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Diary of a Somebody

Narrated by: Ben Miller
Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Summary

Brian Bilston has decided to write a poem every day for a year while he tries to repair his ever-desperate life. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a marketing guru and motivational speaker who seems to be disturbingly influencing his son, Dylan. Meanwhile Dylan’s football team keeps being beaten 0-11, as he stands disconsolately on the wing waiting vainly to receive the ball. 

At work Brian is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and is becoming increasingly confused by the complexities of modern communication and management jargon. So poetry will be his salvation. 

But can Brian’s poetry save him from Toby Salt, his archnemesis in the Poetry Group and potential rival suitor to Brian’s new poetic inspiration, Liz? Worst of all Toby has announced that boutique artisan publishing house Shooting from the Hip will be publishing his first collection, titled This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleft, in the autumn. And when he goes missing Brian is inevitably the number one suspect. 

Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is the most original novel you will come across this year.

©2019 Brian Bilston (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

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"Doing tricks and all that stuff..."

Brian Bilston,, the poet Laureate of Twitter, is on a roll 'doing tricks and all that stuff', like the dog in his poem who spontaneously combusted with a final 'woof'. It's all great fun bursting with puns, word games, acrostics, spoofs wrapped around a straggly old plot that, like Brian, never quite gets anywhere but provides lots of real laughter along the way.

Brian (not the author's real name) is a hopeless loser - he's lost his job for being useless; his wife has left him for being useless; he makes pitifully useless attempts at getting somewhere with Liz at his poetry society but manages each attempt with such cringeworthy imbecility that you can hardly bear to listen. But it's all harmless and humorous as Brian puts his experiences into daily poems, the topics of which reach new depths of banality - mixing up the recycling and landfill bin collection days for example - but which somehow manage to be funny.

His spoofs of familiar and unfamiliar poems and songs from TSEliot, the Bible,to Dylan Thomas and Kate Bush and loads more are often extremely clever, whilst others remain the dross which Brian knows they are which actually makes them funny. A disadvantage of listening is that you can't see the acrostics or flick back to re-read a poem. I loved the spoof of vicious Icelandic children's stories with the evil Papa Pumplecheeks. The poem written to his one true friend, his cat, who, Brian finds, has ceased to breathe is genuinely moving with the grief sealed around Brian's heart, His relationship with his son Dylan, batted between his mum, her grotesque new guy, and his hopeless dad is tender. Nothing in Twitterland in all its madness escapes Brian's light-hearted but heartfelt scorn..

What makes the whole of this worthwhile - even if Brian's love of custard creams and other themes are over-done - is the humanity of Brian and the combination of serious empathy and feeling with apparent silliness. Think about the title 'Advice for Removing Keyboard Tearstains':and then read the poem: ' If you happen to notice / your keyboard is dirty / use a water spray can / and give it a SQWERTY' Brian's poetry society with the hideously pretentious Toby Salt and his ridiculously nonsensical but high-riding volume This Bridge no Hands shall cleave is great stuff. Brian's ability to pun, re-make; twist and conjure words is a constant delight. Having read the ad urging a company to 'monetise your followers', Brian tells us how he did so by painting them with waterlilies.

It's very well read - just how Brian should sound like. Brian (or Paul Millicheap or whoever he is) deserves his Twitter followers!





4 of 4 people found this review helpful