Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Gin O’Clock: @Queen_UK, 4—7 June, 2012.
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Spawned from the Twitter feed of @Queen_UK, Gin O’Clock is an imagining of Her Majesty The Queen’s diaries for December 2010—November 2011 and covers off many of the real-life events through her eyes.
The book draws on many of the existing caricatures of the Royal Family and prominent politicians in the UK and abroad. Nothing very original, but at least it’s easy for the reader to recognise the relevant figures and the characteristics. There’s a number of running gags that become quite funny in their own right, deployed just frequently enough without becoming tiresome.
The mood and spirit of Britain in 2011 is captured well, and there is a great mix of coverage. Notable events including the Arab Spring, the Royal Wedding, the ongoing recession and the phone hacking scandal are effortlessly placed alongside minor political wrangling, the Coronation Street tram crash and Richard Madeley’s stint on Radio 2. It captures incidentals that would otherwise have been forgotten. Some of the funniest material comes from Cheryl Cole’s X Factor US stint and Prince Harry’s fixation with Pippa Middleton’s bottom.
The writing is sharp and witty, though towards the latter part there are huge chunks of months with no entries and my biggest criticism is that the author (tweeter?) seems to have run out of steam. He or she rushes the end by giving oneself the rest of the month off and generally putting in less effort which is a shame. A little more time and care could have ended the book as strongly as it began.
Gin O’Clock is an amusing romp through the year that maintains a smile throughout with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments that take you by surprise. Although many famous figures are lampooned, the humour is never cruel or nasty, but rather an affectionate celebration of British eccentricity. In all, it’s a great giggle and tribute to the Queen with enough laughter and respect befitting of a Diamond Jubilee celebration.