Welcome to a riot of jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring distractions…

As soon as I first opened up the pages of I An Distracted By Everything, I knew I wanted to read this annual. It is unlike anything I’d ever seen; each page is packed with interesting things that all rightly clamour for attention.

In Liza Tarbuck’s own words, it “isn’t an autobiography in the traditional sense”, but it is evidently a very personal collection of some of her favourite experiences, objects and recollections. Among the huge variety of curiosities that the book has to offer, there are:

  • Humorous anecdotes
  • Visual puzzles
  • Poems
  • Scientific articles
  • Images of interesting personages
  • Activities
  • Funny diagrams and cartoons
  • Thought-provoking stories and phrases
  • Cool objects

It truly gives a flavour of her life, and of her mischievous wit. I laughed at many of the inclusions in the book, especially at the swapping of image captions (you’ll have to read it to find out!). But although it is packed, simply packed, with moments of hilarity, there are also moments of extreme poignancy; there are several poems and stories that invoked a sense of depth within me, where I had to take a moment to think about certain words. My favourite phrase was “you are a child of the earth too”. It helped me out when I wasn’t feeling great.

Best of all, Tarbuck includes annotated playlists that she might play during her job as a radio presenter. I hadn’t realised just how much care goes into every song that plays on the radio; each one on a playlist is designed to complement the one that goes before and after it. I think it’s a pretty demanding job, having to reason what would appeal to multiple music tastes, genders and generations.

Speaking of generations, it can’t be argued that this book only appeals to certain age groups; I showed it to my nan, my mum and my friends at school, and all of them loved it…although for different reasons, of course. My friends liked the humour so much that they asked me to bring it in the next day as well. My mum liked the screen icons!

If I were to have one small criticism, it might be that there is so much stuff on each page that it is really hard to focus on any one thing. But that’s the point: I An Distracted By Everything is a celebration of being distracted; it rejoices in the worthwhileness of everything that takes you away from something else because, inevitably, it must be worthwhile to distract you.

The message I take away from I An Distracted By Everything is that it is okay to become distracted once in a while by cool things, because they are cool and should be given attention. And I think that’s a pretty good message.

I An Distracted By Everything with Liza Tarbuck 11:00-12:00 Sun 29 April, Theatre