Tim Moore (4 stars)

Nul Points (Jonathan Cape)


Tim Moore usurped Bill Bryson’s humorous travel writing crown by putting himself through dreadful physical hardship ?" cycling the route of the Tour de France, dragging a braying donkey along the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela, and then documenting it in a hilariously self-deprecatory manner. Masochistic Moore’s new book, in which he tracks down those Eurovision contestants who scored no points, is less a travel treatise and more of an exposé of that ineluctably naff yet inexplicably popular song contest.

But while the physical hardships of French Revolutions and Spanish Steps have fallen by the wayside, the traumatising encounters with the variously emotionally scarred nul pointers Moore subjects himself to, suggest his latest book represents his most arduous trip yet. All of which would constitute just so much tabloid-style muckraking if it weren’t for this eccentric Englishman’s apparently genuine wish to redeem these lost souls. Which he does with his customary amusing and informed banter.

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