Caitlin Moran’s bestselling How to be a Woman careered with reckless frivolity from the personal (eldest of eight, home-schooled in a council house in Wolverhampton) to the political (better pornography, larger pants, more body hair). Her latest effort, Moranthology (Ebury Press, £18.99) casts a retrospective glow of gravity over its predecessor. That was a manifesto of sorts; this is proper-job knockabout.
Moran, who writes three columns a week for The Times, gives us a mish-mash of interviews, ‘celebrity watches’ and other ephemera from the past 20 years. Her skill as an interviewer lies not in the killer question but in the way she conveys being there and messing it up. She is gleeful and rueful and on the money: Eddie Izzard has ‘eyes like guns’; Keith Richards’s laugh is like ‘a crow stuck in a chimney’.
She is also a guide to the new media, concocting articles out of twitter feeds and the reactions they elicit: she gets the most hits for banging on about her signature bangs and freakish silver-streak fringe. The unseriousness, perhaps, is in the eye of the beholder.
Moran herself is made of better stuff. She captures the way the media circus addles the nation’s brains, quoting one commentator offering up the royal wedding as ‘an opportunity for optimism about the future’ in the face of ‘DISASTER and DEATH all around the world’ while another announces that the marriage is about to be ‘consummated’ at Westminster Abbey, ‘an event inexplicably left out of The Times’ souvenir 14-page order of service.’
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 13 October 2012