Robert Anwood
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Frequently asked questions

If there's something you'd like to know about, and it doesn't feature in this list, contact me and I'll see what I can do...

 

1. How many books have you written? I mean, actually written, not just repackaged?

Basically, two (Bears Can't Run Downhill and Emus Can't Walk Backwards). There are various different versions available or in the pipeline, including adapted international editions with specific "local facts". See Books/editions.

 

2. The various bits of blurb about your books refer to "pub facts" – what on earth are "pub facts"?

Well, in the spirit of "try before you buy", here's an excerpt from the introduction to Bears Can't Run Downhill:

Before you read any further, it's important to understand – particularly if you are a lawyer – that this is not a book of facts. Facts, on their own, are tedious. This is a book of pub facts, which are altogether a different matter, though you may come to find them equally tedious.

To enter the world of the pub fact is to enter the world of the pub itself, inside which anyone who's had a couple of pints suddenly becomes the foremost authority on any subject of their choosing. Just because the man in the pub happens to be a plumber by day is no reason why he cannot make detailed pronouncements about evolutionary theory; and the woman arguing at the bar does not require a degree in astronomy to be an expert on the workings of the solar system. Expressed with sufficient confidence, the most improbable and inaccurate statements can be made to carry the full force of fact. Indeed, there are those who believe strongly that any pub fact should be accompanied by a determined stabbing of the table (or bar) with the index finger, whilst exclaiming "FACT!"

Pub facts should not be confused with trivia, although some of the items in this book overlap to a certain extent. Pure trivia lends itself to dry lists of largely unmemorable facts about the world’s longest, smallest or – insert superlative here – people and places: the kind of facts that are designed for an eyebrow-raising, "Would you believe it?" reaction. Although not as concrete as actual, trivial facts, pub facts aren't usually as blatantly untrue as urban myths, either – although I have felt obliged to include a few classics of that genre for the sake of completeness. The defining characteristic of the pub fact is that it combines just the slightest degree of believability with a wholly unlikely claim that cannot actually be tested in the pub environment. Hence pub facticians cannot be proved or disproved – unless, of course, they whip out this book while waiting for the next round to arrive.

To see some example pub facts from the books, try the pub facts quiz.

Right, that's enough free stuff – now cough up and buy!

 

3. Good point. Where can I buy your books?

Mostly in any good bookshops, and hopefully even in some bad bookshops if that's all that's available to you. In the UK, Emus Can't Walk Backwards, like Bears Can't Run Downhill, will certainly be available in Waterstones and other shops. If you can't find it in your local bookshop, obviously I encourage you to inundate them with requests as much as possible. For online purchases, there are a number of options, such as Amazon.co.uk – more details are available by going to the Books/editions page and selecting the title you're interested in, where you'll find some links to websites which definitely sell the book in question.

The Second World War Began in New Zealand is available only in (you guessed it) New Zealand; while The World According to the Man in the Pub was exclusive to Marks and Spencer.

See Books/editions for details of the various different editions available.

 

4. Actually, I've got a pub fact or two of my own – want to hear them?

Yes please – I'm always on the lookout for new pub facts, and while at the present stage I can't see myself writing a third book on the subject, I do enjoy reading random submissions from readers. After all, I have to have something to talk about in the boozer. You can send me a pub fact using this form. Thanks!

 

5. Is Robert Anwood your real name?

No. My real name is Robert Smith, like that guy out of The Cure.

 

6. I heard you run some music website – what's that all about?

Writing with the ridiculous pseudonym of "Siegfried Baboon", I run The Truck Driver's Gear Change Hall of Shame (www.gearchange.org). The website musically documents the world's most unnecessary key changes.