‘There's probably no God ... but I wish there was. I've got some things I need to ask him.' Based on Marcus Brigstocke's award-winning Edinburgh and West End show, God Collar focuses on the ‘God-shaped hole’ that opens up in Marcus’s life following the death of his best friend. Exploring his own issues surrounding faith – his lack of it, his need for it, some people's waste of it and what good purposes it might serve if he could get hold of it – he rails against the holy trinity of Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) while atheists, agnostics and believers of all faiths get it in the neck too. God Collar is a scathing look at modern faith that will leave you laughing out loud and examining your own beliefs in equal measure. ‘As luck would have it, my relationship with God is as dysfunctional and peppered with resentment and recrimination as ever, so this should make for good writing.'
©2011 Marcus Brigstocke (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks
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"Sorry but I don't do 'Laugh out loud'"
Not until now anyway.
What a genuinely funny book - beautifully told and deliciously mischevous! And you can write that on the side of a bus so it must also be true...
For anybody who is fed up with being told what to believe by the Christians, Muslims & particularly the sanctimonious Atheists this is the book for you. As a none believer who has always been prepared to listen to others points of view, but has been frustrated by their pious response when dealing with an opinion that differs from theirs this is a breath of fresh air.
"Entertaining and Thought-Provoking"
It isn't hard to hand out plaudits to a book which so closely reflects one's own views, but Marcus Brigstocke's God Collar hits all the right buttons and had me muttering "Exactly" and "Too true" on many occasions. True, Brigstocke's book is often a semi-comedic rant, which on occasions can deflect the full force of his argument in favour of a quick laugh here and there; and his posturing about everything from i-Phones to MacDonalds can be taken with a pinch of salt and really doesn't assist or detract from his main point of being a "lapsed atheist". But overall a fine listen, hilarious at times (don't listen to the section on his safari and the lions in a public place), but I couldn't help but think that if had been written by a Professor of Humanities it would be regarded as a classic like The God Delusion. It just wouldn't be as funny.
"The tyranny of the 8 hour book format"
It is extremely difficult to be witty and clever for 8 hours, so comedians have to 'fill' with silliness and crudity. I understand that, but 6 hours would have meant Marcus could have cut out much of the stuff that (he knows) isn't really funny. Marcus is an atheist, and I imagine most of his audience are atheists, so mocking the God of the bible as if you and he can talk, quickly becomes silliness. However, there is wit, and there are some ideas - I appreciated the analogy between atheism and teetotalism (or alcohol and God). The atheist in the pub mocking the 'Beer Delusion.' Yes, Marcus, you've captured a point there that Richard Dawkins just can't reach.
"Thoroughly enjoyable listen"
As a fan of Mr Brigstocke's comedy style and someone fascinated with the topic of belief, I expected this would be an enjoyable listen and I was not disappointed. Brutally honest, deeply thoughtful and most importantly genuinely funny, this is a fascinating journey through one man's struggle with both his atheism and the tenets of traditional religion. With lovely personal touches and an open 'no holds barred' approach I found the whole thing incredible engaging. No doubt helped by Brigstocke's superb narration and skills with well-formed arguments (as demonstrated to his fans through years of 'Now Show' rants and 'Argumental') this book is imbued with a real honest charm.There are odd arguments that seem over-repeated or dwelled upon but overall I would not hesitate to call this a 'must listen' audiobook.
"Funny, well read and insightful"
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book going into it, I purchased it mainly on the fact I had found Marcus very funny on Radio 4 many times and I was not disappointed. This is a funny, well read and insightful peace into someones (Marcus's) search for "god". He is sincere in his search and it explains clearly why he finds it impossible to believe in any of the Abrahamic religions. It was any interesting listen and well worth the time. I would highly recommend it for all, believers, non-believers and the unsure. There are no answers here and he makes that clear, but it challenges tradition and is funny at the same time.
A really great book on religion. The book doesn’t set out to tell you want to think, he just talks about many of the truths of religion and lots of the things deeply religious people try and hide or ignore. All this with an angle of "I’d like to believe but what about this". If this book massively offends you then to be honest you’ve probably got your head in the sand. To everyone else it is a really well written book with lots of humour that you can agree or disagree with. Even better, it’s ready by Marcus himself.
"To much of a good thing"
I really like Marcus Brigstocke and generally enjoyed his comedy. But the book suffers a little from too much of a good thing, much of the criticism levelled at The God Delusion could be directed at the God Collar.
Maybe because he wrote and read the book it sometimes felt like a pointy fingered lecture, which I don't think was intention. But the writing is good and he had me in stitches numerous times, if you like Marcus Brigstocke and his comedy you will enjoy this book.
"Funny but Open Minded"
I don't usually bother with these kinds of books. Comedians are rarely as funny in print as they are in person and even more rarely have anything interesting to say. I am glad I made an exception for this though as Marcus Brigstocke manages to write a book that is funny but also honest and has something to say.
Clearly, if you are looking for a deep work of theological discussion then looking to a middle aged, mid level comedian is not a wise course of action so this was never going to be a book to change my world but it did provoke more thought than I expected and caused me to challenge some of my own anti-religious prejudices.
I guess I expected the book to be a funny tirade against the absurdity and hypocrisy of organised religion but that is not at all what Brigstocke has written. He seems to be perfectly genuine is wishing to find a way to accommodate religion in his life and melancholy at his own inability to truly believe. This leads to an open and fair appraisal of what religions offers, albeit with a sense of the absurdity of much that it presents, which is only occasionally punctured by the kind of humorous rants I would have expected. This only serves to give more credence to those few rants - especially his indignation at the way the story of Noah is present to his daughter at school.
In summary, this is a lightweight but fun and somewhat thought provoking listen in the company of a likable and honest writer/narrator.
"Waiting for God ..."
As a well-off white fella in a well-developed Western country, with a successful career that involves no heavy-lifting or monotonous repetition, and family and friends who love and support him as he reads the dailies while thinking and writing things down, Marcus Brigstocke is a prime example of that lucky class of people (to which I also belong) that have been blessed by the gods to not need them. In this eloquent, sincere and very funny book, Marcus goes searching for them anyway: he might not need them, but he wants them.
Though I enjoyed this book, I think I was hoping for something a bit more substantial from Marcus. The main problem - for me, anyway - is that he doesn’t actually do anything. Nevermind going to live with lepers, or holding the hands of the dying, or facing some personal privations, he doesn’t even leave his study: the exercise is mostly intellectual (aside from when he discusses his best friend and his children). A lot of reading went into the writing of this book, and like the wizard said: reading is a great way to avoid actually living. The book could have done with more soul-searching and less ranting, a few less conversations and a lot more actions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the audiobook - his narration is spot on - and would recommend if you fancy an argument about religion but don’t have any drunken mates handy.
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