I don't like Bob Geldof. Its not reasonable, but I don't. But I read a review of this audio book in the Guardian, around the time I was thinking what to buy for my 14 hour ferry/drive to the South of France. So I decided to give it a go. I'm fascinated by Africa, and the review was so good I overcame my prejudice and bought it. Then I had to overcome my mother's prejudice - she dislikes Sir Bob about as much as she disliked the Queen Mum, which is not a little. She was coming down with me. I persuaded her to listen to a bit and if she didn't like it, we'd skip to either Dubliners or Nelson Mandela's autobiography.
We were hooked. We'd Bob a bit, and then listen to some music, then do some more Bobbing, as she called it. The enormous range, the passion with which he delivers statistics and stories and pithy insights, the remarkable absence of self-aggrandisement (apart from the rather slimy tributes to rock stars right at the end of the last disc), even the bits of excess purple - focking fungal, foetid smells... - where we could do with a few fewer adjectives. Who cares. He delivers information and personal experience and insight and broadened both our views of what Africa is, does, feels like, smells like.
I tried it on the teenagers who came to stay too, including my daughter. 'Oh God, not bloody Bob Geldof, I can't stand him' they shrieked, one and all. But I was driving, so I got to chose. And they caved in and got sucked in and couldn't stop listening. Although we did all agree that the richer excesses invite a Bobetition to see who can outBob him. So we are starting one.
I recommend this from my heart. If you want to get Africa, get this audiobook.