Dave Gorman vs The Rest Of The World – by Dave Gorman

11 02 2021

When I was putting together my Christmas list (I can hardly say “writing” my Christmas list when I was pulling links together!) I thought how there was only one Dave Gorman book I hadn’t read, and so it was about time I did!

It’s a very simple concept, one day Dave Gorman put a tweet out into the universe asking if anyone wanted to play a game (real life games, not video games). He got replies, and went to play games with those people! There’s a bit in the middle of the book where someone wants to work with him on this “project”, (he definitely has previous with “Googlewhack Adventure”, “Are you Dave Gorman”, and “America Unchained”) but he says no, it’s no project, just something he’s doing for fun in his time off…. He doesn’t explain how he got from there to publishing it in a book!

The games range from Ultimate Frisbee to an Egyptian laser chess game to Cluedo to a random Cornish skittles game. The book is just him talking about the experience, the places he went, the people he met, the games he played. And just with his eye for detail (enjoying the simplicity of Cribbage having 2 pegs for scoring so you never lose your place), and his gentle chatter, it’s a lovely book to read. He met some lovely people, and some complete weirdos (including people who play Monopoly with REAL money), both of which made for fun reading!

For most of the book he keeps a scoreboard of him vs the rest of the world, though it does seem to go missing for some of the middle of the book (And I’m not sure there was a final total)! And for the less common games he puts an explanation in a handy box so we know what’s going on. As a fan of structure, this was pretty pleasing.

As ever, some of my favourite quotes and observations from the book (the last one is the most beautiful):

  • “There’s something oddly energising about sparking a memory from nowhere like that. I don’t think it’s the memory itself that does it. I think it’s the excitement at discovering your brain is so much bigger than you realised.”
  • “At Stockport bus depot I stood and waited. There were maybe fifteen fellow travellers at the same bus stand, all eyeing each other up carefully. No queue had been formed but we’d all made a mental note of the order in which we’d arrived.”
  • “There’s an unhealthy part of my personality that tends to obsess and collect; that will take things to extremes. I can be a dog with a bone at times. But I didn’t want to let it happen again. Not with this. It wasn’t a treasure hunt. There wasn’t a prize for playing the most games in the shortest amount of time.”
  • “I feel naked if I’m not wearing a watch and yet, when I want to know the time, I sometimes find myself checking my phone first.”
  • “There are no referees in Ultimate. Ever. At any level. Messing around in the park? No ref. Playing a rival club? No ref. World Championship final? No ref. Players call their own fouls and have to settle their own disputes. If you’re going to play Ultimate, you just have to accept that paying the game fairly is more important than winning.”
  • “I would’nt describe Liskeard as a pretty place. It’s more prosaic than that. If you think of all the little villages around and about as gorgeous old vintage sports cars – high maintenance, impractical, but lovely for looking at – then Liskeard is the rusty but trusty family saloon. And while those vintage automobiles are all very well, when you want to do the shopping you know which car keys you pick up. (If you want to stick with this motoring analogy, it follows that Plymouth is, um … a transit van.”
  • “I have grown snobbish about the world world of ‘organised fun’. I suspect I’m not alone. Holiday camps? Karaoke? Guided coach trips? […] I instinctively recoil from such things but I don’t know why, because all empirical evidence suggests I’ll enjoy them.”
  • “When we throw our cynicism aside there’s so much more to enjoy.”





Found Poetry – by Dave Gorman

9 03 2019

I’m a huge Dave Gorman fan, the man is stupidly clever and also hilarious, and a complete geek – a superb combination! The YouTube video I send people most in this world, is below:

As part of his old radio shows, and then more recently as part of his “Modern Life is Goodish” (of which you can watch the most recent four seasons here), he shares Found Poems. He describes them as comments he’s found when searching “the bottom half of the internet”. Each one is themed around a news story, and he collates sentences from comments sections from different news websites, and the results are pure gold. Each one he reads out to the backing music of Handel’s Saranbade.

This collection was put together in 2012 so there are a few around the Royal Wedding, but the absolute best has to be the horse meat scandal – his performance of it is below, and if you enjoy it, just search “Dave Gorman Found Poem” on YouTube and you’ll find further examples!





Too Much Information – by Dave Gorman

8 05 2015

Or to give it its full title:

“Too Much Information …or can everyone just shut up for a moment, some of us are trying to think.” – by Dave Gorman

This book doesn’t follow a journey like America Unchained, Are You Dave Gorman, or Googlewhack Adventure, but instead takes all sorts of bits and pieces as bitesize chapters. There’s a lot of overlap with some of his stand up work, I’ve seen him live a couple of times and watched his show ‘Modern Life is Goodish‘ on Dave (the TV channel, not him!) and so some of it was familiar, and yet it was still just as funny to go through again!

This definitely covers some of the same material of the said TV show as the main gripe that he deals with in this book, is the fact that wherever we go these days we are bombarded with information everywhere. He shares anecdotes and geeky bits of information from all aspects of life. There’s a relatively hefty focus on social media and technology, which is to be expected, and advertising creeps in a lot as well.

One little detail which really lifts the book is that each time he references a story, a video, a website, or anything like that, he puts a little custom url in the footnotes so that you can type something nice and short into your web browser and find what he’s talking about!

Some of my favourite chapters would be:

  • If It Isn’t One of Your Greatest Hits Don’t Put It on a Greatest Hits Album
  • I Know They Make Make-Up But I Wonder How They Make Up the Things They Say Their Make-Up Can Do?
  • Why Do The Tweets You See in Smartphone Adverts Look Nothing Like the Tweets You See in Real Life?
  • If I Was a Shopkeeper and Someone Asked Me for a Badger Glove Puppet I Wouldn’t Come Back Offering Them a Book
  • Does Jesus Have an IMDb Page?
  • If the Third and Fourth Words of Your Advert Are Lies, What Are We Supposed to Think of the Rest of It?
  • Nobody Can Explain How They Know What a Trumpet Is. They Just Know
  • What Is the ‘Next Customer Please’ Sign Really a Sign of, Other Than Our Desire to Never Speak to One Another?
  • Kids Will Be Kids Will Be Spammers
  • Why Do the Phones In HTC’s Adverts All Show The Same Time?

I know that seems like a lot, but the book has 40 chapters, some only one page, some much longer – as I say, it’s relatively bitesize. A couple of them fit together, but if you really wanted it would probably work as a dip in and out book as well as a cover to cover read.

Hilarious, entertaining and insightful most definitely.

too much information