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Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography [Hardcover]

Danny Baker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 15.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Nov 2012

Born in 1957 in Deptford, south London, Danny's first job after dropping out of school at the age of 15 was in One Stop Records, a small record shop in London's West End, frequented by Elton John and Mick Jagger, a store rather like the one in High Fidelity. His career in print journalism began in 1976 when he co-founded the fanzine Sniffin' Glue leading to an offer from the New Musical Express, where his first job was as a receptionist. Soon after, Baker was contributing regular astute articles, reviews and later interviews to the publication. Danny then began making 30-minute documentaries at LWT for the cult series 20th Century Box, and appeared in two television commercials: Daz washing powder and Mars bar chocolate.

His stellar career on the radio began on BBC GLR in 1989, then moved to BBC Radio 5 where he presented sports shows including the groundbreaking 6-0-6, which still influences the media's approach to criticism of players, managers and referees. He also worked on BBC Radio 1, back to BBC GLR, Talk Radio and later on Virgin Radio. On his return to BBC last May, Danny won 'Sony Radio Personality of the Year' and appeared on Desert Island Discs last July. Six months earlier he had gone public on his cancer and chemotherapy treatment, and thankfully all seems well.

Danny Baker currently presents a weekday show at BBC London 94.9, which features phone-ins and discussions with his on-air team regarding music and entertainment of the 1960s and 1970s, and a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5.

This book charts Danny's showbiz career, the highs and lows, and everything in between, including the accusation that he killed Bob Marley...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st edition (6 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297863401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297863403
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Joie de vivre, this Teflon spirit, is the engine that drives this memoir....Indeed, throughout this tome, Baker doesn't so much drop famous names as fire them at you with a cannon for seemingly no other reason than to amuse and entertain with top-notch anecdotes... This book is a hoot, buzzing with Baker's impressive recall and nuclear-strength warmth and humour. Going to Sea in a Sieve emerges not only as a portrait of Baker the individual, but also as a hymn to bygone times that is as affectionate as it is brutally unsentimental and hilarious. The perfect read for anyone interested in music, football, media, British cultural history, or indeed just having a really good laugh. (Barbara Ellen THE OBSERVER 2012-11-04)

Like its author, Baker's book is garrulous, preening, self-mocking and funny. It's as rattling to read as it evidently was to write. In the proud Baker tradition, it's a bit of a knockout. (Stephen Smith NEW STATESMAN 2012-11-16)

These memoirs, which cover his childhood and early career burst with warmth and encounters with the famous, from Marc Bolan to Kate Bush. (BELFAST TELEGRAPH 2012-11-10)

An instant ray of sunshine in these dank days of winter. (METRO 2012-11-19)

Witty, sharp and hilarious, it's like you're chatting with a mate in the pub. (METRO 2012-11-22)

A beautifully written memoir (THE INDEPENDENT 2012-12-08)

Baker writes as he speaks, with honesty and infectious joie de vivre. (SUNDAY EXPRESS 2012-12-23)

Rollicking first instalment of the life story of the broadcaster, covering his childhood in southeast London's Deptford and working as a pop critic and a 'yoof-for-hire' on TV. (SAGA 2013-01-01)

Reading Baker's memoirs feels a bit like flying transatlantic with an irrepressibly garrulous stranger....the alacrity and invention of his mind is obvious. (James McNair Mojo)

Book Description

Comedy writer, journalist, radio DJ and screenwriter Danny Baker charts his 30 years in showbiz.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There'll Never Be Another 10 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Warm, funny, shocking, honest. It's like the red button version of the radio show. To the dolts who sacked him from BBC London, read it and weep. Dan, it turns out we never knew you...but we know you better now. Here's hoping that the freeing up of some time means we get Part II (and III) as soon as you like.
Understand there's also to be an audio version.. Attack! Attack! Attack! Can't wait.
Best autobiography since Tom Baker's, 'Who on Earth'... actually (whisper it) this is better.
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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The radio genius 1 Nov 2012
The above title is what the BBC call Danny Baker on their website, and I write this just as it is announced that danny's show on Radio London is to be axed. The BBC eh? What are they playing at? anyway, the book...

Well it's been available in bookshops since the weekend so I don't know why Amazon are delaying on it. Maybe they knew about today's news...? Nevertheless whenever it comes out I would urge anyone who has more than a passing interest in football, music, music journalism, radio, TV, humour and of course the joi de vivre that no doubt helped him in recovering from cancer to read this book. It is as filled with good humour and self depreciation as you might expect but also deals with some career and life lows as well as the many highs. The book is an easy read - it is a relatively compact volume considering the anecdotes packed in here, there must be a follow up as well - but that is no bad thing as there is absolutely no padding to be seen. The book is a genuine joy and will be the only "Celebrity" biography I buy this season, which I suppose is the highest recommendation I can give.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpasses expectations 14 Nov 2012
Huge fan of DB since the early 90s, and a religious listener to his 94.9 show until its criminal cancellation. This book is a brisk read, featuring many tales told on the radio, often laugh-out-loud funny, and Baker paints a fabulous, clearly loving image of his dad, Spud. There's poignancy here too - his description of visiting his family home after the door-opening dog Blackie has died is something every dog-owner can identify with.

One gripe - I got through it too fast and don't want to have to wait another year for the next instalment!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun Read 22 Nov 2012
By Mick H
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would heartily advise anyone considering this book to get busy and buy it, I only got to page 26 before I was laughing my head off, the greatest voice on radio has written a cracker and I look forward to further volumes, it has charm , wit and none of the usual up their own ar!!ness of most of the current celeb tomes trundled out for Xmas, Well done Candyman, get back on the radio again soon, the BBC want shooting!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bermondsey legend, fantastic read 17 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read this book in 2 days absolutely outstanding book and even though I come from Bermondsey I can tell you all that we are very proud of the Candy man and we are already gagging for the next two instalments of the trilogy. Well done Danny and to BBC radio London 'you have lost the plot'
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Boy - pure entertainment 7 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant, funny memoir including some of the people Danny Baker had met when he started his first job in a record shop in London and then as a writer on Sniffin' Glue and NME including legends such as Elton John and Marc Bolan, Queen, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Mick Jagger, Peter Cook and Ian Dury and his minder Fred Rowe, spending time with the latter on a tour of Europe, which is a highlight for me as a huge Dury fan. The writing is like his radio persona; erudite, witty, intelligent and absolutely engaging.

The real winner amongst all the brilliant stories and anecdotes is Danny's frankness, honesty and willingness to point out some of his less than enobling cons, gaffes, tricks and humiliating experiences, which compliment the amazing experiences and people he met. The book ends somewhere around the early 80's (squeezed into somewhere around 250 pages) and there's so much incredible fun packed in there god knows how many more pages he'll need for the subsequent 30 years of his career.

It is a brilliant read (I finished it in a day and a half... and that's just when I wasn't working!) and in it he entices us with the promise of volume two.

If you love DB this is essential. If you love entertaining autobiographies, it's still essential. And worth it alone for the recurring tale of David Essex's brother and his fantastic, straight-talking dad (his hero, I think).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Save the Candyman 7 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've listened to Danny (aka The Candyman) on Radio London and its Predecessors for many years. What some people may not know is that the words spoken by the likes of J.Ross at the awards are also Danny's. He'a a great writer and tells an interesting and amusing tale. I enjoyed the book - what more can I say? - apart from buy it yourself!
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Expectations Were Surpassed 5 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As someone who used to listen to The Candyman six times a week (from Phoenix, Arizona) I've been waiting for this book for the past two years when he announced he had started writing it. I had high expectations and it surpassed them. Shouldn't be surprised really when you hear his anecdotes on the air and IMDB him and see what quality he's written in the past.

I loved every page and didn't want it to end. Just brilliant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must
I could not put this book down. it had me laughing out loud all the way through. I recommend it to any one who grew up in the 70s with very little, but remember being as happy as... Read more
Published 9 days ago by miss g santer
3.0 out of 5 stars a nice but not gripping read
I kept putting it down and picking it up over a period of 2 years....so wasn't exactly gripped. I will of course read the next instalment when it arrives because I love Danny's... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mrs. Clair Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Baker Transpontine
Great read Danny Baker writes as he speaks illustrious language
Published 19 days ago by Nikki Lowton
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Danny
I really looked forward to buying and reading this book as I like Danny's programmes and he is an individual who does not try to be trendy. Read more
Published 26 days ago by CN
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic audiobook
Having liked Danny Baker on TV, I bought the paperback of his first autobiography. Although it was entertaining, it didn't quite grip me and I put the book down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by HAB75
5.0 out of 5 stars Great auto biography
This is an excellent and well written book. I wish that I had as good a memory as Danny Baker does. The descriptions and stories about growing up in London are both interesting and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Augustus Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it..
Although of a similar age to Danny, I grew up in South Africa & had no knowledge of Danny Baker until reasonably recently. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul Leverington
5.0 out of 5 stars So Danny Baker
This is a thumping good read. It is neigh on impossible not to do Danny Baker's voice in your head as you read it. Very much looking forward to volume 2.
Published 1 month ago by Miss D Tookay
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought back memories of the 70s
I loved this engaging book of Danny's early years. It brought lots of memories back of London in the 70s. Can't wait for the next instalment. Oh and it's funny too.
Published 2 months ago by iloveshoes
4.0 out of 5 stars Going to sea in a sieve
Very funny and a great read I will be reading more of his book for sure as I said Very funny
Published 2 months ago by Euryn Williams
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