Top positive review
on 8 June 2017
The autobiography of popular sit-com and panel-show comedian (not the novelist) David Mitchell is suffused with his trademark lowbrow verbosity.
Structured around an imaginary walk around London, designed to help ease his back pain, the narrative sees Mitchell link various landmarks to key moments in a life whose principal focus has been to develop a career in comedy. Those who are familiar with his TV persona will recognise the combination of nerdy erudition and ranting exhibitionism.
Starting with tales of middle-class life in middle England, he takes us via Cambridge University and Footlights, to his celebrated partnership with Robert Webb, and their rise to fame - which might have seemed rapid to the outside observer (they became TV regulars while still in their twenties), but was, from their perspective, painfully slow.
With moments ranging from the hilarious (e.g. young David reluctant to answer his parents doorbell because he was embarrassed about the home-made kingly regalia he was wearing at the time) to the moving (the long yearning for his eventual wife, Victoria Coren), this is a consistently entertaining read, proudly fixated on the trivial - his thoughts on weightier matters can be found elsewhere.
Anyone wishing to gain an insight into the peculiarly English combination of self-deprecation and egotism, awkwardness and loudness, emotional constipation and profound insight, could do much worse than start here.