The Best Of Matt 2023 – Review
By Dom Picksley
Matt is one of those British institutions who has been around for longer than we care to remember. A cartoonist whose wit surpasses most others in the genre and whose rough little sketches can bring a smile to the most sullen of faces.
You’d normally have to buy the Daily Telegraph every day to appreciate the sartorial humour, as he pokes fun at the big stories, from political scandals to rail strikes, from royal shenanigans to travel chaos.
But The Best of Matt 2023 has collected together all his best cartoons from the past 12 months into one little package and it’s an annual you’ll find yourself returning to again and again, even if it’s just because you’re in need of a quick chuckle.
I’m not a Telegraph reader, so these were all new to me when I first opened the book, which starts with a brilliant mickey-take of strikes, and how industrial action undertaken by the respective unions of shepherds, wise men and innkeepers, would affect nativity plays across the land.
“Politics plays a major part”
It says much for our nation that there was enough material to fill a section labelled ‘strikes’. Two parents chat about a letter from school, with one saying: “We’re being fined for going on holiday during a school strike”, while down at the local job centre, a man seeking work is asked: “Have you thought about what job you’d like to strike from?”
Naturally, politics plays a major part throughout The Best Of Matt, with a canvassing Tory MP telling his constituents on a megaphone, “forget everything I’ve said for the last 12 years”, while the guide on a London bus tells a couple of tourists that in the mornings they can watch the changing of the guard and “in most afternoons, the changing of the PM”, in an obvious swipe at the revolving-door policy that the Conservatives seemed to be operating earlier in the year, when Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and then Rishi Sunak all had a go at being PM.
The royal family, obviously, were also on the receiving, with much of the focus on Prince Harry, who else? In an unplanned pre-cursor to the Just Stop Oil mischief-making on the country’s roads, a policeman can be seen telling a frustrated motorist stuck in a traffic jam that members of the ‘firm’, “have superglued themselves to the road” as a large banner is shown with the words ’STOP HARRY’S BOOK’.
Holidaymakers seemed to be hit by constant delays and cancellations as they tried to jet off to warmer climes, with one smug airport passenger telling his wife that they managed to beat the huge queues due to him “paying extra for priority cancellation”. Not only funny, but also very clever.
Just like most of the book, in fact.