Monday, January 07, 2008

Go on. Take a looky wook.

Making time for Russell Brand has been a bit more difficult since the start of the new year, but I've now finished his booky wook and can report that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Regular readers may be shocked that a sober, reflective and upstanding citizen such as myself actually stooped to purchasing the best-selling slebtrash memoir of 2007. Perhaps I'd better explain.

One of the author's canny observations, noted while spending time in an American sex addiction clinic, was that you could get away with any confession provided it was prefaced with the words "to my shame". Well, to my shame, I actually think Mr Brand is rather funny. I know I shouldn't find anything amusing about the antics of a self-confessed narcissistic, womanising drug addict, but perhaps there's a little bit of Russell in all of us. Maybe it's only my reputation as a respected copywriter, lecturer and trainer that stands between me and what the presenter of Big Brother's Little Brother might describe as a crippling dependency on the ol' Persian rugs. If I hadn't once been a parliamentary candidate for New Labour, I too might have decided to make a TV show in which I shared a bath with a tramp who was oozing pus from a leg wound.

Childhood seems to have played a large part in Brand's descent into both comedy and tragedy. I was disappointed to discover that he wasn't, as I'd always presumed, the love child of Russell Grant and Jo Brand. He does, however, tell cheerful tales of being sexually molested by babysitters and private tutors and being exposed to pornography at an age when most of his contemporaries were watching repeats of Trumpton. This can't be good for your long-term prospects. The Essex comic also exhibits characteristics shared by many addicts: an insatiable desire for experimentation and the belief that it's good to try anything once.

If I have a criticism of My Booky Wook, it would be the lack of detail about the post-dope, post-crack, post-smack, post-nookie Brand. Whereas many autobiographies gloss over or sanitise the pain of the distant past, this one neglects to tell us anything much about the present. That said, it's well worth a looky wook. Particularly if you can pick it up, like me, with a voucher at half the recommended retail price. The author writes well, albeit in an idiosyncratic and rather self-conscious style. And he takes you by hand and leads you through the streets of celebrity-obsessed, drug-addled London.

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