Read of the Week

Durban Poison

Ben Trovato

MF Books

Review: Karen Watkins

With his toxic wit, Ben Trovato had me smiling by page four and laughing out loud by page 12 of Durban Poison.

This is not a book to read in public as it’s sure to provoke giggle envy.

Named for a marijuana strain, Durban Poison is a collection of Trovato’s most recent columns.

This latest book contains his “one-millionth word” since becoming a newspaper columnist in 1986. According to his intro (written in a dodgy bar on the edge of a wild peninsula on the southern tip of Africa), the words “hung-over” or “retarded” are likely to be this terrible, beautiful milestone, which he would have tattooed on his arm.

In his usual style he shows no fear as he takes on non-PC topics and every conceivable subject in between. And yet he also turns the tables on himself, not always liking what he sees.

Some stories are sure to resonate. Such as Trovato’s nightmare visits to the dentist. From his mother’s cry at spotting his first tooth, through wisdom teeth crumbling like Egyptian papyrus to Dr Aitken drilling without anaesthetic and a mouthful of fillings that blind whoever he is with. At one time he had elastic bands holding everything in place.

“Now and again one would shoot from my mouth and hit someone in the eye. Friends started wearing safety goggles around me”.

Mind you, it doesn’t help that he opened beer bottles with his incisors.

Trovato describes Durban Poison as the perfect toilet book with each column taking the same time as a standard bowel movement.

For me it’s the perfect bed-time book. Each column is laced with laughter and just the right length before eyelids droop.