The Ricky Gervais Guide To... The Arts

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The Ricky Gervais Guide To...
Series One
Episode List


  1. Guide to... Medicine
  2. Guide to... Natural History
  3. Guide to... The Arts
  4. Guide to... Philosophy
  5. Guide to... The English

The Ricky Gervais Guide To... The Arts is an audiobook released by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. It is the third audiobook in the Guide To... series. It was released on 17 February 2009.

Track Listing

The Show's Album Art

1. A Man With No Qualifications (0:00:00)

The show opens with the theme music and Ricky talking about the history of art. He then introduces himself, Steve and Karl Pilkington. Next he lists Steve and Karl's qualifications and education, which for Karl, turns out to be none.

2. What is Art? (0:01:20)

Ricky discusses how the meaning of art has changed over time, the topic of discussion quickly moves onto Karl's perspective. He feels that art is arbitrary colour 'Someones got a load, do you want one... oh, I've got a wall to fill'. Steve talks about the beauty of art and how important it is in our lives, but also the different forms of art such as Marcel Duchamp's Urinal sculpture. Karl is firmly set in his opinion that anyone could have done art, on the topic of the shark in formaldehyde, 'was he an artist of a fishmonger?'.

3. I don't look in the mirror that often (0:07:47)

Discussion moves onto how miserable Karl's life is, all three discuss how Karl talks to his girlfriend via the mirror: 'you are such an odd little man'. Karl moves on to talk about Miss Piggy, a woman who lived on his estate and rode a 3-wheeled tricycle around with her husband in the back. Another story emerges about how Karl's dad once pretended to be a policeman to stop her beating up her husband. She conversed with strangers by talking through a mirror. The entire conversation is summed up as 'really weird!'.

4. Is Graffiti a valid art form? (0:11:39)

Ricky brings the subject of discussion back onto art, and how the earliest forms of art were cave paintings (30,000 - 10,000 BC). Karl thinks that the only cave paintings ever drawn were of yaks, on Karl's visit to Pompeii he only saw drawings of 'knobs, tits & arse'. With this conversation quickly moves back onto the classic spunking dick drawing, and the microscopic details of these drawings including size and quantities of spunk, as well as other forms of graffiti the three have seen on their travels. Karl speaks about whether the thalidomide woman came about due to the statue getting broken. Karl likes the Angel of the North because it is 'something in the middle of nothing'.

5. Censorship of Art (0:21:36)

The conversation moves onto conspiracy theories eg. Arthur Miller, Karl begins to talk about CB radio but is quickly stopped by Ricky claiming it was 'pointless'. Ricky thinks that the only way great films can be improved is a Muppets version. Karl likes films with a great storyline but sometimes struggles to understand them, often asking Suzanne what was happening. His favourite films are: 'Elephant Man, Kes and Mission Impossible 2'.

6. Scrabble whilst whistling (0:26:22)

Steve talks about Outsider Art created by people in asylums, Ricky finds this incredible yet also mental, such a skull with real teeth in it. Karl's form of expressing himself is whistling, he finds it a way of relieving himself of the world's heaviness. Whilst in Kent for Christmas Karl would whistle whilst playing scrabble. The radio could not be turned on due to a fault with the boiler so Karl decided to provide the soundtrack. Karl's window cleaner had to retire because he could no longer whistle. Karl next does a small sample of his whistling, Ricky responds to this with: 'fuckin hell Karl!', Steve replies with, 'there are mental patients who have smeared canvases with shit and expressed more than that'. Apparently Karl's brain is especially apt at scrabble, he was able to form unusual words such as 'squirm'.

7. Classical Music (0:34:09)

Conversation moves onto classical music, where Steve likes the peace and tranquility of this, Karl prefers a song with a story, Ricky, like Steve also adores classical music. Karl thinks he can add to classical music by adding a vocal track or by whistling, he does not like the length of classical music or the way that it fades in and out. Karl talks about how he could never play the piano because it takes up too much room.

8. The worm has turned (0:39:54)

Ricky talks about another art form, plays. Ricky professes how he does not like Shakespeare because of all the puns used. They discuss the saying 'in a pickle', Karl sums this up by saying Ive never used it. This discussion ends by deciding that Shakespeare is not as good as Ken Dodd. Karl prefers idioms (little sayings), Karl thinks 'the worm has turned' is a pointless saying because a worm was not fit the action of turning, he would have used a chameleon.

9. Death of Harry (0:44:50)

Ricky concludes the points so far discussed, then moves on to poetry. Karl doesn't like poetry because he thinks its gay. Ricky educates Karl on war poetry and how it showed war in a different light, despite this Karl would rather have received a proper letter that spoke the writer's mind. Ricky tries to explore Karl's view his by creating a scenario about Harry, Karl's husband (Karl is woman). Karl would have tried to appear strong in the face of Harry but would have cried after he left. He receives a letter from the colonel to say the Harry has died. When he receives a poem from Harry sent before he died, Karl would not have found this interesting. Later comments produce the longest laugh of Ricky ever recorded.

10. Worst thing is gay (0:50:02)

Ricky expresses his annoyance at the continental breakfast in contrast to the full English. Next Ricky talks about his childhood and how at school the worst thing was to to be gay. Karl never really answers the question of 'blind or gay', instead asking 'this is about art is it?'.

11. Guide to Philosophy (0:52:15)

Ricky plugs the next audiobook The Ricky Gervais Guide To... Philosophy quickly at the end of the show.



Karl 'Art is something for your eyes to look at.'

Karl 'Filling a gap that would otherwise have nowt in it.'

Karl 'I wouldn't have it in my house.'

Karl 'If it's in Trafalgar Square, you don't want a 12 foot cock.'

Karl 'Art is freedom.'

Karl 'I just don't think you can beat a decent vocal over that.'

Ricky 'Pun should be short for, punch him in the mouth.'

Karl 'Get yer knickers off'


See Also

External Links

The Pilkipedia Forum users' thoughts on the show

Marcel Duchamp's urinal

Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3 | Series 5
The Podfather | Video Podcasts | Other Podcasts... | Guide To...
Presenters Ricky Gervais | Stephen Merchant | Karl Pilkington
Features Monkey News | Rockbusters | Karl's Diary | All...