Charlie Brooker (5 stars)

Charlie Brooker

Dawn of the Dumb (Faber)


Listening to a verbose man rant on and on about the things that irritate him can be a relentless and exhausting chore at times. Put that down in print and those same demented opinions can appear more crafted and viscerally effective with a bit of distancing. Charlie Brooker is one such animal. When BBC4’s Screen Wipe terrorises the telly, you are often reaching for every button on your remote which turns things down, but in Dawn of the Dumb, his occasionally irrational fears and madcap lapses in common courtesy become blisteringly funny.

I dare anyone (other than the victims of his pointed abuse) not to snort out loud at the things he has to say about Justin Timberlake (‘a jumped-up bitch’), Banksy (‘his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots’), Lisa I’Anson (‘the most patronising person on earth?’), Chris Moyles (‘only the second most gormless and insufferable prick on Radio 1’), Shane McGowan (‘whose face resembles a puff pastry model of the moon’) and Nicky Campbell (‘ever so slightly creepy’). Oh, and not forgetting his thoughts on Jamie Oliver (‘Sir Flappy-Tongued Bumface’), Rebecca Loos (‘the woodpecker-faced Posh-botherer’), Jilly Goolden (‘plum-gobbed ghost-train skeleton’), Sandi Thom (‘the musical Antichrist’) and David Dickinson (‘vaguely resembles a retired Thai ladyboy’). These really are just for starters. There’s all the TV programmes he blitzkriegs along the way with splenetic fury and bruising kneejerks. Charlie Brooker is easy to love in print, but not someone you’d want to be caught sharing a sofa with while The Apprentice is on.

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