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That bloke wot wrote 3 Lions
Frank Skinner Autobiography - Frank Skinner
Member Name: gillyman
Frank Skinner Autobiography - Frank Skinner
Date: 06/07/03, updated on 06/07/03 (132 review reads)
Advantages: Bloody funny
Disadvantages: probably more bloke orientated
Friday morning, I sat down by the beach in the blazing sunshine and opened Frank Skinner's daringly titled autobiography "Frank Skinner" - amazing how creative these comedy geniuses can get. Anyway, I very quickly found myself attracting strange looks as I cackled away. Its now Sunday morning and I've finished it already (it took Frank 6 months apparently - slow reader!) This doesn't happen too often but when it does, its a pretty good sign of a really good read.
For those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out why you know the name, Frank is perhaps most famous for being the ugly one on Fantasy Football League, 4 series of which were produced to great acclaim in the mid nineties. In addition, together with his comedy partner David Baddiel (the better looking one), and Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds, he is responsible for writing one of the greatest football anthems ever - Three Lions - you know the one: "Its coming home, its coming home, its coming, football's coming home" - yes that one. So popular its been to number 1 twice in 2 different versions (Bohemian Rhapsody needed over 20 years and the death of Freddie Mercury to achieve the same feat).
In telling his story, Skinner employs a prose style which I can best describe as being like one of his monologues - if you read it with a Brummie accent, particularly the gags, you can really hear him chatting away. The book is deliberately non-chronological so that the reader is not left waiting for its subject to become famous. Thus we find Skinner's working class childhood juxtaposed with the success of his later years. It is a style that works well although Skinner expresses his concern every now and then that the reader might be getting bored. Maybe this lack of security is due to the fact that this is his first book but it is totally unwarranted. The rags to riches genre is generally interesting and when, as in this case, it includes a childhoo
full of colourful characters, misbehaviour at and ultimately expulsion from school and a decade lost in the writer's memory due to the ravages of alcohol, it is generally going to be the source of a good number of amusing anecdotes.
In particular Skinner waxes on the great loves of his life; football (in particular a tragic love of West Bromwich Albion), Elvis and sex (in particular of the anal variety). In effect he comes over as a bloke with whom you could quite happily while away the hours with, talking about the merits of 3-5-2 as opposed to 4-4-2, trading opinions on music and chatting about the opposite sex in a knowing, laddish way. At the same time, he points out that he hasn't had a drink since September 1987 and is a (semi) practising Roman Catholic at a time when admitting to being so is likely to draw dirty looks - so he's hardly the new lad that he has often been made out to be.
Skinner comes over as being a bit like a slightly weedy kid in class who learned lots of jokes to avoid getting the shit kicked out of him but then took things one stage further, got lucky very quickly (although not without a hell of a lot of hard work) and now has to keep pinching himself to believe that its really true. I say good luck to him - he has a talent for making people laugh and anyone who has made me laugh as much and as heartily as he has done over the years deserves to reap the fruits.
Some bloke once said "fact is stranger than fiction" - that's why I prefer reading fact. Although this is a fairly standard rags to riches tale, it is told very well, with a lot of humour and plenty of nob gags. It had me tittering away throughout and I can only heartily recommend it as a result.
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