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Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,466 ratings  ·  128 reviews
By the popular Vice contributor, a collection of full-throated appreciations, elaborate theories, and unflinching recollections

Joel Golby's writing for Vice and The Guardian, with its wry observation and naked self-reflection, has brought him a wide and devoted following. Now, in his first book, he presents a blistering collection of new and newly expand
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Anchor Books
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,466 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Okay so this essay collection is a bit of a mixed bag, but Joel Golby is very, very, very funny—like, ludicrously funny—with a voice that's sharp and strong and snarky and delightful. He's also a very specific kind of 30-something white dude, which comes out in ways that are sometimes delightfully fun and sometimes eye-rollingly awful. He's a Vice writer, so I mean, that should tell you most of what you need to know.

In the better of these essays, Joel is the kind of writer whom you just want to
Chaunceton Bird
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Generally hilarious. With this wonderful collection of essays, Captain Golby rams the Titanic of polite society into the iceberg of taboo. His frank crudeness and naked honesty, paired with his British wit and knack for nihilism, will keep you laughing and entertained throughout. Definitely recommend this one to people who keep it real. Definitely don't recommend this one to people who eat dinner with more than one fork. ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
The low rating I am giving this book is partly my fault. I should've read some of Golby's articles on Vice before requesting this, that way I would have quickly found out that I likely would not get along with the tone of the writing in this collection.

But the tone was only part of the problem - often the subject matter was puerile (I'm thinking specifically of the essay where Golby talks about *that* thing Marilyn Manson is supposed to have had ribs removed to be able to do, and how he spent a
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hate Joel Golby cause he made me write my first Goodreads review.
I hate Joel Golby because his writing is so good I get disappointed in my own.
I hate Joel Golby because he made me have a Big Think about drinking.

I hope he writes a load more books.
Esther Z
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think if I ever were to write a book this is how I’d like it to turn out.... 4.5 stars =D
Tom Fish
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm trying to be blunter with my star ratings which is why this is a 2. In previous years I'd have settled for a polite but unenthusiastic 3.

I just didn't really find a lot of this interesting. It's mostly about Joel Golby, which since I'd never heard of him before reading it wasn't what I was expecting. Most of the essays are about nothing much really, and the really personal ones I just found a bit bleak.

Weirdly, the author and I grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. He wrot
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joel Golby makes me howl with laughter and splutter my tea out - he manages to make an essay about a camel festival both interesting and brimming with brilliant wit. LOVE
Adam Woods
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have this theory about books and theatre. For some reason, my theory goes, people find things funny in a book or on the stage that otherwise they wouldn’t. Like somehow expectations are so much lower in these formats, that any idle witticism is met like one of John Mulaney’s funnier bits.

Well, this book is funny. But really truly funny. Not book funny. Funny funny.

Golby is above all honest - his stories are real, his language relatable and his tone exactly what it should be in this shit-show w
This book is very honest, and often powerful and moving, and sometimes funny, but I didn’t like it very much. Golby is an affable narrator, and he’s extremely disciplined when it comes to structure, but he’s a little sloppy with word choice. The major problem, though, is that this book wasn’t written with me as the target audience. It does give me a glimpse into a world very different from my own, but it’s not a world I particularly want to spend time in.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
"How do you think Pitbull fucks? I think Pitbull fucks like a snake spliced with a wolf. Pitbull fucks like a Ferrari driving up a skyscraper. Pitbull fucks like a double espresso poured into a fire. Pitbull fucks like a Gatling gun hanging out of a police helicopter. Pitbull has never ever had to Google 'what toner is best for oily skin?'" stellar ...more
Duncan Vicat-Brown
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-goats
Obviously I can't be subjective, but it's fucking great, and opens up the Millennial conversation beyond the affluent middle class, and uh, really fucked me up a few times! I've now bought an eye mask and a very specific beard trimmer. I am maybe too suggestible. ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious and poignant but slightly let down by a couple of weaker sections. The chapter where Golby considers the meaning of home ('Home is the smell of being dry beneath an underpass, watching outside as it rains.') resonated, and he writes affectingly about his childhood, his dad's alcoholism and the premature loss of both of his parents throughout. I found myself skipping through the Rocky and M&Ms parts, though, which were too zany for me. In fact, I wonder whether the book would have been ...more
Erik Nygren
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Joel Golby has been doing the lord's work in Vice UK with his “London Rental Opportunity Of The Week” series for a few years now. Giving me a healthy way of channeling my frustrations against London’s rental market and it’s blazer wearing extortionists. He’s a really funny writer, and as a same generation, same city resident I find the stuff he writes about often relatable.

This book is a collection of essays, that is a bit broader than just hating on rental agencies/landlords (but don’t worry, a
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
The thing is, I absolutely love Joel Golby’s writing, but this was a mixed bag for me. Some essays are absolutely wonderful, and others just aren’t for me. That’s not to say that any of these essays are bad, but that the subjects they approached simply didn’t interest me personally. I also failed to finish this book simply because it burnt me out a little (I feel Golby’s writing is perhaps better suited to his more conventional short essays as opposed to them being put into an entire book), but ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this is what I imagine being friends with the author must be like: he can bore you to tears by banging on for hours about something you have zero interest in (Rocky! Football! Lads banter!) and even reading those pieces ironically only gets you so far. But then he gets to something of and with such raw emotional brilliance and insight that you get a glimpse of why he might be just the best mate in the world.
Harry McDonald
Coal-black humour runs through this collection of essays, on everything from being an orphan at 25, the various ways you might fantasise about killing your landlord, to the virtues of Rocky IV. Really compelling and really well-written. And I actually cackled OUT LOUD. That NEVER HAPPENS.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty dang funny, written in that millinieal internet-savvy pop-culture-snarky manner that I love. A few essays I felt the need to immediately share (the dinner party one stands out to me). And a few I was eager to finish up.
Ingrid Sharp
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Really funny and very random collection of essays that remind me of long days with friends.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really thought I was going to like a bunch of essays written by Golby and then I saw that caitlin Moran and russell brand had commentary printed on the dust jacket and I was like oh no but then I saw sharon horgan and was like oh ok and then (and this is properly on me) realised he writes for vice and that probably set the tone for me reading this and thinking like even a self-aware reasonably woke lad is still a lad and I found it hard to muster much enthusiasm from there on in. He is the typ ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
You should read his articles in the Guardian. If you like them, which I do, you will enjoy this book, which I did. The book feels like hanging out with the guy who wrote them, as it is that. He writes for vice magazine, which for ME would be a dealbreaker, but it is only very rarely vice magazine esque.
Declan Cochran
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
im glad our generation finally has its own (british) chuck klosterman
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I began with mixed feelings about this book, partly due to the diversity of the subject matter (which contained some topics completely outside of my sphere of reference) and partly due to the extreme casualness and cynicism of Golby’s tone. But, once I got stuck into the collection I grew steadily more fond of its witty and self-deprecating frankness. Some essays are undoubtedly far stronger than others, but many passages will stay with me for their sensitivity and insight. The book feels like a ...more
Danielle Peacock
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
I wasn’t familiar with Golby’s previous work before I read this and I can tell that I’m not really the target audience for this book. The essay about Wayne Rooney didn’t hold my interest, nor did the Monopoly one. I just kind of missed what the point was. Apart from to try and make something mundane funny - but very try hard funny.

It did make me chuckle once or twice, but most of the time I had to force myself to finish another section. I have to finish a book once I’ve started which became an
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finally, a book that precisely captures what it is like to be a 30 year old white millennial male in The Current Year.

Joel is a great writer, managing to deftly switch from tragedy to farce in the same sentence. Insightful and relevant, but most importantly entertaining. Probably not recommended for prudes.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Several observations were excellent - brought out some laugh out loud moments. Others may have been funny but I was having trouble relating to and reading it due of all the obscenities and the graphic sexual content that seemed completely gratuitous and added little to nothing to what he was discussing. I'd skip this one . Felt it was a waste of time mostly. ...more
Twila Gingerich
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
The topics covered in these essays are precisely what you would think a white British middle class male would write about. Painfully predictable. Occasionally funny. If the not so good essays were to be taken out, this book could have been whittled down to a pamphlet.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh so hard so many times but was also bittersweet, thoughtful and a wonderful interpretation of modern life as a young person.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, essays
A book that delivers on its title. The essay about both of your parents being dead will slay you.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I particularly liked the part about killing landlords.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose-2020
Painfully heterosexual. (And I came to this as a fan of Golby, who needs to like meet a queer person.)
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