Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Qualified disclaimer

I'm the sort of person who regards it as mandatory to sit through a film's end credits. Key Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy, Focus Puller, the lot; how much simpler when it simply said 'The End' or with French movies the definitive brevity of 'Fin'. So it might not entirely surprise you that I give close attention to the copyright page whenever I start reading a book. The usual 'The author asserts his right....' down to the who and where of the printer credits. About the only thing I tend to gloss over is the ISBN number, although even that sometimes has its fascination.

I've just taken Stephen Clarke's Dial M for Merde out of the library. So it's Stephen Clarke who has asserted his rights this time around, but it was the subsequent paragraph that caught my eye:

This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Except in the case of historical fact? Presumably that means 'unless it's true'; it certainly covers a multitude of sins, authorial or otherwise.

Anyway it's typeset in 11/14 point Jansen Falcon Oast Graphic Art Ltd and printed by CPI Mackays of Chatham, Kent, in case you were wondering.

The next page has a brief quotation from Goethe's Faust, but one page further on and Stephen Clarke offers another disclaimer:

For legal reasons, I am obliged to stress that this novel in no way implies that the current President of France receives sexual favours from his female staff. That would be an outrageous - and totally unbelievable - allegation.

1 comment:

tpe said...

Oh man, I share your problem. Not so much with films (which I barely watch anymore), but with books. Starting a book - any book - is a painful voyage of pointless discovery. I have to read every single word (or number) that adorns every single page. Crippling.

Plus, once I've started, I need to see the thing through to the end. We share an illness, then, surely? Although maybe not one which would allow us to claim a disability allowance on the back of it. I don't see why not, though, because it certainly impacts on my ability to work.

That's a beautiful disclaimer, incidentally: For legal reasons, I am obliged to stress that this novel in no way implies that the current President of France receives sexual favours from his female staff.....etc.

Quality.

Kind regards etc...

TPE