"There is absolutely nothing wrong with being silly."
- Terry Jones
"The only truly effective way to stop someone snoring is to kill them." - Tony Hawks
One night, Tony Hawks (the English comedian, not Tony Hawk the skateboarder) made a drunken bet with a friend that he could hitchhike all the way around Ireland with a fridge. The bet was for £100. When Hawks woke up the next day, he considered just paying up, but something made him decide to go through with it. This book is the result.
Along the way, the fridge meets a king, goes surfing, is blessed by nuns, christened, becomes a celebrity, and enters a bachelor festival. They both get very drunk. A lot.
I've read a lot of books in my life. Some had pictures, some had really big words, some had pop-up bits, some were made of felt, some have made me laugh, some have made me cry, and some have bored the shit out of me. But this, I think, is the silliest book I have ever read.
Consider: the bet is for £100. The fridge cost more than that, for a start. The money spent on hostels, bed and breakfasts, phone calls, food and alcohol came to much more than that. After it was all over, neither Hawks nor his friend can remember if the loser paid up or not. Now that's silly.
But it's so much more than that. The whole exercise is silly and pointless, but somehow manages to have a deep meaningfulness at the same time. The endearing thing is - and I don't know if this would have happened in any other country - once the Irish people found out what he was doing, they accepted him completely. Once they realised he was just doing it for a big laugh, the entire country pulled together to help him out, and get him drunk. The Gerry Ryan radio show got behind him, and gave updates every day, urging people to watch out for him and give him lifts. A big phone company gave him a free mobile to use. He even nearly managed to borrow an Irish army helicopter. Wherever he goes, he is greeted by "Ah! It's the Man with the Fridge!", and things seem to fall into place.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter if he wins or loses the bet, it's how drunk he gets along the way. Surprisingly, the ending is incredibly moving and uplifting. It's a tribute to Hawks and Ireland that I nearly cried when it was all over. I'll say it again - this book is very, very silly. But you can learn a lot from it. And you can't ask for more than that.
Also by Tony Hawks: "Playing The Moldovans At Tennis", in which he drunkenly bets that he can beat the Moldovan soccer team at tennis. His new book will be called One Hit Wonderland. Well, it is called that, but it's not released yet. Update: Yes it is! Spiregrain tells me that it's about an attempt to get a number one record with Norman Wisdom in Romania. Why can't he just put a bet on a horse, or something?
Visit www.tony-hawks.com, and click on the Skateboarding section to read his hilarious replies to people who've emailed him thinking he's the skateboarder.