This is the second edition of Michael McGan's Fleeting Thoughts. Never having seen the first edition,
it's impossible to say what additions or revisions this one contains. The author himself describes it as "a collection of
humor pieces in the form of essays, stories, and satirical bits on things such as time-travel, soap operas, and telephone
psychics". This is about as rum as they come, so it's no surprise when the first story turns out to be called Pour the
Rum Slowly. It is Mr McGan's account of his holiday in Jamaica. In terms of humour, it ranks somewhere between the kind
of story you laugh politely at when told by a mate in the pub and a 'seventies ITV sitcom. In other words, it's not my cup
of tea, but some people will probably enjoy it.
Considering that this is an e-book - not to mention a second edition - there is no excuse for the quantity
of errors. Maybe I'm a bit of a nit-picker, but I do think that anyone who wants to use Jean-Claude Van Damme's reputation
to reinforce a joke should at least take the trouble to spell his name correctly.
It's not apparent whether some of these "essays" and other short articles have been previously published
in some other form, perhaps in a local newspaper or radio broadcast. Michael McGan strikes me as the kind of bloke who has
lively opinions on everything, ranging from the dentist to science fiction. Despite the diversity of the collection, recurring
themes soon appear.
After revealing further titbits from past family holidays, the author branches out into less familiar territory.
Much funnier than the earlier stuff is his parody of the soap "updates" that appear in TV papers. US soap operas may be battier
than British ones, but only marginally. I particularly liked, "Franky proposes to Sarah at a wrestling event, only to be killed
when an enormous man is hurled out of the ring, crushing him." Can't you just imagine something like that happening to Curly
Watts? The imaginary psychic pay-line conversations are of similar quality. Mr McGan's musings on the activities of his small
daughters also raise a few smiles - it's amusing to note how different the random observations of a father are from
those of a mother.
The sensible strategy would have been to put some of these more entertaining items right at the front of
the book, before all the nonsense about "what I did on my holidays" - then there would be more likelihood of readers persevering
with the whole book. But I imagine this miscellany is intended as something a reader can dip into whenever he/she is feeling
down. I would simply advise any purchaser to skip the travelogues