The great television critic Charlie Booker is giving up his Guardian column:
So why quit now? ....mostly because 11 years of essentially rewriting the phrase "X is an arsehole haw haw haw" over and over until you hit the 650-word limit is enough for anyone.
See, I was never a proper critic. In my head, a "proper critic" is an intellectually rigorous individual with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their specialist subject and an admirably nerdy compulsion to dissect, compare and analyse each fresh offering in the field – not in a bid to mindlessly entertain the reader, but to further humankind's collective understanding of the arts. True critics are witty rather than abusive, smart rather than smart-arsed, contemplative rather than extrovert. I, on the other hand, was chiefly interested in making the reader laugh.....
I was quite bafflingly angry. For instance, these days – to pick a random example – Jamie Cullum strikes me as a harmless, twinkly eyed, happy sort of chap. But back in 2004 the mere sight of him on an episode of Parkinson sent me into an apocalyptic tailspin.
"Cullum should be sealed inside a barrel and kicked into the ocean," I declared, before going on to label him "an oily, sickening worm-boy … if I ever have to see this gurning little maggot clicking into faux reverie mode again – rising from his seat to jazz-slap the top of his piano wearing a fake-groove expression on his piggish little face – if I have to witness that one more time I'm going to rise up and kill absolutely everybody in the world, starting with him and ending with me."
Shortly after that article appeared I read a short Me And My Spoon-type interview with Cullum in London's Metro newspaper in which he seemed cheerily bemused as to what he'd done to provoke such fury.