It’s fair to say that not many buyers of 1,000 UK Number Ones will be as eager as I was, with my not-entirely casual interest. Obviously, I was a little worried: not that I’m seriously planning a book or anything, but a literate, knowledgeable, well-edited and critically acute book on the #1s would dampen my enthusiasm a little. Or would it? Part of the fun of doing Popular is watching a little community build up in the comments box, after all – a lot of the time I feel I’m just lighting the touch paper.

Anyway, crisis averted: Kutner and Leigh take a very different approach. Their book is exhaustively researched and scrupulous in its near-total avoidance of any critical position. I’m not actually sure all the research is right – they point out that “Ignition” and “Ignition (Remix)” are two separate songs and then quote the former’s lyrics – but most entries have a few handy factoids*. I’m impressed by the size of the book – the temptation to write a big old chunk on Bo Rhap and half a paragraph per Westlife hit must be high for this breed of rock journo.

Taken a pinch at a time this is informative (the producer credits are very useful, too) but approached in chunks even my eyes glazed. There is almost no attempt to describe any given song – the dread phrase “upbeat number” recurs – and the writers mix a “just the facts” approach with an jolly style that verges on the Alan Partridge. The need to fill three paragraphs per song means the book is occasionally quirkier than perhaps intended – the Baz Luhrmann entry opens with a history of sunblock.

A couple of times the critical mask slips, notably when discussing the failure of “Vienna” to get to number one, seemingly the pop crime of the century. A savage review of poor old Joe Dolce is followed by vindication and another twist of the knife as Midge hits the top at last. Flicking through the 00s section I caught the wistful authors discussing an unreleased Robbie Williams track which could have been “another Vienna”. Diligent reading may unearth more sightings of this bugbear: I will keep you informed.

(*The single best fact I have found so far is the Labour Party’s decision, with “The Land Of Make Believe” at #1, to issue badges saying “The Tories’ record is worse than Bucks Fizz”.)