“Articles of Faith” is a book by Russell Brand about football. Don’t be getting it though if you want a companion to his Booky Wook books or his DVD shows unless you like football.
Basically the book is a “collection of columns” that Brand wrote for the Guardian newspaper during the 2007-08 season. There is a smidgeon of added value with some extras that you wouldn’t have originally got with your newspaper, these mainly being the cover “in which I am inadvisedly posing as Christ”, and three interviews with famous football fans – a humorous discussion of the football songs “Three Lions” and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” with David Baddiel, a rushed interview with James Corden about West Ham, and a chat about Manchester City becoming the richest club in the world with Noel Gallagher.
The “rattishly indulged” articles “focus chiefly on Brand’s reaction to the phenomena of football culture” rather than focusing on the football itself, and are done in the Russell Brand style with plenty of poetic and fruity language, lots of analogies, e.g. “like a knicker thief suddenly made manager of a laundrette”, and many a “wacky, sideways” view, e.g. “I enjoyed his scissor-kick somersault celebration although I’d be the first to condemn him if he did it in a refuge for battered women.”
The presentation is lavish with colour illustrations relating to the text throughout, such as one of “former Blades boss Neil Warnock poised in a circle of stone, stinking of chicken’s blood, spewing white-eyed incantations and clutching a buckled dolly of West Ham player Julien Faubert”, but never actual photos of any of the football or footballers, the only photos being promo shots of Brand, pencil in hand (for example).
As for the football this was the season when Steve McClaren’s England “smashed to bits” the “beautiful distraction of Euro 2008”, and where “poor unlovable Avram’s” Chelsea and Manchester United contested the Champions League final. As there is no context presented between articles a basic knowledge of what went on in the football world at this time, as well as the characters, is advisable.
Overall then what you have here is a funny, episodic read about the 2007-08 English football season, with a slight West Ham bias (Brand being a West Ham supporter). His last words are “Football does not make sense” so ultimately this book probably doesn’t make sense, but I thought it was a good read anyway.
on 29 December 2008
and possess a modicum of intelligence, you'll like this book.
My better half, at 4.55pm on Christmas Eve (he later admitted this),saw this specimen on the depleted shelves of Tesco (yes Tesco, for my Christmas presents, don't even...) and his simplistic little mind thought "oh, she likes football and she loves Russell...why, surely this book ticks all boxes, and will guarantee me festive brownie points"...and how right he was, although he probably didn't realise to such an extent, not having bothered to even read the blurb....
Anyways, the book....it's a collection of weekly articles from the Guardian about the 2007/08 football season. I don't read the Guardian (I am, after all, northern) therefore wasn't even aware such a column existed. Hence, I chuckled through nearly every one, in their newness to me, all the while thinking back to those events from last year (to which I had more than a passing interest - you kind of do have to like the funny ol' game to get it, so to those who merely 'would', I'd probably swerve it, even though admittedly the gratuitous glossy pictures within are delicious)and admiring the way in which he uses vocab and syntax to terrifying brilliant effect, whilst being absurdly funny and irreverant.
In short - the man's a genius. He has daft hair, loose morals and questionable career choices, but if he wrote a book about paint-drying, I'd read it. Bonus then, that the topic is football, where most of the usual commentary is bland, dry and uninspiring (you reading, Lawro?) - this tome shines out for its cleverness and slant. If you're a West Ham fan, even better, though I'm a Liverpool fan and appreciated the plentiful shout-outs re Benitez and co, as indeed there are for many of the Premiership and below sides.
Loath as I am to use the expression (and I use it here semi-ironically), I actually did 'LOL' at chapter 30 and his musings upon Mike Woodward, the chairman/manager/sweeper upper at Grays Athletic - and if that sounds random, well, just read it.
I shall continue to avoid the Guardian, and look forward to Brand's retrospective glance at 08/09 next Christmas. Cracking stuff.
on 2 September 2010
I love Russell Brand which is why I bought this book. If you love Russell, then you will love this book. Although it is about football, and i'm not a football fan, this is still an enjoyable book to read, and i would recommend it. However, if you are not a huge fan of Russell Brand, I wouldn't recommend to you.
on 11 December 2009
I grabbed this book on on impulse as I was in a hurry (a mistake, I know). I absolutely adore Russell's sense of humour and have read and watched all of his material.
It turns out this is about football, and I HATE football! I gave it a go but gave up as it was not at all funny. :-(