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on 28 May 2002
The subtitle of this book is 'an autobiography of sorts', which is very accurate really. It's undoubtedly autobiographical, but could also be looked on just as a collection of showbiz anecdotes, which will be of interest whether or not you are a particular fan of Barry Cryer, as many of them deal with famous names from Kenny Everett to J.B Priestley.
Often funny, sometimes sad, and occasionally both at once, this book sheds light on the eventful life of one of Britain's best loved comic personalities, and is a must have for anyone with an interest in comedy.
N.B Check out the photographs, especially the one of the cast of Frost Over England - see how many famous people you can identify!
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2008

An Autobiography of sorts.

The book isn't exactly an autobiography it is more a bran tub of reminiscences and stories of people he has known and worked with.

His agent said to him ' where are you in this book?' and he understood what she meant, after 40 years of writing you tend to suffer from terminable voyeurism.

You watch and you listen people are the writer's raw material.

He says that he is always struck by the number of people who tell him that they have always fancied being a writer and will get round to it if only they had the time.

They assume they would have the talent.

Talking about Max Miller - he said that Max Miller's stage costume was a flamboyant suit with a design reminiscent of loud wall paper, a white hat and what we used to call 'co-respondent shoes'. These were two tone and apparently assumed to be worn by the guilty parties or co-respondents in divorce cases.

On a radio show Max told a joke about a bus breaking down. this was in the days when buses had a driver and a conductress.

The driver lifted the bonnet to discover the cause of the breakdown. After ten minuted the conductress, looking at the impatient passengers, joined him and asked, ' do you want a screwdriver?'

'No, we're ten minuted late already' replied the driver.

The joke was deleted from the act in 1958.

Talking about after dinner speaking and Willie Rushton, he said that he was on the top table talking tot he chairman, Sir Charles, who was giving Will's ear a vigorous bashing while he was eating his dinner, and then said ' You had better be funny tonight, Mr Rushton is paying you a lot of money'

Willie Rushton replied, ' Well most of it is for sitting with you'.

Talking about Groucho Marx, his daughter was refused entry to a swimming pool , for being Jewish.

Groucho contacted the club, and said, ' For your information, she is half Jewish and she can go in up to her waist.

He said that he wrote a fan letter to Emlyn Williams, the playwright, and three days later received a reply - 'Thanking me for taking the trouble to write to him'.. He says he only knows of three other people who have done this, Alex Guinness, Victor Borg and Alan Bennett, although he says he still treasures the signed McDonald's serviette from Keith Chegwin.

He was reminiscing about Les Dawson and said that after a tough apprenticeship ' I was a flop during the boom'..He made an appearance on Opportunity Knocks, which was his breakthrough, much admired by other comics, but people commented that he was like Robb Wilton and Norman Evans and Frank Randle, whose styles could be discerned in his work.

Someone said that originality was undetected plagiarism.

Eric Morecambe was once cornered by a man who was feeling no pain at a party. the tired and emotional one started pontificating about show business to, Morecambe, of all people. Reaching a climax he said, ' I always think, to be in showbusiness, your need three things'

' If you've got three things, you should be in a circus' said Eric.

He says him memory for jokes is notorious and Johnny Speight claimed that he once forgot his wife's name and asked one of the children, ' You - tall one with the glasses - what's you mother's name?'.

Michael Parkinson was sitting in a Manchester store book signing session. Tow women stood close by. Finally after studying closely, one said to the other. 'He doesn't take daylight does he?'

He has survived alternative comedy and is highly regarded as a good writer of comedy. he seems to have written for them all and has met them all

If you like comedy and particularly British comedy this is the book for you
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on 28 January 2012
I've bought two or three Cryer books, and I've laughed out loud, as I do to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.And he tells the kind of stories you immediately want to relate to your friends. The only drawback is that several of the anecdotes are repeated in the various books, and it starts to give a [no doubt unmerited] impression of material being stretched too thin. He writes simply, but well and unaffectedly [apart from the occasional tendency to irritating, jokey footnotes], and he comes across in print the way he does on Radio or TV- as a daft humanist. Do we have to wait till he dies before we get it all in one big, thick book? Won't anyone pay him now to take a few months off and write something just as funny, but a bit less apparently hurried? I'm not making a direct comparison, but Bob Monkhouse stunned people like me with his autobiography-it's easily as good as you may have heard, and to a great extent transformed his standing, not just with its honesty but with its eloquence. I don't want Barry Cryer to present himself as po-faced -I don't think he could if he tried-but there's obviously a more reflective side to him which I'd like a bit more of. You'll read this in a day, but you'll wish there were more-not just in quantity, but also the depth which is obviously there if somebody will get hold of him and give him the time to write it down. This sounds like a 4-Star review, but he's a National Treasure, so it's a 5.
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on 18 November 2011
If, like me, you grew up on a comedy diet of Kenny Everett, Morecombe and Wise, Mike and Bernie Winters and Tommy Cooper... it is impossible to read this book without hearing the voices of these comedy greats. The chapter on Tommy Copper brings memories of the great man flooding back and I could hear his voice loud and clear, the best laugh I have had in a long time. (I like to laugh!)

Although Barry Cryer name drops continously it is something as a comedy fanatic that you will never tire of, he has after all worked wiht three generations of comedy legends and is one himself.

Thank you Mr Cryer for sharing your expereinces with us, much appreciated.
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on 16 November 2015
Very funny and informative. I like Barry Cryer and this book was a great read. Too good to leave on holiday. I'll read it again sometime.
Read it yourself....
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on 7 November 2014
Barry Cryer is a legend. A terrific book.
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on 12 August 2014
What's to say? I ordered it, it arrived.
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on 21 January 2014
This book is exactly the same as Butterfly Brain with just the odd few different lines inserted. I've been cheated.
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on 20 December 2014
very good.
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on 10 December 2014
good read
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