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
He ticks all the boxes: Vivid memory, healthy disregard for convention paired with acute attention to detail, not to forget having a good laugh at oneself. In this instance, having the author read it himself is a great advantage. Recommended.
His story mainly deals with his very young and early life growing up with his communist parents and his holidays in eastern europe. I was hoping that he would talk about his later life on tv etc but perhaps that will come in a later book. Notwithstanding that I enjoyed the book, his narration and his very very unusual young lfe.
This is really funny. I was born about the same time as Alexei, and know what was going on at the time. So it really is an extraordinary story, full of humour. I highly recommend this book
Alexei Sayle delivers a very accessible autobiography of his early life up to the age of 17. Using a very punchy writing style that doesn't dawdle or drag out stories, but rather packs in a series of coherent anecdotes that sometimes leave you wanting to know more, but certainly not getting lost in unnecessary detail and self indulgence. He is dry, honest, and self-effacing in his observations about himself. As such, I felt the book was packed full of pathos, and was often sad and touching. That said, I have rarely laughed out loud so much on the two long train journeys over which I listened to his captivating naration. Although he is at times quite ascorbic in his observations of his nearest and dearest, he is never cruel or bitter, except perhaps in the admissions of his own failings.
Full of the stuff that an ordinary flawed life is full of, and giving some account of how he would become such a unique anti-hero of the modern entertainment world. A wry and guilty pleasure. Not something I would normally listen to. So glad I did.
Great stories from an unconventional childhood. Lovely writing, amazing characters, great narration. Had me in stitches on several occasions, looking forward to the next instalment.
"Excellent comic tale of a unique upbringing"
Great book that is wonderfully read by Alexei himself, from start to finish you are in tears of laughter while hanging on his work to hear what happens next,you don't have to be a fan of Mr Sayle's stand up or TV work (or even his odd hit single) to enjoy the beautiful tale of growing up in Liverpool with looney left parents.
Most biographies of comedians are not as funny as the comics material, this is the exception, it's funnier.
"A Real Treat."
If you are familiar with Alexei Sayles work as a ground-breaking comedian, being both original and exceptionally honed in his craft, and thought to yourself, how did he get like that? Well, this book explains it all (ish).
The book is touching and endearingly well written and with Alexei reading it, it is probably the best way of experiencing the story. Did I mention that it is also extremely funny too. Alexei Sayle comes across as a really nice man from a wonderfully loving and interesting family.
Enjoy, I certainly did.
"One of the original "alternative" comics ..."
A fantastic biography for one of our most overlooked, yet influential comics.
It was never going to be easy for the son of communist parents growing up in Liverpool. Alexi tells his story with good humour, wit and gives a fantastic insight in what made him, him ...
Well worth it, a great read / listen, even if you're not already a fan.
Parts are very funny, the book is basically an autobiography of his early years - a very interesting and very unusual childhood, so it not meant to be consistently amusing but he looks back with humour and fondness for his parents and the sometimes bizare circumstances he finds himself in.
"OK, but gets a bit dull and only goes to age 18"
Alexi Sayle has had an unconventional life, which makes for an interesting story in part. His narrative style is a bit dull though.
Overall I enjoyed this, but was disappointed that it only covered the early part of his life
This story starts with Alexei as a young boy and right from the off, the influences of his politically minded parents, particularly ,his Mum, who sounds a real character,He tells of the benefits of being a member of the communist party in the 60's and the strange places he and his family visited around Europe, and growing up in Liverpool, with hilarious consequences. really worth a listen
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
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