Sunday, September 23, 2012

Comedy And Error

Simon Day was in the Fast Show, portraying Competitive Dad, Monkfish and a slew of other catchphrase-driven characters. After the Fast Show, he spent some time writing his autobiography, which is quite a grind. The things I wanted to read about were his time working up the comedy circuit; not the constant grousing about how the youth of today has it easy, drugs aren't as potent as they once were (that's right, the grass really was greener back then) and backhanded compliments about most of the people he worked with.

Plus, there's the delicious irony of Simon Day going on a horrible holiday to Australia and ending up in the Gold Coast (for which he has my utmost sympathies) and, on the way, being stuck next to a garrulous drunk who never stops being offensive. Perhaps the book was written so that you'd feel empathy with Day, because the book as a whole feels like you're stuck in a room with a man who won't shut up, for hours on end, occasionally threatening to tell you something interesting ("In fact we all went on holiday together to Miami, but that's another story" - a story we never get to read about, mind), but never amounting to more than a very longwinded moan.

There's a couple of good bits. Near the start it feels like it's being written in the character of an old Colonel Blimp-type. Then you realise it's just being written by a Colonel Blimp-type, and the shine goes off. There's a very good few pages where Day goes to a gig with a grumpy ex-army type, a horrible car-crash account of missing a gig because of England in the 1996 European quarter-finals, a description of John Thomson as a demented clockwork pirate ... And that's really about it. One of those books that should be fascinating and fails inexplicably, just like Black Sabbath's roadcrew's memoirs.

Possibly I'm ill-disposed to it because I read it at 5 in the morning, suffering insomnia. But I believe a book emblazoned with the slogan "They really were marvellous times" needs something more enjoyable in it than somebody going on about all the cocaine they never enjoyed.


Post a Comment