I’ve been a fan of Mark Thomas since discovering him on his short-lived TV series. He’s a person that irks many, but who we all need, now more than ever.
That’s because Mark isn’t like the rest of us, he’s not here for a quiet life. He doesn’t hear about a change to the law or a re-zoning of an area and grumble, he actively does something about it. Mark and his friends defend public liberty, as much as anything else, as it’s slowly being stripped away from us.
Along with the press — when it’s not being an arse — people like Mark stand up for the public interest and dedicate their lives to keeping politicians and corporations honest as they try to steamroller the rest of society.
To this end, the book covers one hundred things Mark (and friends) complete over the course of a year to try and fight against some of the injustices they encounter.
They vary wildly in quality. The three regarding porn magazines are essentially one and likely to impact almost no-one. Some of the others impacted policy and improved life for a lot of people. There are plenty that are hilarious though and many that are, dare I say it, right on the money.
How many caused real change is probably up for debate, but these were only minor acts let us not forget. If nothing else they serve to raise awareness.
Mark’s inventiveness guarantees the book is funny — how can a man dressed in a Dalmatian onesie pulling a salmon strapped to a skateboard not be? — but it also serves to highlight many global, national and local issues. Ones those in power obviously hoped we’d overlook or meekly accept.
It’s heartening to see how many people get involved, but I was also impressed by how many sympathetic police officers, security staff and managers he meets. The people of this small isle are still a force to be reckoned with, no matter what walk of life they inhabit.
Will this book change the world? Unlikely. Will it change your views? Maybe. Will it highlight the need for activists like Mark and his friends? Absolutely. And it’ll do it while making you chuckle, which is no bad thing.