Tuesday 10 January 2012

Tina Fey Kicks¹

I have been getting through ‘books’ at a rate of knots – only in comparison to my reading speed of recent times – since I got my Kindle (yeah I got a Kindle, don’t you remember? Yeah I have a Kindle…whatevs *tosses hair back*). I have read TWO entire books and started two OTHERS and got a bit bored of them.

Russell Brand’s Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal was a really good read. It might not be if you think Russell Brand is a cunt. I don’t, I think he’s right funny. Whereas My Booky Wook was the ‘my story so far’ type book through his childhood, heroin and minor infamy this is the story of ‘a year or so in the life of someone who was famous enough in Britain to warrant doing a ‘my story so far’ book but then went on to worldwide fame and (not actual – but you would have believed it at the time) disgrace’.

As his life was pretty interesting and he’s pretty candid and very funny it makes a funny enough read. Much of the Sachsgate stuff was covered when I saw his Scandalous tour. But that tour was relatively soon after the events of Sachsgate – yeah something a while ago was relatively nearer the thing in the past than now, in the future some time, can I write or what? But reading about it now it seems so ridiculous that something that, at best, was out of order was dominating the news for a couple of weeks.

My favourite part of the book was when he talked about getting a dart board as a child and how he he learned with amazement that the bullseye on a dartboard wasn’t the highest scoring part of the board. Because I – and I am sure lots of other people – also had this but hadn’t thought about it for years. This is not Brand’s core comedy – the nostalgia of youth and the past in general (Peter Kay has that sewn up) but it is something he does brilliantly, in between his Dickensian ponderings on his winky and all the trouble he gets him in.

I completed Tina Fey’s Bossypants today. A very different kind of book by someone equally on top of her game. A former writer/head writer/performer on Saturday Night Live (from here on in referred to as SNL like cool Americans do), writer of Mean Girls and erstwhile star/writer/producer of 30 Rock you certainly expect Fey to spin a good wordpile. And she does. It’s not an atypical autobiography – more a collection of her thoughts and feelings on stuff with elements of her life as a backdrop (in chronological order0; it sounds like a typical autobiography. She doesn’t go in to all the boring bits though – who gives a fuck where someone’s grandparents were born? If I’m reading the autobiography of someone famous I want to read about the interesting stuff I like them for, not how they make their fucking Christmas roast (I’m looking at you, Michael Caine. I mean the actor Michael Caine; I would expect how to make a nice meal in a book by one-armed chef Michael Caine).

So Fey’s yarn is not an in depth tale of every detail of her life but she talks about getting in to writing comedy; working on SNL; creating 30 Rock, making 30 Rock, looking like Sarah Palin, and Alec Baldwin being great. She also talks about being a woman in showbusiness and latterly a working mother. Both are interesting as she is clearly a bit annoyed, rightly, that either are an issue that she is constantly asked about. The whole ‘looking like Sarah Palin and portraying her on SNL’ was suggested to be a reason Palin was not successful in becoming King – or whatever it is people win in America when they get the most election points – and that Fey should be held responsible as a WOMAN for stopping another WOMAN from doing something. As Fey points out no-one ever suggests that men on SNL doing impressions of other men is anything other than satirical comedy.

She is also righteous about being a working mother. And I mean righteous the good way; not the preachy way – normally pre-modified by ‘self’. Essentially she is a prefect balance of confident, sassy, unapologetic, self-effacing, sarcastic and successful meaning she can talk about all her success and talent in a way that seems like she is apologising to you for (slightly) knocking some shopping bag of yours as she got in to the lift of which you had put your bags on the floor.

I have definitely fallen back in to the well of autobiographies/biographies (it’s a habit it’s not a well)…well it is a fucking well in a way isn’t it you bracket fuck? There’s a large amount of them out there and each time you read one you are drawing, metaphorically, from that, metaphorical, well of self-books. Anyway, as much as I tried to steer myself back towards a healthy balance between fiction and non-fiction I have found myself veering towards real-lit (my phrase); in fact as I’m reading ebooks you can make that in to real-lit-e books. Much catcher than non-fiction. I should copyright that and sell it to whoever pays people to come up with the names of categories in libraries. If there’s a growth industry it’s naming parts of libraries that already have perfectly good names.

Whatevz – on the radar autobiogs/real-lit-es by James Corden, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Lowe, Billy Crystal, Tony Blair (these are in order of how funny I expect them to be), Jay-Z, Bill Clinton…the list is endless, though that was the end of it.

¹I have done some really, really, really bad puns in my life but Tina Fey/Teenage? If there were an agency policing the use of puns in low interest blogs then I would surely be in front of some kind of tribunal for that. Well they could fucking send me the letter telling me I had been charged and would face a fine but I would give them the finger; Who (the fuck) are this (imaginary) pun standard enforcement agency telling me what I can and cannot use as a pun? Sure there would be some outcry at my recalcitrance. “Who does he think he is?” people would say? “There are pun standards in blogs with tiny readerships and he has to live by those standards like everyone else,” others would say (I like these people. At least they are being specific, not like those ‘who does he think he is?’ bastards – yeah I went there – just having a go at me vaguely.) People would stand out in support of me, perhaps wearing bandannas with ‘PUNS ARE NOT TO BE CONTROLLED’ scrawled on them. I would be warmed by the support but think to myself “These folks are lovely supporting me when I am under attack; but they have been so hasty to support me with a message on a bandanna that they haven’t taken the time to come up with a good slogan, or worse still they HAVE taken the time to come up with a good slogan and THAT is the best they can do. Perhaps if this is all the support I can muster then I should just puff my chest out and stand trial at The International Court of Puns.” Sometimes you have to just be a man and admit you have made a ban pun and not expect people to wear bandannas of support. It was a fucking bad pun. Sorry.

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