Tag Archives: Autobiography

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

28 Nov

Eric Idle was always my favourite Python. His quick wit and way with words delighted me since I first watched any Monty Python.

His memoirs, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography”, are a delight. Self deprecating in a typically English way, but refreshingly honest and upfront. He doesn’t hide from his mistakes, or blame others, which makes a change from a lot of other celebrity memoirs.

The book is also the history of a song. The wonderful “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” first performed in “Life of Brian”. It has become the number one funeral song in the UK, and if you know the song, it’s easy to understand why. When I was fighting for my own life in hospital earlier this year, some of the words almost became a mantra to me.

I encountered the song before I saw the movie. My first year in high school we had a headmaster who always started the assemblies with a piece of classical music. One day the seventh form decided to sabotage him and swapped out his chosen piece of pompous boredom for “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. My enduring memory of this occasion is the majority of the other teachers trying not to laugh out loud. Few succeeded.

This is a gloriously delicious book. The best memoir I have read this year.

The Newsman: 60 Years of Televisions

27 Nov

The memoirs of veteran Australian newsreader Mal Walden were always going to be an interesting read.  I just wasn’t expecting it to be so interesting that I sat up late on Saturday night until I’d finished it, because I couldn’t bear to put it down.

A deeply absorbing look at the early years of news in Melbourne, Australia, and at the life of Mal Walden.

Big stories that I remember from my childhood, like the Balibo Five, and Cyclone Tracy, hit me just as hard as the more recent ones I’ve lived through, like Black Saturday.

I freely admit that I stopped watching television news when Mal retired.  He had a joyful presence on air that made you feel that, even though the world was going to hell in a hand basket, it would eventually all turn out okay.

“The Newsman” is a must read for every student of current affairs, and anyone interested in the history of television.

Highly recommended.

Furiously Happy

10 Apr

“Furiously Happy” is the second book by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess dealing with her life coping with mental illness.

I have to say, first off, I really admire Jenny.  She has balls, honesty, frankness, and one of the most twisted senses of humour on the planet.

For a book about someone dealing with mental illness, I was reduced to tears of hysterical laughter far too many times.  So many times that it felt almost wrong to be laughing.

The sections on her trip to Australia, and the voodoo vagina, both left me breathless with laughter.

I cannot recommend “Furiously Happy” highly enough.  It is both entertaining and thought provoking.  If you, or someone in your life, is dealing with mental illness, I suggest you read this.  It will help.  If only to give you a sense of perspective.

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