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Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography…

Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography

by Danny Baker

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Love him or hate him, Mr. Baker is a brilliant raconteur and this first volume of memoirs is a rattling good read.

Baker has lived a life that, if you made it up, would have been thrown out for being just too unbelievable. From a tough, yet happy childhood in Rotherhithe (no tortured childhood here, this is most definitely not a misery memoir), Baker left school at 16 and fell into a series of jobs that only the greatest of good fortune could provide.

Working in a record shop in the early 70's where regular customers included Marc Bolan and Elton John; starting the quintessential punk fanzine, Sniffin' Glue, with Mark Perry of ATV; landing a job as receptionist at the NME and then joining the staff as a writer; going on tour with Ian Dury and the Blockheads; interviewing Michael Jackson just at the point where he went from star to superstar; landing work on television with apparently no real effort.

Yet Baker comes across as a man who takes all this in his stride and never takes anything for granted. He certainly doesn't have an inflated ego. The friends and contacts he made in each job ended up opening doors for him because, under it all, he's basically a Nice Bloke.

The most touching part of the book is where he finally gets it together with the love of his life, Wendy, who he's now been married to for over 30 years.

A chancer indeed, but its a harsh critic who would not raise a smile at some of the antics that Baker and his family and friends got up to.

Immensely readable, laugh out loud funny in places, and very entertaining. I can't wait for volume two! ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
About twenty years ago I used to enjoy Danny Baker's early morning show on BBC Radio 5. He had an entertaining sense of humour and dispersed his autodidactic wisdom with great élan.

I was, therefore, looking forward to this volume of autobiography, though it never quite managed to deliver. There were certainly a lot of amusing stories, and I particularly enjoyed reading about his time working at the famous One Stop record shop in Soho which yielded amusing accounts of meeting Marc Bolan and Queen.

The prose is hurried and seems unfinished. The strongest impression that I received was that Baker had hurriedly jotted down some anecdotes, probably with a view to polishing them for publication later on. It seems, however, that he never got around to doing the polishing and allowed the book out in a decidedly slipshod state.

Certainly very amusing, but not the book it might have been. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Oct 16, 2015 |
While for some Danny Baker is a slightly annoying type who has made a career in UK broadcasting out of being a sort of professional semi-intelligent oik, for me he is a personal favourite, and a welcome and irreverent bastion of intelligent quippery, good musical taste, and most of all how to have complete fun with the British people who tune in to his (now) weekly radio show. Trading in a charming blend of amusing audience contributions with a cheeky repartee backed by a musical bed of cartoonish sound affects and mood music, his show appeals to a certain silly British sensibility equally at home with the likes of Spike Milligan )and all the Goons for that matter,) or a Ronnie Barker if you prefer. If nothing else, he is probably the best interviewer of musicians and singers going in the business on this side of the pond.

I was happily surveying street trees in Ealing a few years ago - happy chiefly because of Danny's then daily afternoon show on BBC Radio London coming through my earphones; it was the last day of his Halloween spooky specials - when to my horror, the listeners learnt straight from the horse's mouth that the BBC in their infinite wisdom had effectively sacked the man who single-handedly constituted the best thing about the whole station. Danny defiantly berated and humiliated the bigwigs responsible while delivering a faultless performance at the microphone for the ensuing two hours of his last show with that station.

The period covered in this first volume of his memoirs includes his lively and generally happy childhood in working class south London of the 1960s and '70s, as well as his working at one of London's pioneering independent record shops - where the likes of Elton John and Marc Bolan were regulars on first name terms. Then came his entree to the world of music journalism: a DIY punk fanzine leading to a job with the (then relevant) New Musical Express before his first forays into TV broadcasting. I will be on the lookout for his second volume, which covers his further career in television, before finding his best calling (my opinion) in radio and bringing the story up to date.

With his simple and immediate writing style he brings to life the atmosphere of life in 1970s England, and in particular the musical soundtrack to that era. Full of great stories and plenty of fun and laughs, this is a very entertaining read for all, and a must for any of his admirers. ( )
2 vote Polaris- | Apr 26, 2015 |
Danny Baker's biography is a great read. Told chronologically, it's great fun. Looking forward to getting part two! ( )
  cbinstead | Feb 3, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0297863401, Hardcover)

Danny Baker was born in Deptford, South East London in June 1957, and from an early age was involved in magazine journalism, with the founding of fanzine Sniffin' Glue alongside friend Mark Perry. From there he moved to documentary series for LWT and over the years worked on a variety of quiz shows (Win, Lose or Draw, Pets Win Prizes, TV Heroes), as well two television commercials which made him a household name—Daz and Mars Bars. With a number of guest appearences on comedy shows such as Have I Got News For You, Shooting Stars, and Room 101, Danny has also presented on BBC Radio since 1989. Most recently he presents a weekday show on BBC London 94.9 and a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live. This book charts Danny's showbiz career, the highs and lows, and everything in between, including the accusation that he killed Bob Marley.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:27 -0400)

Danny Baker was born in Deptford, South East London in June 1957, and from an early age was involved in magazine journalism, with the founding of fanzine 'Sniffin' Glue', alongside friend Mark Perry. This is a biography of his life and career in television and radio.… (more)

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