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Dave Allen: The Biography Hardcover – 13 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition, First Printing edition (13 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752873725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752873725
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A born and bred Londoner, happily settled in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk. I love music. Since I was 6 , when I started to learn the piano, this love has stayed with me.
At 3.a.m. when you just have to write, then music is the key. Along with a large ginger cat, a 12 year old Maine Coone, who allows me to use my computer, the desk, the house.You know.
So now I try to look knowledgeable when people talk about horses, the sales (more horses) and the country surrounding us.
But my background is in theatre. I started in opera as a lowly Assistant Stage Manager. What a dream. Serenaded at 10.30 each morning by world class singers 8 years later I diverted to straight theatre, and worked with Peter O'Toole, Alan Bates, Janet Suzman, and a long list of amazing people. In 1981 I was given the chance to Stage Manage the Rudolf Nureyev seasons. It was a roller coaster of 5 years of ballet with Rudi. Dave Allen was a completely unexpected opportunity. This followed two tours with Peter O'Toole. I was star struck. I don't believe that any of us old theatre folk lose the ability to feel very nervous in front of a dressing room door containing one of our heroes.
I am very proud to have an event for the National Trust on my resume. It aaas for their centenary at West Wycombe, and it was, "The Battle of Trafalgar". I wrote and directed this, and felt very proud that I was the first person to be commissioned to create an event for them. This was 1995. More events followed, then in 2004 either I had had enough of events or they of me, and writing called. I have bee lucky enough to attend the Edinburgh International Literature Festival and a book signing in Cannes, France, and many others.
I have written two biographies. My motivation Mr de Mille? I knew them, worked with them, and though not by any means an academic Biographer, I knew I had a lot of insight to offer. Maybe the next one will be backstage tales, and there are a few of them. Hollywood starlets who cannot cope with 150 year old London dressing rooms, to wannabees who can't go on because their nail polish wasn't dry. I wonder how many volumes?
But my work in progress has to come next. It is my biography on Peter O'Toole, 'Hell Raiser'.
I am about to start Donna Tarts' Goldfinch,' and I can't wait.
So love of reading has to come next, or equally. How can you write without reading?



Product Description

Review

'A warm-hearted tribute to a man whose individual success helped to revolutionise all British comedy' (GLASGOW HERALD )

About the Author

Carolyn Soutar was the tour manager for Dave Allen and has worked in most sections of the entertainments industry. She lectures at Birkbeck College and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Her last book was a biography of Nureyev.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Tyler on 28 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
Even if the author doesn't know when to use 'Dave and I' and when to use 'Dave and me' her editor should.

Apart from that the book was simply a collection of other people's anecdotes strung together with a few joining words. It wasn't really 'a' biography' let alone 'the' biography.

What's the story about his mother? Either it is possible to find out when she died, with a little bit of effort, or there is a mystery there that needed exploring.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mb Sherman on 3 Nov 2005
Format: Hardcover
Anyone concerned that this book has appeared rather too soon after Dave Allen`s death need not worry. It`s clear that Carolyn Soutar, and Dave Allen`s many friends, were anxious to pay tribute to this truly lovely man and make sure his memory is kept alive.
Carolyn Soutar worked as Dave Allen`s stage manager on his 1988 British tour. She makes it sound like the best job in the world, and her first-hand description of this amazingly unglitzy tour is, for me, the best part of the book. Allen toured the country with just "a girl and a car". Soutar was the girl. Completely unshowbizzy, Allen took her for Chinese meals after most of the shows, and always insisted on paying. Her main challenge seemed to be dealing with his dry-cleaning obsession - well, I guess all famous people have to have their "thing".
Dave Allen made up so many stories about his life that I wonder if even he knew what was true and what was not. However, a few events that have been presented as facts are over-turned here - apparently, he didn`t have an affair with Eartha Kitt, after all!
This is such a warm and endearing portrait that it makes the ending even sadder - especially since the actual cause of death was not published in any paper I saw. So be warned - you will cry. Maybe even sadder than that is the thought that this great man is likely to be forgotten. He didn`t allow his shows to be repeated while he was alive, and, it seems, this is likely to continue after his death. To be fair to the BBC, I guess this is why they have not produced a tribute to him. Reading extracts from his act makes you realise just how fantastic, intelligent and daring he was. Thank you to Carolyn Soutar for bringing that to everyone`s attention.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Richard Berridge on 24 Nov 2005
Format: Hardcover
Soutar's work suffers from, for a biographer, fatal flaws: Very few actual facts, and nothing revelatory or incisive.
It's a genial enough piece of work but far too general. This can only be expected: Soutar worked with Allen for a comparatively short period (One short tour) and his family declined to contribute. (they felt it far too early for such a book).
The result is a reworking of what is already known and "stab in the dark" inaccuracies. (Her story of how he died is very touching but completely innaccurate)
Soutar is unable to bring her subject to life. But who could be surprised: relying upon distant memories of a brief association.
Allen was an intensley private man and Soutar, without any authorised substance, fails to offer anything more than is already in the public domain.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan on 29 Mar 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book was written by one of his tour managers so you know that it is written by someone who actually knew him. Thank you Carolyn for writing this book.

Dave Allen was a true comic genius who brought smiles and laughs to millions of people for over thirty years.

Many thanks!
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By Steve on 20 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nicely written bio / memoir of a very funny & sorely missed comic. I recommend to all Dave Allen fans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very insightful book...actually a rather sad personality good read though. it is a pity it was not an autobiography, but then, after reading the book, quite understandable
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By flaevious on 21 Mar 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not even started it yet but it looks very interesting - I keep 'dipping in ' Just trying to sort myself out and once my head is in it I am sure it will not come out in a hurry - Thank you
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By Immortal Beloved on 25 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dave Allen was an absolute legend and I'm making my way through the books and DVD's. This man was timeless and I found the book really interesting.
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