'It wasn't me'
'It wasn't me' by Chris Addison
Hodder & Stoughton, 2008
This book is comic satire which points its wicked finger, in Grumpy-Old-Men style, at all people who are to blame for the various ills of the world. Chris Addison is superbly funny. His educated wit, and sharp eye for satire are a delight. He takes Daily Mail readers to task with gusto, and expands his critique of the blame culture to encompass, inevitably, just about every aspect of British society. His irony is wonderful. But what I really enjoy are his delicious turns of phrase - his mischievous utterings are complex and layered.
He has a strange idea about what a 'one-liner' is, though! Take this for example, where Chris Addison describes 'Your neighbours' as being the arch-blame culprit of all the world's ills:
"How do they find so many ways to make noise? you wonder to yourself. Some of it is only to be expected: the strangulated ululations of the fourteen-year-old girl, something akin to Mariah Carey getting into a hot bath, are perhaps inevitable in an age in which X-Factor and its ilk have convinced an entire generation that fame is a consequence of singing and that singing is the art of tunelessly hounding up and down the register until it gives in; then there's the relentless, treble-voiced imprecations and profanity that filter through the brickwork as her younger brother urges computer-simulated Nazis to 'Die! Die! Die!; plus the all-night barbecues every time the thermometer goes above 19 degrees, regularly punctuated with the kind of skull-rattling, rasping laughter that put the 'orc' into raucous (phonetically speaking, at least); and the weekend afternoons of badly-applied power tools and bellowing rows as they continue in their endless quest to do something with the architraving that they saw in Changing Rooms in 1998."
You will surely be asking yourself whether Chris Addison actually speaks like this when he does his stand-up comedy? I can report that, yes, he does indeed; his words falling over themselves as he rushes headlong through a torrent of satire. Mrs DarkStar and I have been fans for years, enjoying his Guardian column in days of old, before the paper and he inexplicably went their separate ways. His letter from the taxman was the funniest thing we ever read, a copy of which is pinned to our fridge door to this day. We saw him at Cheltenham, and sat in the front row, the consequence of which was that Mrs DarkStar had a conversation with him live about in-laws. Which was quite funny too.
'It wasn't me' has a lousy cover, and a dodgy title.
But the quality of the comic writings within kept me laughing out loud
A great book to enjoy whilst tucking into your favourite "mechanically-recovered cake-effect snack".
Book review by Andy Lloyd, 18th February 2009
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