Charlie Brooker’s Screen Burn

You know, I had so much fun with Charlie’s latest book, The Hell of it All that I felt compelled to get hold of his previous two books of collected Guardian columns. This is the first of them, which includes a couple of earlier items, then the collected Screen Burn columns from 2000 to 2004.

And yes, it’s more of the same. Vitriol, spleen, sarcasm, some of the most developed swearing this side of Stephen Fry, and more laughs than you’d get from a very funny thing. Reality TV and hideous “talent” shows are eviscerated for your entertainment and enlightenment. Sport is disdained in terms that I heartily agree with, though Charlie shows quite impressive prescience in a May 2004 column in which he talks about what he’d do if he was in charge of the BBC. He suggests that in future football will only be shown

in a form that’ll deliberately enrage the fans – by superimposing an obtuse East European cartoon over the footage, accompanied by the sound of loud, atonal trumpets

OK, we’re still waiting for the cartoons, but I do believe those vuvuzela thingies could be described in that way. So, the question has to be asked: did Charlie manage the World Cup coverage? Eh? Eh? I think we should be told.

And apart from all that, this is TV criticism of the best kind – having watched, or having any intention of watching, the victims subjects of these columns is entirely optional. Or, as Graham Linehan puts it in the introduction:

He watches these things so we don’t have to. Bless him for that.

Good stuff, lots of fun. Read it.