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
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
column in a real newspaper. So Barley's adventures are fewer and further between. You can now read them all at
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.
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/