James Marriott Has a Finger on the Pulse of the Ridiculous, Amusing Britain so Many Know and Love.
Posted on 31st January 2023 at 21:05
By Sebastian Grace
James Marriott is The Times's deputy books editor. He also writes leaders, opinion columns and features.
Marriott is The Times's self-proclaimed "book reader in chief" (he recently devoured Prince Harry's 400-page dense in every way "Spare" in 3 hours) but has hung out with druids, dressed as a hipster and had to be talked out of trying Botox in the name of journalism in his transition from respected reviewer to a voraciously read commentator.
True to form, Marriott described his break at the paper where he now seems destined for a long and esteemed career in a recent piece: "With what now strikes me as massive naivety, my cunning master plan for getting into the media constituted writing book reviews in small magazines and hoping somebody would see one of them. It was all going very badly until I got an email from the books editor of The Times. He actually had seen one of my reviews. Did I fancy writing the odd thing for him? To put it mildly, I did. One book review led to another and then miraculously into a job. I turned up a day early beside myself with delirious excitement and reorganized the books cupboard so energetically I almost fainted with exertion."
I first learned about Marriott when I discovered his weekly participation on the Red Box Politics Podcast, where his amusing, man-on-the-street perspective enhanced the sometimes dry discussion of the latest political events and agenda often debilitated by insider opinions of establishment hacks.
With his “by-now demented lust for bylines," Marriott regularly contributes to the paper's multi-avenue content approach, reviewing podcasts, TV shows and films, critiquing grown-up friends in his fresh-faced-in-a-big-city style and weaving hilarious and self-deprecating tales on the news and cultural flashpoints of the week.
In his latest column, "AI spells trouble for creatives – about time too" (The Times, 25 Jan.), Marriott comments tongue-in-cheek about the rise of AI and the ability of its programs to create to the same degree as humans, suggesting we all have an “exaggerated reverence for the creative impulse,” before detailing that a reduction in the respect we all share towards people with said impulse would benefit us all: “AI should disillusion us of the spurious glamor of creativity. It will be good for those who have suffered the social condescension of ‘creatives.’ It may even be good for a country whose creative class has long assumed an undue authority and delivered us catastrophic experiments in government by arts graduates.”
Marriott’s content is unfortunately regularly available only behind a paywall, and his Twitter often acts solely as a vehicle to remind interested followers of the latest piece. However, he is worth following, if only to keep abreast of the silliness that regularly appears integral to an exceptionally bizarre, idiosyncratic and easy-to-satirize country.
Share this post: