David Mitchell: Back Story Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Shortlisted for: Biography/Autobiography of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.
As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:
- The singular, pit bull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’)
- The curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm
- Why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink
- The pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds
- The satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide
- How doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica
- Trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding
- That he has fallen in love a LOT, but rarely done anything about it
- Why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday
- That he’s not David Mitchell the novelist, despite what David Miliband might think
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 25 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||11 October 2012|
|Publisher||HarperCollins Publishers Limited|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 1,730 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
7 in Comedy (Audible Books & Originals)
8 in Comedy (Books)
41 in Performing Arts (Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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David spoke to me.
And I loved it.
Top reviews from other countries
David uses a nice device to act as the backdrop through his pretty much chronological memory of the stages his life moved through. It turns out that he, like myself, enjoys a good walk, in his case for differing reasons, partly because of the need to stay on top of his propensity to put on too much weight if he's not careful to exercise sufficiently, but also because he simply enjoys the practice. As a result he gives the mental image of taking a walk from where he was living at the time of writing the book, (Kilburn), down through Hampstead and its environs, Belsize Park, Abbey Road, Primrose Hill, Regents Park etc etc, while recalling the major incidents of his life story along the way. I enjoyed the walk with him very much.
He covers his school days, his initially failed attempt to get into Oxford, before Cambridge eventually took him in instead and then, in common with so may of his peers, the entry into Footlights, the performing at numerous Smokers and then the Edinburgh Festival, and so on, before he eventually made it on to the BBC with, once again, so many others who've trod the same path and already regaled us with the details.
And that's where the world-weary familiarity kicked in for me. Quite simply, although as I say I like David and in particular his fabulous rants, I've simply heard far too many versions of essentially the same story from Stephen, Emma, and many others going all the way back to Peter Cook's day. They all recount that they didn't really attend many, if indeed any, lectures and just used their time at Oxbridge to get a foothold into and establish connections by which to join the others who've preceded them. I'm not denying the talent of any of them, just expressing my boredom at hearing it over and over again.
So sorry, but because of all that in my own mini-rant, I've only awarded 4 stars and not the maximum.
Anyway, it was a pittance well spent. If you like Mr Mitchell - and obviously you must do in order to purchase this book - you will greatly enjoy his recounting of his life. Entertaining, informative, well-written and honest. He comes across in print as he comes across on the telly, which is intelligent, funny and thoughtful. In short, a decent man who surely nobody could begrudge him his great success.
Structured around an imaginary walk around London, designed to help ease his back pain, the narrative sees Mitchell link various landmarks to key moments in a life whose principal focus has been to develop a career in comedy. Those who are familiar with his TV persona will recognise the combination of nerdy erudition and ranting exhibitionism.
Starting with tales of middle-class life in middle England, he takes us via Cambridge University and Footlights, to his celebrated partnership with Robert Webb, and their rise to fame - which might have seemed rapid to the outside observer (they became TV regulars while still in their twenties), but was, from their perspective, painfully slow.
With moments ranging from the hilarious (e.g. young David reluctant to answer his parents doorbell because he was embarrassed about the home-made kingly regalia he was wearing at the time) to the moving (the long yearning for his eventual wife, Victoria Coren), this is a consistently entertaining read, proudly fixated on the trivial - his thoughts on weightier matters can be found elsewhere.
Anyone wishing to gain an insight into the peculiarly English combination of self-deprecation and egotism, awkwardness and loudness, emotional constipation and profound insight, could do much worse than start here.
Still, can't grumble because a man isn't somebody else and this is competently written.