Friday, 10 September 2010
Thin gruel fat blog
I have long been (I didn't watch enough of Fist of Fun, I suppose, but I really enjoyed the Lee & Herring shows and continue to laugh at AIOTM) a fan of Richard Herring (and have mentioned his material on more than one occasion on here before) so decided to borrow his book - How Not To Grow Up - from Westminster libraries. I wouldn't have shelled out £12 for it to be sure (in fact, I doubt I would have even paid a far more reasonable £6, child of the internet as I am, and thus contemptuous of any form of entertainment which isn't entirely free, such as AIOTM) but it seemed a reasonable diversion, and something of a mental antidote after ploughing through Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker.
And reasonably diverting it most definitely is. About halfway through, I have had two or three laugh out loud moments, and considerably more wry smiles of recognition. He is excellent at pushing ideas to their ludicrous limits, and is not averse to the most puerile gags. Actually, it would be fair to say that puerility is the major theme of this work (if not of the entirety of his oeuvre - and nothing wrong with that) but there is little more to get excited about. This will be a minor criticism, as I do generally approve of the book, and only feel that a few minor tweaks would have made all the difference. Neither is the criticism aimed solely at the writing. The book itself - despite the high price tag - is poorly produced, nastily typeset, with a good few fairly serious typographical errors. The humorous quotes at the head of each chapter have an amateurish feel, and don't actually add a great deal to the narrative.
As far as style goes, the relationship with Emma Kennedy is just plain irritating, and the anarchic edge which works so well in the live internet shows doesn't come across at all. The whole is extremely episodic, piecing together routines from his post-modern shows and providing a thesis on aging which really does not satisfy in any deeper sense. It reads, really, like loads of blog posts.
I remain convinced that his writing will improve.