‘Shooting From The Lip’ by Katie Puckrik: The Word From The Word
I want to find out how old, decrepit, pop-culture obsessed, shallow and possessed of a high tolerance for crap telly you are. How exactly do I propose to find that out? Why, by asking you what springs to mind when I mention a fondly (?) remembered music and celeb show called ‘The Word’. Come on. Don’t pretend. You know what I’m talking about.
The Word was notorious. It was not exactly a late night review of the finest and highest culture the nation had to offer, let me tactfully put it like that. There were some high spots, admittedly: fine career highlights with performances from bands like Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. There were also regular events such as that which posed the question of how far you’d go in order to be famous, including snogging a denture-free granny.
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Of course, in a way, it seems terribly innocent now. What appeared to be freakishly carcrash TV for gawkers and gawpers, now seems positively mild in light of the shameless celeb-obsessed culture it paved the way for. Funny and enlightening moments were also almost inevitable along the way, including presenter Mark Lamarr’s unscripted confrontation and bit of argy-bargy with an unrepentantly homophobic rapper.
Amongst the roster of other presenters, the likes of Paula Yates, Amanda DeCadenet and Tony Christian, was occasionally included cute American newcomer Katie Puckrik. Puckrik seemed initially to specialise in the whole ‘quirky ironic chick’ thing, and the pieces she presented seemed chosen appropriately. But her memoir ‘Shooting From The Hip’, covering periods of her life dating from childhood to post-‘Word’experiences, both confirmed and turned upside down such assumptions.
Certainly the book is written in a somewhat snarky style that doesn’t seem to contradict her public image too radically. However this gradually gives way to more emotional openness, sometimes to a startling degree. A significant relationship is eventually revealed as certainly troubled if not actually abusive. This comes as a surprise, almost a shock reveal: if not an unreliable narrator of her own life, Puckrik is certainly a highly selective discloser of her secrets.
Will this book repay picking up off the bookshop or library shelves? Certainly if you have a weakness for a certain kind of memoir – emotional, troubled, witty and frank –then it’s likely to be just your cup of tea. Plus the writing style is pleasingly graceful and literate. But mostly, just read and marvel: an ex-presenter of The Word is capable of manipulating the English language and a word processing program such that she has produced a book!