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If I Don't Write It Nobody Else Will Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Length: 539 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

'Eric Sykes, now 82, is a splendid survivor. Recently the subject of a charming South Bank Show, the indefatigable Lancastrian is still working, with blithe disregard for his deafness, blindness and heart bypass operation. Characteristically, Sykes ends this engagingly artless autobiography with the news that he has been cast as Frank Bryce in the latest Harry Potter film. The tone throughout is warm-hearted, though occasionally there are welcome blasts of asperity. And there are joyful pages devoted to what is surely Sykes's finest hour – his glorious riot of ad-libbery with Jimmy Edwards in “Big Bad Mouse”.' Hugh Massingberd, Daily Telegraph

'His prose is crisp and dry, with a poetic, vernacular lilt … Candid, erudite and most of all cheery. Warm and comforting.' The Times

'A charmed life … and one does not begrudge him an ounce of his success … Sykes's career is far from over.' Guardian

'A chatty, always amiable memoir. A far better testament to this game old trouper than the normal ghost-written guff.' Daily Express

Word

'Britain’s deafest actor remains, in his eighties, amongst our deftest comic craftsmen.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 761 KB
  • Print Length: 539 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007177852
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (17 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9F22
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,227 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given his contribution to postwar British comedy - writing for the Goons and developing Frankie Howerd's comic persona being the least of it - Eric Sykes is entitled to write his memoirs any way he pleases, and the result is a warm book, rich with anecdotes: according to this, the real-life Sykes has had about as many mishaps as his screen persona.
It has to be said, however, that the book is thinner (if that's what you're looking for) on comic (or personal analysis), but perhaps that's appropriate: he once talked in an interview of having to reassure a puzzled and angry Tommy Cooper that he shouldn't try to pull apart his gift but simply be grateful; and as Sykes has, in any case, already written elsewhere about his own comedy heroes, it's not too difficult to sit back and accept this book for what it is. What comes over when watching the Sykes sitcom is the warmth of the perormers and that is faithfully conveyed here.
Read Graham McCann's biography of Frankie Howerd if you want a more detailed account of the innovation that Sykes' scripts represented, or try David Nathan's The Laughtermakers (long out of print) for material about Sykes. Or just watch The Plank (with Sykes and the instinctive Cooper) and marvel - probably the wisest course of action.
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Format: Hardcover
Eric Sykes forsakes chapters in his autobiography, preferring to split his memoirs into a few short sections and one long one: the former, dealing with his childhood, early adulthood and wartime experiences; the latter, looking at his post-war career as comedy writer, performer and dramatic actor.

Herein lies the problem. The first half is a richly detailed and absorbing account of the world in which Sykes grew up. Unfortunately, once he's been demobilised, the book slowly degenerates into a series of theatrical and golfing recollections - most of them undated. As well as this general disorganisation there are other quibbles. Sykes' mother died immediately after giving birth to him, and he credits her with providing frequent moments of serendipity. It's a pleasant notion, but he does labour the point. Similarly, his repeated use of "sucker punch" to describe an unexpected calamity after everything seems rosy shows an uncharacteristic laziness of style.

Over the course of his life, Sykes has cultivated an eclectic group of acquaintances, being on first name terms with luminaries from all walks of life: Douglas Bader, John Lennon, Sean Connery and Vera Lynn, to name but a few, are mentioned anecdotally. However, don't expect any in-depth examination of his professional partnerships. Frankie Howerd, Spike Milligan, Jimmy Edwards, Tommy Cooper and Hattie Jacques all have their parts to play, but most are referred to en passant with just a compliment here and there. There is a glaring inaccuracy concerning the death of Tommy Cooper: it happened during a show called Live from Her Majesty's, and not Sunday Night at the London Palladium, as Sykes asserts.

Nevertheless, if you don't mind the hotchpotch construction of the book's second half, it does offer an engrossing insight into the world of post-war entertainment and Britain's fledgling TV industry, in which Eric Sykes made his name and embarked upon a remarkable journey.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm only about halfway through this book, but I'm finding it so disappointing that I came here to read other reviews. I gather I'm not the only one.

Eric Sykes is in my opinion one of the best comedy writers and performers we have, and always seems to be a really nice guy as well, by popular consent. But either he shouldn't have tried to write this or he should have had a good editor. It's hard to believe that it was edited at all, but in the Acknowledgements he mentions "Louise Haines, my editor par excellence". Pull the other one. Perhaps her maiden name was Louise Plank.

It's very badly written, including not only spelling errors but even errors of fact such as crossing the Rhine into Germany via the bridge at Nijmegen. The Rhine doesn't flow through Nijmegen, and the bridge has Holland on both sides. V2s hitting Oldham -- only Antwerp and SE England were targets -- launched from Peena Mundi in Normandy (Peenemünde is on the Baltic, and wasn't an operational launch site anyway). And a lot more. Trivial, maybe, but it makes the book less credible than it would be given decent editing. I can't figure out the rich-lady-in-Brussels story at all.

Ironically, I've recently read Norma Farnes' excellent book about Spike Milligan. She's also Eric's agent and he even mentions her in the Acknowledgements. Perhaps Eric should have given his manuscript to her to turn into a structured biography. I'm sure it would have been at least as good as the Spike story.

I'm going to finish the book, because his story is still fascinating, but perhaps I'll have to wait for somebody else to make a better job of it. Who knows, maybe Norma has one tucked away somewhere already.
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Format: Paperback
Please don't think I'm a family member due to my name, I can assure you I'm not!

I found this book very easy and enjoyable to read. Eric has always been a man to avoid the limelight. prefering to use the staff entrance round the back, rather than the star studded red carpet and that's very much how this book feels. It has no frills or sharp polished surfaces but is a story told over a coffee in a comfy chair. There is a lot of golf related refrences and stories but then the game was and still is a very important part of his life.

I do have to criticise his depth of writing in this book. He doesn't go into his writing and ideas process enough. He gives no insight as to where his ideas came from, what his inspirations were or how he knew something would be funny.

Eric Sykes was a prolific Writer, Director and Actor. A man who, along with names like Dennis Norden and Frank Muir built the foundation for british comedy and his influence is still prevelant today in sitcoms such as The Office and My Family. As one of the Fathers of british radio and television comedy he will never receive the credit he richly deserves.

If you have a love for the roots of britsh comedy and it's history you will enjoy this book.
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