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4.7 out of 5 stars43
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 11-20 of 31 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2009
This is a brilliantly written book by a comedian, playwright and all round entertainer. Arthur's memories of his Dad who was a prisoner in Colditz particularly moved me, but it is funny and splendidly written throughout. I couldn't put it down.
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on 1 September 2010
This book is absolutely superb. Arthur should write more books and should attempt an novel asap. He has such a warm and understanding style of writing. The book is very funny but in a very affectionate way. Arthur clearly embraces his past and the rich tapestry of his life. Even though it has had its up and downs, and some extremes, I don't get the impression that he regrets a single minute of it. His writing about his parents is very affectionate and kind. Arthur is wonderfully warm writer. This book is very uplifting and should be read by all, especially if you've been round the block a few times as you can compare notes. Well done Arthur - please write more!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2009
This is a wonderfully written book, by a soulful, searingly honest and elegantly funny man. Hilarious and moving in equal parts, it is a joy to read and it would make a wonderful gift for anyone interested in good writing. Radio Four fans apart, the Grand Master of Alternative Comedy will garner many new admirers with this moving and joyous read. Highly recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2009
The memoirs of one Daphne Fairfax are both moving and funny; I know that this is said about every autobiography, but in this instance, it's true. Arthur tells his story with flair and compassion - the reader almost instantly understands his family ties and the excitement of being part of the alternative comedy boom in the 1980s. There is the recognisable trademark humour throughout the whole story (particularly through footnotes and afterthoughts), but perhaps where you are most aware of Arthur's skills as a nuanced writer is through his retelling of Malcom Hardee's funeral. He does not try and make jokes at the expense of worst points of his life or anyone elses come to that, he merely highlights natural humour in a situation. One feels that there is a delicate balance with enough information for the reader to gain a personal insight into the author, but stories and anecdotes are short and succinct (and interesting!)
A must have - I couldn't put this book down!
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on 10 August 2010
A great uplifting holiday read - this is a genuinely humourous memoir, covering Arthur's broad experiences from cherchez-ing the rabbit in France, being the reader's walking tour guide through numerous Edinburgh Festivals and onto heckling Bill Clinton. Refreshingly for a comedian's autobiography, this book is intelligently written and avoids falling into the trap of regurgitating barely relevant stand-up material as several other recent celeb books lazily have. Highly recommended.
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on 23 October 2011
I have seen Arthur Smith on television many times and have always found him very amusing.Grumpy old men was always a pleasre to watch.I never knew that Arthur had written a book and it was only when i read all the other great reviews on Amazon that i decided to buy the book.I can honestly say it is one of the best books that i have read,funny,witty,sad it had everthing.So i would like to say a very big thank you to all the people that gave Arthurs book such glowing feed back...
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on 26 March 2010
As a somewhat grumpy old man myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Based on the obviously eulogistic review of his brother, Richard, whom I met at conference, I picked up this book and read it in one sitting. I later purchased the audiobook to listen to it in Arthur/Brian's distinctive delivery. An interesting story written in a style that conveys the laughter and pain with equal measures of understated delivery. One of the best biographies I have read.
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on 28 April 2014
Ok, I admit to being a fan, and probably a fellow "grumpy old man". The book is an honest account of Arthur's life and loves and the comedy circuit. Its just very funny in places and I was sorry to reach the end. I enjoyed feeling like I got an insight to what makes the guy tick and is parts may well prove to be a good guide to "blokes" for anyone who wants to know.

Charming and funny and touching
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on 15 November 2010
Bit pointless adding yet another 5-star review, I know, but this book is just delightful. Might seem like an irrelevant observation, but there's such poise and precision to the writing - Arthur Smith really nails his observations (for impact, comedic effect, pathos) - it's simply a joy to read. Also, for students of British comedy history, cheeringly solid on the early 80's alternative cabaret scene. Top stuff.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 12 July 2009
Many years ago I went to see An evening with Gary Lineker and it was a great success. I noted that Arthur Smith was one of the co writers of the play. I then heard him on the radio and on television. I was always amazed because his south London accent would normally trick you into believing that he was uneducated and not intelligent to write a successful play. shows how wrong you can be.

Every since then I have always found him funny and when I heard the book serialised on radio 4 I had to read which I have.

It was not a disappointment.

When he started work in Paris as a an assistant in a secondary school he knew he was making progress in french when people started to mistake him for a Belgian.

On page 89 in the foot note he claims Spanish dockers kept the dictator ( Franco) alive weeks after his body had given up. I know dockers used to be powerful in the seventies but I am sure he meant doctors.

He was particularly cutting about the anti Thatcher stance of the alternative comedians particularly when she said Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of thirty can count himself a failure.

When he was visiting prisoners one told him

The thing is Arfur anyone can be a murderer. say some bloke is hassling your bird and you give him a slap and he falls wrong cracks his head- bang ! Your a murderer

Another prisoner interrupted

Yes but in your case you glassed him in the face sixty seven times.

He was very touching about his father when he took him back to Colditz.
He is very erudite and I learnt that it was Mark Twain who said eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

he likes to liberally sprinkle the book with jokes such as he bought a book on addiction and he liked it so much he bought another.

He didn't hold back about his disappointments and his depressed periods but overall he has done very well and is great performer and writer. well worth a read.
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