Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chart Throb by Ben Elton - a review by HM

I love Ben Elton books. I love everything he's done. In fact I have a tattered old page from a Rolling Stong magazine with his photo in a crap $2 shop pine frame with ticket stubs from the one time I saw him live somewhere in this room.

Chart Throb is no exception to the goodness he produces.

Elton likes to look at popular culture. Since he's part of it I guess. He's done a book on Big Brother, one on the power of the web, and now one on Idol. Sure - it's not Idol as such but it may as well be. About a comp called Chart Throb of a similiar vein to Idol as we know it.

It's a dramedy. Lots of funny bits, lots of laugh out moments, but most of all it peels back the vinyl that is Idol and shows it for the completely engineered evil show it is.

TheWife loves Idol. Loves it. But she knows its fiction. And like my brother said it's Australia's leading karaoke contest. Except of course it's rigged to present a limited array of possible outcomes.

If the people in Idol are as evil, manipulative, and foul as the ones in Chart Throb I feel bad for them.

As ever - an excellent book. Well worth it if you love Elton and his stuff.

Basically it follows one season of Chart Throb, how they vet the contestants, the tricks, the edits, the storylines they craft, and the joy the producers take in destroying the lives of others.

If you hate reality TV, you'll love this book. If you love reality TV, you should read this book.

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