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Nathan Barley is a fictional character from the crazy satirist Charlie Brooker. Barley features in the spoof TV listings guide, "TV Go Home" (www.tvgohome.com), which lists programs that could easily be real, but aren't. He appears in a fly-on-the-wall reality program, tracing his life and called "Cunt".

Barley is initially described in the May 14, 1999 edition as a "twenty-something wannabie director". But this barely scratches the surface of the complex character.

Simply put, he is the personification of annoyance. He enjoys limitless financial support from his parents, has no real job, yet lives the life of expensive gadget-supported luxury. He's the first one to jump on any trends, like those fold-away scooters, or speed garage. He is the too-loud guy on the tiny cell-phone. He is the guy drinking Metz, wearing massive flared combats and talking cluelessly about football. He is everything Brooker loathes; his spite brings the character to life. I recommend reading a few "TV Go Home" to get more of an idea.

The site is required reading for several groups, especially for those whose own lives are too close to Barley's for comfort, and those who live and work around them. The Guardian has run articles about the search for the real Nathan Barley, and the term "barley" has become insult of choice among those who live in denial of their own barley-nature. The term "Nathanesque" has also appeared lately.


Update 10/12/02: The TV Go Home site is now updated less frequently, and Brooker now writes a caustic weekly TV column in a real newspaper. So Barley's adventures are fewer and further between. You can now read them all at http://www.thegestalt.org/simon/cunt/.

Update 28/1/05: I've just started noticing tiny, near-subliminal blip-verts with the words "Nathan Barley" in-between programmes on Channel 4. Something is up.

Update 30/1/05: There is a website for this new TV series, featuring trailers, images from Barley's magazine rack, and misc. hoopla. http://www.trashbat.co.ck/