some old bullshit

An Open Letter to Charlie Brooker

Private and Confidential


Dear Charlie

First off I want to apologize for any distress or discomfort I have caused you over the last couple of years. I won’t make excuses but my dead father was a dick. Also my wife has a brain tumour. These are not your concerns so it pains me when I think of my behaviour. Strangely, and this whole episode has given be pause for thought, my father was a vexatious litigant who would sue people for no real reason. He would always lose. I recall saying to him, “be nice, try that out, people respond well when you’re nice and by the way have you lost weight? Can you lend me some money?” My advice fell on deaf ears and he continued to sue and to lose and then he died. He had wasted his life. I see now, that I have become my father. Instead of being nice to people to get what I wanted I’ve behaved like a dick and got what I deserve.

When I first started writing about you it was just for fun and with the hope you would retweet it and then I would get famous without having to do the grunt work that you and other famous celebrities have done. A short-cut. Why did I think I was worth such a short-cut? I have a narcissistic personality disorder, something I’ve wrestled with all my life because I also believe if you can’t love yourself then how can you love other people. I didn’t actually think the stuff about you would be so popular. And I got swept up in it. I enjoyed the praise and I stopped caring if what I was writing was hurtful.

It’s no excuse but I would like to point out that in all my writing about you I was at pains to try make me the butt of the joke, and not you, but still, I most certainly crossed some lines when joking about your career and worse than that, your family. So please forgive me for this. If I could turn back time I would. I realize I said I wasn’t going to make excuses and yet that’s what I have done! But I just want you to know that I am truly sorry and I will immediately stopĀ from doing any more writing about you or anybody close to you.

“Well that’s jolly big of you to say,” said Charlie Brooker, removing his GucciĀ reading glasses that he doesn’t wear on TV. I think they make him look even better, if I’m honest. They add gravitas.

“No hard feelings?” I feared he’d simply tear the letter up and shake his head.

“Of course not. Look, I enjoyed reading all of it. Especially the one where we got Gelato. Honestly, I thought it was great but there were some parts wh-“

“Like when you wanked me off?” I asked. That was just a stupid throw-away thought I’d written. I’d known it was a mistake but I couldn’t help myself.

“Yes! Wanking you off in a cinema! How can I retweet something where I wank you off?” Charlie looked pleadingly into my eyes. “Also you got my name wrong. It’s never Charles.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No! It’s Charlton! You tweet me 10 times a day. You didn’t see it?”

“Charlton? Is that even a name?”

“It’s my name!”

“Oh, I thought it was just a funny twitter handle.”



“And the stuff you wrote about Konnie. That was… that was out of order.”

“But Charlie, this is- Don’t you see, the joke was on me! I was pretending to be in love with you and jealous of her! It was a joke! As if you’d pick me over her!” I laughed nervously as I watched his reaction to that. No reaction. Shit.

“Joke or not, it’s not nice to see that stuff written down.”

“I’ve said I’m sorry, haven’t I? And it’s heartfelt. Honest.”

Charlie Brooker looked into my eyes and I held his gaze. “I know,” he said. And he did know, I saw it.

“I’d never do anything to hurt you.”

“No, I know that. I do, it’s just. I get… fucking bombarded with shit and requests and you try to be a good guy but it crushes you in the end. Now you’ve explained the stuff about me I get it but when it’s just mixed in with the noise…”

“I hear you, and I’m telling you, when I’m famous I’m going to tell everybody to go fuck themselves. Everybody.”

“It’s a nice thought,” he chuckled, “but you can’t. It’s a career, mate. It’s like spinning plates. You’ve just got to keep on keeping on.”

“Okay. Anyway, that’s down the road for me. But you’ve read letter and we’re cool now?”

“Of course,” said Charlie Brooker looking briefly at the letter before folding it.

“Where is Konnie, by the way.”

“I don’t know,” he snorted and then looked up, looked around and shook his head.

“It’ll be okay, Charlie.”

“So will you…”

“What, ask me. Anything.”

“Will you wank me off?” He pursed his lips and looked on the verge of tears.

“No Charlie, I won’t. I’m actually fiercely homophobic.”

“Ha, yeah, me too. I was just joking.” He looked at his hands.

“You can wank me off, though.” Charlie Brooker looked up at me, suspicion and hope etched in his eyebrows.

“For realsies?”

“For realsies.”

Yours sincerely

Jamie P Barker