’s certainly funny and silly, and I enjoyed it. I’ve just read it in October, and I’m one of these people who doesn’t get Christmassy until December – so it’s not a book just for Christmas, although I’m sure it will do best in the Christmas novelty present market. It would make a good present for those who like slightly rude and silly humour – or for that secret Santa gift you’re stuck on…

364 Days of Tedium: Or What Santa Gets Up To On His Days Off by Dave Cornmell
Published by The Friday Project, October 2010

Thanks to The Friday Project for a free review copy of the book.

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364 Days of Tedium: Or What Santa Gets Up To On His Days Off
by Dave Cornmell

2 Comments on "364 Days of Tedium: Or What Santa Gets Up To On His Days Off"

  1. Lorna
    26/10/2010 at 10:52 Permalink

    I’ve bought a copy – mainly as I’ve been *following* Mr Claus on twitter for a bit, and some of the general ‘my life is crap’ strips struck a chord with me! It reminds me, albeit not in quite the same way, of the Dilbert ‘thought for the day’ things – I personally wasn’t expecting Mrs Fry’s Diary so am not disappointed; I’m sorry you’re not set on fire by it – ooh, perhaps something he can do next year (*joke*)!

    Happy Christmas xx

  2. eilidhcatriona
    eilidhcatriona
    26/10/2010 at 11:08 Permalink

    Hi Lorna, thanks for your comment – don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book, but I prefer things like Garfield and Simon’s Cat (there’s a bit of a theme there…). Glad to hear you liked it – I would wish you happy Christmas in return, but it’s only October so it’s FAR too early!

    Eilidh.

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Written by eilidhcatriona
eilidhcatriona

A Scottish lass in her late twenties living in London. A prolific reader always interested in something new.

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