I loved Richard Ayoade’s excellent film Submarine and his appearances in shows like The IT Crowd and was very excited about getting a copy of this book. Unfortunately, it left me fairly cold.
I always find straight memoirs to be a little bit dull as I don’t want to hear the ins and outs of every distant family member. This book certainly isn’t guilty of that and veers well wide of what you’d expect from a celebrity memoir. It sees Ayoade interview himself, with multiple personas coming into play. He wonders if there’s been another book like this. Has he invented a new literary genre?
Ayoade says everything that’s said about him is a lie, including what he says about himself. Everything is fiction. He’s asks himself what about non-fiction? The answer given is that’s the exception. This sort of caper goes on throughout the whole book as Ayoade tries to get to the bottom of the character. He tells tales of jumping into speedboats with Grace Jones and a beautiful woman he met earlier and reckons the only thing better than winning an award is a favourable review from a broadsheet paper. His musical influences are said to be ‘Knopfler, Kravitz, Kula Shaker – a KKK I can do business with’. For books he goes for ‘Ludlum, Archer, Crichton, King. And they don’t lack for anything. As in l.a.c.k’.
All of this is, of course, a great attempt at creating something very clever and funny, and some of the tales raised a light chuckle. However, most of it turns out to be very frustrating as it’s filled with misfiring injokes that gradually annoyed me more and more as it dragged on. I admire him for what he’s tried to do here but unfortunately it’s nowhere near as good as he probably thinks it is.