Sam Quixote's Reviews > The Hell of It All

The Hell of It All by Charlie Brooker
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Jul 31, 2011

it was amazing
Read in October, 2009

"The Hell of It All" continues where "Dawn of the Dumb" left off, collecting Brooker's columns in the Guardian from Aug 07 to Aug 09. The chapters are divided between his Screen Burn columns where he talks about tv shows, and his G2 columns where he talks about other stuff. I love Brooker's work especially his writing but always forget his columns are up on the Guardian website each week so seeing a 388 page book appear is always a surprise and a pleasure as I know I've got 2 years of Brooker's views to read first time. So seeing "The Hell of It All" appear suddenly on the Amazon website, I had to order a copy. And is it any good? Of course it is.

Brooker's views on tv are always funny and spot on, like his article on Bruce Parry in "Tribes" where he reimagines an episode based in Glasgow, or his potshots on BB housemates. There's also a fairly mundane article on his fear of spiders until at the end he adds a note saying he had to write this one as his first submission was vetoed as too gloomy for a Monday morning - the article posits the question "Why don't you blow your own head off?". The article is also included in full.

His best work comes in the form of the G2 articles where his descriptions of not caring about anything in the article titled "The Black Hole" are, dare I say it, profound, while the travel piece where he stays in an opulent Las Vegas during the beginning of the economic crisis contains a spot on description of Vegas. There's also a brilliantly funny article on Gordon Brown's dreary time as prime minister, a paragraph of which I loved so much I've typed it out below:

"Here is a man apparently allergic to luck. Nothing goes right for the Brown minister. He can't even pop onto YouTube and attempt a smile without everyone laughing and calling him creepy. And they're right. The smiles were creepy: they made him look like the long-dead corpse of a gameshow host resurrected by a crazed scientist in some satirical horror movie. It's Saturday night, live from Television Centre! The theme tune plays on a church organ. Your children shriek when he bounds on to the screen. As he descends the glittering staircase, one decomposing arm drops off at the shoulder socket, hitting the studio floor with a damp thud. Oblivious, he steps over it to approach camera one, gazing down the lens with frozen eyes, intermittently twitching that smile. Your screen cracks. Hot plasma leaks out. This broadcast is over." (p.351)

Charlie Brooker's written another amazing book where you actually prefer to read about tv than watch it. And great timing too as a fine remedy to all the putrid celeb biographies and cookbooks out any day now. Very funny, very readable, highly recommended.
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