Those aren't my words (sadly) but Brooker's uncanny description of Jade Goody's mother Jackiey. There's no doubting this Guardian journalist and co-creator of Nathan Barley has a way with the entertaining insult. From Nigella Lawson to Jamie Oliver to Jeremy Kyle, if their mug has appeared on TV then Charlie Brooker is almost certain to be slagging it off in some of the most inventively evil prose imaginable. Adrien Brody is 'a cross between Ross from Friends and a disappointed sundial'. I mean, really, that's genius. When Brooker's good, he's really good. I almost choked on my tea. 'Anne Robinson's face now appears so tight and Botoxed she seems to be pushing it through the taut skin of a tambourine'. I laughed until my ribcage ached.
The whole book isn't this funny, though. Which is good in a way because it gears you up for the really hilarious bits (and stops your cheek muscles from going into spasm). A quote from SpikeMagazine.com points out that he's not 'a one trick pony', but he kind of is, to be honest. That's not necessarily a problem, though - it depends on the trick. If you found a pony that did nothing but wash your dishes, you might not mind if it only knew the one trick. To compare Brooker to Chris (typed Christ first of all) Morris, his Nathan Barley writing partner, is to lose sight of the fact that Morris is a true innovator without whom etc etc, while Brooker is basically a curmudgeonly git, albeit the funniest one in the universe. He's like those two old men in the audience of the Muppet Show, with their white whiskery faces, heckling away. It's not just the gogglebox he loathes, but a variety of other random elements that impinge on his universe. He's spot on most of the time, except for the fact he hates kids and Macs, two things I'm especially fond of. It's unsettling to find yourself (or your likes) on the sharp edge of his tongue. He's bang on, though, about Richard Littlejohn, and George Bush, and Daleks patrolling the streets. Then he inexplicably goes ligging at Glastonbury with Aisleyne from Big Brother, and in one fell swoop shatters all the respect you built up for him over the past three hundred pages. It's like when Woody Allen decided, hey, the Oscars are cool after all; Bob Dylan getting into bed with Starbucks. A four-star read overall, then, with plenty of five-star sentences. And if you like this, try film critic Joe Queenan's 'If You're Talking to Me, Your Career Must be in Trouble', a kind of softcore ancestor of the rampant misanthropy that Brooker does so very, very well.