Here’s the books I read in September…
The Day Laughter Broke Out: The Life and Career of Robb Wilton by Tom Preston
The first biography of the legendary Liverpudlian music hall comedian who is sadly in danger of being forgotten in the march of time. As a celebration to avert this obscurity, it’s to be applauded, but the repetitive nature the writer employs in what is already a slim volume began to frustrate. Still, one can feel it is a labour of love and it was good to learn about Wilton and some local history.
Cat’s Cradle: Warhead by Andrew Cartmel
I continue my nostalgia fest with the New Adventures novels and this second volume in the Cat’s Cradle trilogy penned by former Who script editor Andrew Cartmel. I’d heard this one was a bit Marmite over the years, but I can’t see why. All the expected tropes of the Cartmel vision for the show are here; a chess-playing, manipulative Doctor stalks the periphery of the plot, whilst Ace gets to do the action stuff, including a lengthy sequence in Marmaris, where I holidayed a little later in the 90s.
Evening’s Empire by Andrew Cartmel, Richard Piers Rayner, Dan Abnett, Marc Platt, John Ridgeway
More Who 90s nostalgia with this collection of comic strip serials that graced the pages of Doctor Who Magazine in that decade. Some really good stuff here, beautifully conveyed by artists at the top of their game.
And Away… by Bob Mortimer
The long awaited memoir of Vic Reeves’ longstanding comedy partner is a little like his recent series Gone Fishing in that it is, in turn, both laugh out loud hilarious and really quite poignant. I had no idea that Bob suffered from debilitating shyness well into adulthood or that he is so down on his own talents, particularly his acting. I remember really enjoying the Reeves and Mortimer reboot of Randall and Hopkirk and felt Bob was very subtle in the role. If you have a choice, get the audiobook. It’s a bit ASMR at times, but is boosted greatly by Bob’s delivery of the comedy.
Record, Play, Pause by Stephen Morris
You’ve read Hooky’s version. You’ve read Barney’s version. Now it is time for the drummer to have his say! Honestly, a lot of the anecdotes here are so familiar I’m starting to feel like they happened to me, but that doesn’t mean this is in any way surplus. Being seemingly more naturally ambivalent than the bass player or the lead singer – he badmouths neither – Morris gives you a refreshingly unique POV of life in Joy Division and the first few formative weeks of New Order.
Number of books read so far: 44