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No Off Switch Paperback – 4 Oct 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 346 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753541076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753541074
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Andy Kershaw is such an enthusiast . He has an ability to do things first and ask questions afterward" (Michael Palin)

"It's his ability to convey a sense of moment-by-moment aliveness that makes Andy Kershaw, the greatest living English-language broadcaster" (Toby Litt New Statesman)

"Kershaw has had one hell of a life ... strange and comic" (Independent on Sunday)

"Confirms what a fine travel writer he is, with a particularly sharp eye for the telling detail. Andy Kershaw will always be something of a hero" (Daily Mail)

"I make it a rule not to puff books, but Andy Kershaw's NO OFF SWITCH is sensational. An amazing read. An amazing man." (Stephen Fry Twitter)

Book Description

'I make it a rule not to puff books but Andy Kershaw's NO OFF SWITCH is sensational. An amazing read. An amazing man.' - Stephen Fry

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a teenager growing up in rural America, I often dreamed of places like London and Leeds, of The Clash and sell-out rock 'n' roll gigs. I wanted to move to England and marry a rock star. It never happened (the rock star part).

And so when I picked up Andy Kershaw's No Off Switch, I was drawn in at once to his fascinating, first-hand account of this world. The book is humorous and full of energy and cheek. Kershaw's lived a life most of us can only dream of, and still, the book is accessible, relatable.

I was touched by Kershaw's honesty and self-deprecating candour about his shyness throughout his youth. About the time he worked up enough courage to approach the cool, assured Entertainment Secretary in the student union at Leeds University; a guy with `bog-brush hair'--a much older, mature student--and ask him for his job when he left. It was Kershaw's first day at uni. He was scrawny and `looked about twelve,' in comparison. And even though he was terrified and the guys hanging around nearby laughed him off, the Secretary, Steve, immediately signed Kershaw up as an Entertainment steward. `I was in. I was signed up. Me. I belonged,' Kershaw writes.

This is just the beginning. Kershaw has a way of inviting the reader in--of hauling us into the moment, right beside him. While he's travelled to 97 of the world's 193 countries, reported from the frontlines during the Rwanda genocide, worked alongside Billy Bragg and the Rolling Stones, his fears and insecurities, his enthusiasm, are what makes this book come alive. Which of us doesn't want to belong? Which of us still remembers the day we stood, with nervous energy, in a crowd at our first concert, our ears blasted by stereo noise, cherishing our ticket stubs?

I highly recommend this book; it captures the essence of youth and is an all-around entertaining read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading this not really sure if I liked Andy Kershaw or not. Half-way through, and I was still none the wiser. This multi-faceted personality has got lots of different sides, and quite a few of them are quite annoying (particularly if you're his girlfriend, apparently). But as Kershaw's charmed life starts to unravel, something odd started happening. First of all I found myself warming to him as he trails the globe unearthing undiscovered musical gems. Then I was rooting for him in his seemingly one-man battle against radio ga-ga, and by the time he'd become a foreign correspondent, I found myself crying with him at some of the world's recent horror stories. And then, when things really went into a tail-spin from Day One of his new life on The Isle of Man, I was metaphorically rolling up my sleeves ready to scrap for him. I realise now how much the real Andy Kershaw had passed me by. Saddled with a perception of him anchored by his in-yer-face brusque, bluff mid-eighties persona, I completely missed his late night radio show years, his rogue-state journalism era and his Radio 3 rehab. Instead, he only popped back on my radar as a tabloid villain in 2007. Well, my perceptions were all wrong. Here's someone who's been harshly treated by life, but is thankfully bouncing back and good luck to him - he's done some amazing things, and his story is compelling, as he pings from trouble-spot to trouble-spot, lashing-out at plenty of sacred cows as he goes (Elvis, Sir Bob Geldof, The Beatles and even John Peel). So, no punches are pulled, and plenty are thrown. Hold my coat someone, Kersh needs a hand.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Andy Kershaw can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, for he single-handedly introduced me to world music way, way back. I've still got tons of stuff recorded from his Radio 1 show, with labels desperately trying to make sense of those weird names from Mali and Guinea playing strange instruments I'd never heard of. And that glorious soukous guitar of Diblo Dibala, and so on and on. Now I've got them all on CD and can't keep up with the huge number of releases these days.

His book has just that same blast of single-minded enthusiasm that his shows did then. I knew I liked the music he liked: now I find he doesn't like the same music I don't like, such as U2 and Led Zeppelin: good to know! His account is as honest and straightforward as you'd expect, beautifully written, no fools suffered, opinions bluntly expressed, very, very funny, and a lot harder to put down than almost any thriller I've read. You don't need to like world music - or even music much, for that matter - to like No Off Switch. It's just a glorious romp through the life of a permanent fan who has unearthed great music, has met a lot of interesting (and some great) people, and been to some seriously bad places like Haiti and Angola. The guy's a real national treasure.

I'm pleased he's over his personal problems and back on form: we need him more than ever (and I'm far from being a leftie like him). But Andy, it may be a thick book but it's still way too short - I hope you're going to put pen to paper again soon.

Get it now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For Kershaw fans, I cannot recommend this book enough. I can guarantee you will enjoy every page. I'm 59 and have listened to radio (and music) all my life since I was 5 years old and found a 10" 78rpm of Lonnie Donegan's "Cumberland Gap" and asked my mother to play it. That was it, that was all it took, I was off. And in all that time I have to say that Kershaw is one of the very best broadcasters this country has ever produced. As a music anorak, I'm often heard to say that one of the greatest items in my personal music collection is a number of boxes of tapes of Kershaw programmes from the 90s/new millenium that were completely outstanding in their choice of latin, african, asian, folk, country and r&b greats. I even went out and bought an enhanced FM radio aerial for the purpose. This book is also a must for any fans of the late, great John Walters, who - inevitably and quite rightly - features prominently in a number of chapters. Today, Andy seems thankfully to be over his well publicised difficulties of a few years back. Frankly, I'm not interested in the details of that. As long as all concerned have moved on, I don't see any reason why our airwaves should be short-changed any longer by his absence, since his series for Radio 3 a year or so back. A terrific read from terrific broadcaster.
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