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4.6 out of 5 stars86
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2015
I like Danny Baker but occasionally find his presentation style a bit OTT. I found the same with this book. I was drawn to reading it by the appearance of the TV serialisation of it (Cradle to grave) which, I'll admit I found amusing. However, rather like the book, after a while it started to pall.
Whilst I have no doubt that it is based on reality (I grew up in a similar London council estate environment three years before Danny) and knew many people such as he describes, I found that the constant hail-fellow-well-met Tigger style bounciness of the writing started to get me down. Eventually, I freely admit I was finding it difficult to read more than about 8 pages at a time before losing my concentration to read any more.
Yes it is funny but certainly did not "make me bark" funny as one celebrity reviewer phrased it.
Adequately amusing and a definite toilet book - ie one to be read in small stages, well suited for the smallest room.
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This 32-page book is a colourful introduction to the world of the Vikings, and their settlement at Jorvik (York) in particular. Its numerous two-page chapters highlight aspects of their lives and culture, and is colourfully illustrated, primarily with photographs of historical re-enactors, but also of surviving artefacts, all accompanied by excellent supporting text-pieces, captions and information boxes. This would be an ideal teaching/learning aid for younger schoolchildren.

The Contents are –
P04: Into the Past
P06: At the Quayside
P08: A Visit to the Weapon-Smith
P10: The Craft of the Jeweller
P12: The Thrall
P14: Life on the Farm
P16: In the Bakery
P18: Watching the Weaver
P20: Questioning the Doctor
P22: Viking Games
P24: Pagans or Christians?
P26: Travel and Trade
P28: Back to the Present
P30: Glossary
P31: For More Information
P32: Index
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on 17 September 2013
Going to Sea in a Sieve in a nutshell is the first part of the man of many talents Danny Baker's Autobiography. Humorous, interesting and incredibly easy to pick up and read, I highly recommend this book.

As I read the book I could hear Danny's voice narrating the story almost as he traverses from life event to anecdote seemlessly.

I especially enjoyed the stories of his encounters working in the One Stop record store with the likes of Elton John, Marc Bolan of T-Rex and Queen.

This book is a real page turner and I can't wait for the follow up volume.
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VINE VOICEon 24 September 2013
It took me more than two decades to realise that Danny Baker isn't a chattering imbecile but is in fact a genius. This revelation came through spending an hour a day listening to the gloriously surreal inventiveness of his BBC London radio show.

Despite being co-founder of the legendary punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue and a major writer at New Musical Express in the late 70s and 80s, where conformity to 'correct' opinions was almost Maoist in its intensity, this is a man who has never denied his love for unhip, old music (such as Steely Dan and Anthony Newley) and who was almost lynched when, aged 20, he leapt on stage to berate a punk audience that was cheering at the news that Elvis had just died. More recently he's been railing against the tyranny of 'cool'.

This covers the first 25 years of his life, and what a fascinating life it is. His father was a docker who supplemented his income - as they all did - by taking a cut of Britain's flagging export trade. Aged 12, Danny sold knocked-off records to the Petticoat Lane traders and left school at 15, despite being top of the class, to work in a hip record shop in Soho, where he met all the stars but chucked Queen out for demanding that the shop play their debut album, which he and the manager hated.

Baker's story isn't a tale of triumph in the face of hardship: it's a story of of a happy, trauma-free, working-class upbringing; staying just the right side of poverty by keeping just the wrong side of the law; being happy by spending every penny as it comes; and succeeding by cheek, talent, wit, blarney and outrageous good fortune. He manages to tell his story while retaining a degree of dignity and discretion quite in keeping with his upbringing: some things are private and nobody's business.

He has an ego, of course, but it's charmingly unpretentious, while his comic talent keeps the book fun and sometimes hilarious, never more so than in his record-shop days or his japes as receptionist at the NME. He even apologises, possibly 30 years too late, for calling Kate Bush Chicken Licken.

My only complaint is that, having never given Nick Kent's testicles a moment's thought, I now have an image of them in my mind that can never be erased.
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on 22 October 2013
In my opinion Danny Baker is THE most entertaining radio presenter. His sense of the absurd linked to reality is just fantastic. I was not really aware of his earlier exploits, and thoroughly enjoyed this autobiography.

More than ten years ago, I can recall continual repeats of a recording of a toddler running into a pile of baked bean cans. I'm sure those who do listen to Baker's shows will understand just how funny it can be just listening to someone else's reactions to such an event. Only Danny Baker can make such a thing of interest, and then do it again and again! He is a very intelligent man, which comes over in all that he does - proving that higher education is only an addition to an individual's skill-base - the fundamentals are either there, or not. He writes as he speaks - a true joy.

Have now looked at earlier reviews, and think I should add some more words. My younger son bought me this book last Christmas; like many who have reviewed it, I am really not that keen on biographies, but finally got round to reading it ... and it was just like listening to the man. As far as the ego problems that some see, I believe that there are a few people in the world that are just so in love with life, that they feel no reason to pretend, and then sit back and wait for admiration. Baker is a genius, he knows it, and many of us just love the opportunity to be a very minor part of what he does! Why should he apologise for being so sharp? There do seem to be many jealous people implying that Baker was lucky - I do not agree, he would have got there regardless.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 September 2015
The first instalment of ex-punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue co-founder and NME journo, Danny Baker, made for ideal holiday reading – unsurprisingly light, but with some intriguing music biz snippets from the 'punk era’ (and others) and all delivered via Baker’s down-to-earth, self-deprecating persona. It was never, of course, intended to be a tome of any great literary significance (and, by this token, makes for an interesting comparison with Morrissey's 'Penguin Classic’!), as Baker takes us through his 'dodgy’ Only Fools And Horses-like childhood (fuelled by his docker father) to his days alongside Mark Perry at Sniffin’ Glue and thence to achieve (in his own estimation, inexplicable) 'showbiz stardom’ via his time at the NME and on TV.

Other than being generally engaged by Baker’s character, I read the book primarily for his take on what is a shared nostalgia for the 70s/80s (in particular) music scene and there is much of interest here, including an account of the man’s sceptical take on the conflicting motives which spurned the 'punk movement’, plus amusing anecdotes around interviews with the Jacksons and Paul Weller. Roll on the next holiday for Part 2 (entitled Going Off Alarming).
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on 28 January 2015
Not just one of the funniest, but definitely one of the best books on any subject I've ever read. He's such a natural raconteur. My favourite (spoiler alert): One kid came to the school who was an absolute man-mountain, was scared of nobody and decided the quickest route to amassing other people's dinner money was to take it from the bullies who took it from everybody else. One day, from a distance, Danny witnessed the kid being ambushed by all the biggest hard nuts in the school as he walked between the woodwork and metalwork blocks. They tried manfully to bring him down but he battered them back for ages, until somebody smacked him over the head with a wooden box, and down he went, disappearing into a sea of flying boots. Eventually an ambulance arrived, and he was carted off wrapped in a blood-soaked orange blanket. "He never returned to the school again. Not, as you might imagine, as a result of any long-lasting physical trauma, but because, as it transpired during his visit to the hospital, he was twenty-two years old." Brilliant!
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on 3 July 2013
The problem in our house, is that the only place you can really read is on the toilet. It's the only place peaceful enough and where you're unlikely to be instantly disturbed. For that reason, the bookshelf in our loo (yes, we have one) is full of easy to dip in and out of books like Clarkson, Private Eye anthologies and autobiographies. All of which you can pick up and put down at will.

Apart from Going to Sea in a Sieve. Baker has crammed more into his life, and remember volume 1 covers only his first 24 years, than anyone I know. It's full of fantastic, almost unbelievable tales. And truly unbelievable luck. If you want to win the lottery, just ask this man for 6 random numbers. It's likely they'll come up.

It's a completely un-put-downable book - leading to my current medical condition.

If you're reading this, Danny, stop and go write volume two. And pass the rubber ring on your way out..
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on 2 August 2013
I don't read autobiographies, one long ego trip for the writer, one long yawn for the reader.
EXCEPT (every rule has an exception eh), I love Danny Baker on the radio, was gutted when he quit the breakfast show, mornings just aren't the same (don't know much about his TV career, and NME? Never read it), but he has the most exuberant joyous way with words that - effortlessly it seems - makes everything come alive.
He's not pretentious, is working class and proud of it (from back in the day when working class WAS something to be proud of, not just to be), and from the way he tells it, his life has always been FUN. Which as can been seen in the book is as much about his attitude as about life itself. A lesson for us all. And a fabulous roller-coaster boisterous hilarious heartwarming lesson it is too. It's as unputdownable as any thriller, tmes were, I couldn't stop laughing..
Fabulous.
Thank you Danny
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I have seen some reviews where it is claimed that Danny Baker is full of himself in this first part of his autobiography - well what would you expect?

This is his story from his youth up to where he started to get TV fame. He is a London lad with very much a post war east end up-bringing but he is smart and, it has to be said, lucky!
We have his love of football, his love and excitment at emerging music and his move from selling it to writing about it. But this is all famed by his friends and his upbringing and actually the star of this story is not Danny Baker, it is his Dad who came over as a real character.

Yep, plenty of famous people here and plenty of amusing stories, it's loud and outgoing as you would expect. It will probably most appeal to those 50 plus who can remember those times of change, but it remains a lively and entertaining book.
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