Alexei knew he was doomed to be different the day he was taken to see Sergei Eisentein's Alexander Nevsky instead of Walt Disney's Bambi. Born on the day that egg rationing came to an end, Alexei grew up with his parents and the Soviet Weekly. Each year they holidayed in Eastern Europe, where they were shown round locomotive factories and the sites of Nazi atrocities.
Very funny and (almost) stranger than Alexei's fiction, this is a memoir about how Liverpool, Communism, and a mother that his teachers were frightened of, made him want to leave home and make people laugh.
©2010 Alexei Sayle (P)2010 Hodder & Stoughton
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A most entertaining and amusing autobiography. My how I laughed. My children went without food, waiting as I accidentally spat on the table with glee at what should have been tea time and the neighbours stared in the window (thank the lord for noise reduction headphones)
"Alexei the Great"
Wonderful fun with Mr Sayle aka Bobby Chariot etc. His memory for social detail, parental failings and successes and the humour of awkward situations is astounding. Alexei's reading of his book gives it an added dimension of honesty. All the humorous situations are brought to life in a way that must beat simply reading the book oneself. He is sharp and worldly in his observations and I believe them all! Best of all, I laughed out loud walking down the street and wished I could meet him walking around the next corner, so I could tell him to write the next one. I like him because he seems like a mellowed rabble rouser, but with insight and compassion. But it is his keen observational skills and his slightly quirky humour that are his best traits. I hope it has been well received by all political persuasions, even those, who in the past, to my recollection, had no sense of humour. Politics may be a serious pastime but it is a good laugh too. Everyone should listen to this book read by a great man with a great beard
"Very very funny"
I loved this book. Alexi has a wonderful dry style. Warm and funny story of unusual upbringing, beautifully told.
"Interesting and entertaining"
As a male of a similar age to Alexei, it was easy for me to set this book into its context and I think this increased my enjoyment of it. If you like Alexei's sense of humour and his ideosyncratic view of life then you will find this book a treat. It is a memoir of his life up to 17 when he (or rather his mother) got through an interview to attend art school. I believe it is also a valuable insight into aspects of the mid twentieth century Eastern block that are worthy of recording on an historic level.
"Who is that fat....?"
When Alexei Sayle bounded onto the television in the 1980s with his surreal rants about having a bed that was 6 inches from the ceiling because underneath it 5000 unsold copies of the morning star I thought that this was just a character he'd created to put forward the opposing view to Thatcherism and mock the cold war. But it wasn't... it was true.
This is a well written and well paced autobiography unusually from someone who knows how to write and turns this talent to self-analysis.Self-depracating and yet robust this is an excellent insight into a fully-formed and inhabited microcosm that still allows universal access.
"So good I wanted to write about my own childhood"
Engaging, funny, touching and incredibly evocative of the world of the 50s. Well read by the author - this is not always the case with authors.
I do hope there will be a follow up.
Always entertaining and occassionally laugh out loud funny - which got me a few curious stares down at the gym.
"Stalin ate my homework"
As expected full of humour and Communism! I passed it onto my 17 year old daughter who is studying politics, it helps her put a 3rd dimension and a human face in to late 20th century communism as I experienced it in a very similar way at home and as a serviceman watching Soviet AGI trawlers.
"Took a while to tune in,but worth it"
The early chapters were a little slow.I was expecting a laugh a minute which is not the style.However,stick with it,Comrade Sayle and family explore Europe (including behind the Iron Curtain) using their free rail pass and its good fun and well told.On reflection I enjoyed it,and now feel I understand Alexi Sayle the person,which is somewhat of a worry!
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