I’ve just finished reading my friend John Osborne’s first book, Radio Head. It’s the story of how he decided to listen to a different radio station every day, in a last ditch attempt to inject some variety into his boring data entry temp job. He ends up guiding you through an entertaining, uplifting state of the nation piece that rates as the best book I’ve read so far this year.
I realise I’m biased, so by all means discount my praise, but I really enjoyed it from start to finish. John has a real talent for zeroing in on funny, tender details. Over the course of the book, he builds up a really positive, patriotic picture of a diverse and modern Britain. Radio Head‘s subtitle could easily be: How To Love Your Country Without Being A Cunt. But then I think he might be embarrassed to show his mum.
I don’t want to start listening all the brilliant anecdotes and suprising incidents, because part of the pleasure is discovering them with John as he embarks on his modest odyssey. But watching how the different stations influence his mood and change his day is really satisfying and creates a forward momentum that somehow makes it both gently entertaining and a real page-turner – Fever Pitch for radio buffs.
So yes. I strongly recommend, basically. Each time I read it, it made me feel happier and more optimistic. I should really interview John for the performance poets section. I’ll get on to that. In the meantime – check out Radio Head! There’s a reason why it’s been picked for Radio 4’s Book of the Week!