Did we like it?
Books for people who hate reading, for people who used to tear the hearts from the chests of bookish classmates and squeeze the blood onto their chips on the school bus as a substitute for tomato sauce.
What was good about it?
• Richard’s excruciating attempt to pay a compliment to a clan of blonde-haired women clones who looked as though they lived in the Village of the Damned. “Some people come from a gene pool,” he bafflingly began. “But you are from an Olympic-sized gene pool.”
• Michael Palin was as chirpy and genial as ever as was David Walliams.
What was bad about it?
• The utterly random divisions into which the books were divided: children’s, food & drink, coffee table, stocking fillers and celebrities. Of course there was no room for literature, history or science, just stuff that idiots could gawp at between reading Hello! and OK! from cover to cover and consigning their brains to the purgatory of mushy stupidity while slurping their Coldplay-endorsed Fair Trade coffee over their soulless coffee tables.
• The way Billie Piper and Rupert Everett were gushingly congratulated that their ‘auto’-biographies being beautifully written
• Judy’s habit of fingering her crucifix and running her trembling hands through her hair when she tried to broach any subject more controversial than Billie Piper’s favourite colour.
• In both the food & drink and stocking filler categories, the determining factor in deciding a winner from the shortlist seemed to have less to do with how good the book actually was and more to do with how famous the author was. Jamie Oliver won food & drink, and was told just after he’d oh-so-generously prepared a meal from his flat; while studio guest Ricky Gervais won the stocking filler prize for another of his Flanimals books.
• Bille Piper was as adorable as ever but did say that the tail-end of her music career was just about “promoting and schmoozing”. That’s the same Billie Piper who was indulging in an orgy of sycophancy with two of the schmooziest hosts on TV about her autobiography. An interview that ended with everyone cooing over Billie’s new puppy Baxter.
• For each section of books, a panel was invited to ‘review’ each of the short listed titles. The banal books on offer were selected for their appeal to indiscriminate imbeciles who have read more books by Jordan than Dostoyevsky. This meant they were reviewed by people who felt as though they had to gush forth unqualified praise for each title; immediately rendering their criticism, and in some cases their own lives, utterly redundant.
• Even the booksellers brought in to assess the coffee table tomes had their critical faculties extinguished; they spouted senseless platitudes of why each book was supposedly brilliant without ever explaining why or using impenetrable jargon such as “ecological edge”.
• Trinny and Susannah emerging like the rotting remains of drowned cattle after a flood to promote their new book.