MiSC/READING: Is It Just Me? Miranda

Is this even a good idea?

As I lurch from one disaster to another (quite possibly – to be honest I’m past knowing or even caring – largely self-inflicted), I’ve opted to pick up and read this.

Another book recently purchased in a church for 20p, or thereabouts. And one I was actually on the point of taking to a charity shop, unread, as part of our ever ongoing de-cluttering.

The Next Day…

It’s been raining more or less continuously for the last 48 hours. We have a soggy moggy just arrived in our bedroom. Bless him!

Well, I’m kind of glad I chose to read this Miranda book. I do prefer her on’t tellybox. Her persona in writing is essentially a literary version of her onscreen self. All clumsy and ex-public schoolgirly.

But her candour and humour are charming and amusing. And whilst I don’t share all of her ‘Is It Just Me?’ stuff type experiences, I do – as I’m sure a great many of us do – identify with a great deal of her experiences.

Who hasn’t had a number of mortifying moments over the course of their lives? Surely most folk’s lives are – if we only knew – messier and more troubled than a first glance might suggest?

But with things like her height – she’s the same height as me, 6’1” – she’s built an adult identity, indeed, an entire career, out of playing the klutz. A dangerous game, perhaps?

Anyway, whilst I generally avoid books of this sort – by which I mean apparently lighter than a soufflé – esp’ if loaded to the gunwhales (as this is) with contemporary pop culture references, I’m glad I made an exception for Miranda.

I’m a fan of comedy. I mean, either you laugh or cry at the tragicomedy that is life. I’ve done more than my share of crying. I’d far rather laugh, if I get to choose.

And Miranda can and does make me laugh. Sometimes it’s just a wry smile, at others it’s a proper full on belly laugh.

The latter sounds like a euphemism for farting. And, to her great credit, whilst simultaneously admitting to a very English difficulty with all things bodily, she frequently visits this most comedic of bodily functions.

I remember attending a meditation group in Brixton, some decades back, where a hirsute hippy dude let off a pleasingly sonorous but appallingly eggy guff. I was one of the few who couldn’t help but laugh. So Miranda’s recollections of po-faced yoga classes where the ‘fart-police’ ban mirth has a sulphurous resonance for me.

And whilst I’ve not had a pigeon mistake me for a lamp post, I did have one defecate directly into my as yet untasted pint of beer, just as I hoisted it mouthwards, sitting outside a pub in Soho, many moons ago.

The pesky pigeon bum-bombed my beverage with what might’ve been a pleasing plop, to an avian dam-buster. ‘Bomber’ Harris would’ve killed for that pigeon’s pin-point accuracy.

I was, of course, mortified, and very pissed off. And I have countless other experiences not dissimilar to many of Miranda’s. So it really isn’t just her. As I guess she full well knows.

At present, after just one days’ reading, I’m about 60% through the book. If I/you weren’t doing anything else (I had a shift of work and numerous household chores to contend with), it could be comfortably read in just one day.

She’s written ‘what I call’* ‘Miss Book’, in part, as a conversation with her 18 year old self. She’s also made it 18 chapters, allegedly one for each year of her younger self. Each is themed on one of life’s vexing challenges. Ranging across such issues as Hobbies, Beauty, Office Life, Technology, and so on.

* Viewers of her TV show will recognise not just her catchphrases, but her entire persona.

All told, whilst not blown away by Is It Just Me? I am glad I did at least choose to read it, before moving it on. Teresa and I have been ‘in the wars’ recently, in our differing ways. And some light-hearted laughter – perhaps esp’ when it touches upon potentially awful/personally distressing stuff, as this does – is most welcome.


Ok, so I just finished this book. Much Miranda is already known to us, via her TV shows, etc. But there are some new things I’ve learned about her, reading this. Some that I love, and a few that make me feel I might have less in common with her than I originally thought.

I guess the main thing I have in common with her (apart from close to identical height), is typical human foolishness, or klutziness. And traits associated with how that plays out in adult life.

Areas where we diverge include the fact that I’m an artsy-fartsy muso type, of sorts, and whereas she seems proud to be a little dumb, and is happily and unashamedly into ‘pop culture’, I’m keen on trying to be clever, and pretty cranky about the banality of popular mainstream culture.

Her book is a quick, fun, easy read. I much preferred it to a book I once read (Born Lippy, was it?) by Jo Brand. Both are female comedians whose paths through life have been greatly affected by their physical and related aspects.

Both books are written to come across like the TV personae we know and (for me, with Miranda) love. Neither is to my normal tastes. But of the two, Miranda’s Venn circle overlaps that bit more with mine than Brand’s.

Unlike many books I’ve read and reviewed over the years, esp’ those I’ve really enjoyed, I’m hesitant about recommending this. It’s hardly a classic. And it’s not going to teach you anything you didn’t already know, or haven’t already heard elsewhere.

But, at the end of the day, if, like me, you enjoy Miranda on the tellybox, you’ll probably also enjoy her in book form. Of the two, I think TV is better suited to her whole style.

Alan Partridge would be an example of a TV comedy character that, for me, whilst still best enjoyed on TV (or now in podcast form, as well), transitions better into the written word.

Anyway, there you go. I picked it up cheap. Eventually read it. Quite enjoyed it. And now I’m moving it on.

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