Sunday, February 25, 2007

Brought to B(r)ook(er) 3

My ambivalent relationship with bookshops due to a decade long career managing the bloody things has meant that I can easily miss out on stuff until it's been out for ever. Thus, while finally getting round to buying the latest M John Harrison novel I picked up Charlie Brooker's Screenburn, the collection of his TV criticism pieces from the Saturday Guardian dating from about 2000 onwards.
There's something utterly charming and comforting about reading a column which makes your own misanthropy look like mild irritation with a broken shoelace. Brooker hates for the UK, and all of his targets are utterly deserving. What's more he's incredibly fair-minded. While he bemoans the idiocy of reality show contestants, minor celebrities and Pop Idol contestants, he reserves his real ire for the complete c***s who think this stuff up. Not for nothing did Brooker invent the incredible Nathan Barley back in the day when he ran TV Go Home - the website that regularly had me laughing my tea through my nose (my favouritist ever TVGH character was Teeterlegs Jackson - the furious black 4 ft high detective who went around on stilts).
Not only this, but he's almost a poet in his use of language. No, really. Anyone who can describe Nigel Lythgoe as looking 'like Eric Idle watching a dog drown' or Anne Widecombe as having a face like a 'haunted cave in Poland' has to be some kind of genius.
But the real genius is the index. On its own it would make a great half hour read; with entries like Baker, Tom: has limbs torn off in space, 292 or Aspel, Michael: is considered dull, 8; possibly excretes eggs, 26; might as well fellate guests, 27. Whoops there goes my tea again...

PS: His Screenwipe on BBC Four is also fantastic. Try to catch it.

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