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After wading through my incredibly factual yet rather morose Jack the Ripper book, I was up for some light entertainment which came in the form of Peter Kay's biography "The Sound of Laughter", there was a time that Peter Kay was everywhere but after Phoenix Nights, a couple of stand up videos and Max and Paddy, things really died down for a while. One of the things that was new to me was this book which I found really enjoyable.
Now you're not going to get any sordid details or scandals in this biography, after all it's Peter Kay we're talking about and his book is written in exactly the style that he delivers his spoken comedy, it's light-hearted and almost child like in some aspects, particularly as a lot of it is about his youth, growing up at a Catholic school and getting up to mischief.
Whether he's talking about his various jobs, describing oddballs that he met along the way or telling us how he pumps before interviews, it's all very daft and really easy to read, there's nothing that particularly amazing in the book but it kept me smiling throughout and I burst in to the occasional giggle much to the annoyance of my sleeping wife!
This is a big hardback book with rather large lettering and it's extremely quick to read, whilst Peter Kay is not particularly an accomplished writer, he manages to write in a fluid way that easily allows you to conjure up images of his barmy classmates and various driving instructors!
If you like Peter Kay, you'll like this.
I have to confess to being a very big fan of peter Kay and his shows. So, I took the decision to go out and purchase his auto biography. I chose to read it whilst en-route to Majorca, and all the way there I couldn't put it down. It tells a great story of his childhood and his catholic upbringing, and his work as an altar boy. It also includes many a funny goings on within school, including him dressing up as a lion and dancing, him having to create a moving craft, to which he forgot to do so, and improvised and the result was him winning. Later in the book, he writes about about he discovered his love for making people laugh. As well as this, he tells all about his working life and how he enjoyed working at MEN arena, working for Netto. He goes on to tell about his break through into the world of stand up and how he won a competition and was the best stand up. Every chapter ends with a funny line, that can't fail to make you laugh. In fact, there are several funny moments throught each chapter. And you are guranteed to be chuckling all the way through.
The title of the book really is not the true meaning of this book. I was expecting it to be written the way the public Peter Kay portrays himself as the comedian. However this book is a good insight into his childhood and the real Peter Kay. There isn't much to laugh about as the book shows that Peter really had a very normal childhood and it wasn't until he tried stand up at the age of 20 that his life starts to get a little more interesting. Most of Peter's life was doing ordinary dead end jobs which he later used as material for his stand up. Near the end of the book we appear to see the real Peter Kay as he talks about going into a competition which is being judged by Dave Spikey its nice to see him talk about the nerves he felt and the stage fright. I am hoping there will be a sequel which will be more in-depth and a little less "name dropping" than this book.
I love Peter Kay, have the pheonix nights dvds, the live stage show dvds including on top of the tower. He is so funny and being roughly the same age what he talks about reminds me of my own childhood. So how could I not like this book.
It was ok,just ok. If you are a fan like me no review will stop you reading it and it was funny in bits. However these bits were few and far between. You can excuse it not being a great literary work and I do feel he was probably telling the truth about his life. however the problem is most peoples lives are boring even great comics. Peters early life often lack direction, he had no great cunning plan and this book showed this, it stumbles from one dead end job to another roughly heading in the right direction until he stumbles on fame. This book was just ok
Peter Kay is from my home town, and so his humour has always appealed to me. I have often found myself doing things in every day life that Peter Kay often refers to in his shows and sketches. Being such a fan of Peter Kay, and being so in love with his sense of humour, I decided to buy his book 'The Sound of Laughter.'
I started reading the book on a crowded beach in Majorca, and within ten minutes I could not stop myself from laughing out loud, much to everyone else's amusement. The story of his first driving lesson had me in stitches, and I continued to be greatly amused until, I can honestly say, the end.
It is a wonderful book that has a very laid back feel to it, that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and is a refreshing change. I have never before been made to laugh out loud by a book, yet I can say that this book broke the mould.
Peter Kay is a comedy genius, and it is great to see that this wonderful intelligence about him is conveyed in his book. I definitely recommend this book, whether you are fond of his humour or not.
Although there are many mixed reviews about this book. I myself found it to be a great insight into Bolton's 'homegrown' comedian Peter Kay. I myself have never been a huge fan of My Kay but after coming across this book filled with heartwarming pictures from his past and wonderful tales of early memories, I found myself warming to his nature and understanding how his comedy is so naturally funny and unscripted. This book is definately not for those who read biographies to find out about a Star's Drug problem or dodgy dealings, it is a simple book for those wanting to get to know Peter Kay's personal background.
My favourite and most memorable moment in this autobiography is when he discusses how Drama should be an important curriculum in School as it teaches children how to be confident and self reliant. Not only does he state a fact that he believes in but I think it is something to reach anyone.
LEAST FAVOURITE PART:
The ending seemed a little abrupt almost like he was forced to finish the story.
I'm not a fan of celebrity autobiographies. I find them boring and think it's quite sad that some poor z-lister is willing to tell all about their life to make a little fast cash and extend their stay in the limelight. However, when I saw Peter Kay had released an autobiography back in 2007 I was willing to make an exception to my self imposed rule and see what the funny man had to say.
~ About the Author~
Peter Kay is an English comedian, writer and director who's famous for his work in such television shows as "Phoenix Nights", "Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere" and "Britain's Got the Pop Factor..." He has also performed sell-out stand-up tours across the UK not to mention having 5 top ten hit singles. He is a comedy all-rounder and everything the Bolton born star touches seems to turn to gold.
~Cover & Design~
The book has a real cut and paste, do it yourself kind of feel to it and is not slick but welcoming and down to earth (just like Kaye himself.) The front cover features a scene from The Sound of Music, hence the title of the book, with Peter Kay's head superimposed over that of Julie Andrew's. This is referring to the fact that Kay was taught by nuns at a catholic school for many years of his life and is a humorous start to a very funny book. On the back cover is a cute picture of the author dressed up as a lion again making us feel welcome and invited into his life story.
~The Book Itself~
Peter Kay tells us the story of his life and his journey to being one of Britain's top comedians in a wonderfully funny and original way. The book isn't written in a particularly chronological order as although we move through his life from childhood to stardom Kay does tend to jump around. This suits the style of the book making it feel informal and as though Kay is really opening up to the reader.
Each chapter has a short quite nonsensical title adding extra hilarity to proceedings. A few examples are "Catholic Intercourse," "Let's Tickle Those Balls" and "Nobody Put's Peter in a Corner." Each chapter focuses on a little story that although not often hugely important is always funny and interesting. Whilst Kay does give us the big stories such as how he got into performing arts and his first comedy gig he makes the smaller events in his life seem equally important through a wonderful method of storytelling.
In the book we learn about Peter Kay's years spent at a catholic school and the tricks he used to play on the nuns that taught him (sending them a card from Jesus on Valentines Day for example.) There are also amusing tales about his many part time jobs and the things he got up to as a young lad.
Kay's writing style is relaxed and honest and is generally quite light-hearted. As in his stand-up performances, Kay manages to make even the most mundane, every day event humorous and entertaining.
I really enjoyed reading this book and found it enjoyable and amusing. Though Kay doesn't reveal any juicy secrets or make any shocking confessions it is a very entertaining read. I felt it was almost like reading a piece of stand up comedy and there are plenty of laughs to be found within the cover. This book most definitely did not disappoint and is a must have for fans of the comic. If you need any more convincing it won the British Book Award for best biography in 2007 and has received much critical acclaim. I'm just thankful that there are some decent autobiographies to be found. After learning that Kay will release a follow up book in autumn of this year it seems I have even more to be thankful for!
Some advice: don't waste your time with this book, or at least find some other reviews before thinking of borrowing a copy and reading this. The reviews here would lead you to think this book is worth reading and even possibly purchasing, however I am looking at reviews as I have read 121 pages so far and I was starting to wonder if there was something wrong with me; I am really struggling to find the will to continue with it as it is boring, badly written and just so utterly pedestrian that I cannot understand for a minute why anyone would find it amusing or interesting. It is ridiculously mundane and he fails to convince this reader that the unfunny incidents he relates even actually occurred. I don't think I have ever before heard or read a celebrated comedian adding as a rider, as if it added to the comedy, the statement "I am joking.."! It is not even homely and heartwarming...well not so far anyway...I will forge ahead and try and finish it and will come back with loads of stars if it turns out to be a slow starter.
My wife kindly bought me this 357 page paperback knowing than I'm both an avid reader of autobiographies and a fan of Peter Kay. I was even more pleased to read, on the back cover, that this book won the British Book Award for Best Biography 2007.
Peter Kay is a hugely popular entertainer who excels at stand-up comedy, comedy acting (especially in his own inspirational shows Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy) and as a singer. I wanted to know the history of this man, how did he get to where he is today?
And now for the book......
Peter starts his story with some amusing tales of his experiences learning to drive - a theme which recurs throughout the book. He has a great talent, as is evident from his stage shows, of weaving a comical story from what, for most of us, are pretty bland, ordinary, everyday events. So, we learn about the driving instructor and their peculiarities, what TV programmes Peter was watching before he takes a driving lesson and what chores his parents were doing at the time. Mundane subject matter but Peter describes these events with such detail and passion, together with lashings of good humour, that I often had no choice but to laugh out loud (and not many books have had that effect on me).
Peter tells us about growing up in Bolton and he is obviously very proud of his Northern roots. We're told about his family, his friendships and schooling (convent Nuns included- note the Julie Andrews theme to the front cover). I particularly love his memories from the eighties - the toys he played with, TV programmes he watched and sweets/food he ate (it was a trip down memory lane, for me).
Later chapters focus on Peter's realisation that he would love to be (and has the talent to be) an actor/comedian. He takes a number of dead end jobs (which provide some great ammunition for very many extremely funny stories) before taking the plunge and enrolling for further education.
Lastly, Peter recalls entering the North West Comedian of the Year Competition 1996 which seems to be a catalyst for the magnificent career that has followed.
I found this a very easy read and one that was often difficult to put down. It would be a great book to take on holiday and to enjoy in a poolside deckchair. I'm hoping that the next instalment in the life of this marvellous man (13 years have passed since the last entry in The Sound of Laughter) will appear on bookshelves soon.
I highly recommend this book. Mr Kay writes in a very engaging manner, he calls a spade a spade and peppers his life story with, at times, side-splitting humour. His attitude to life, his dedication to his art and the down-to-earth way he conducts himself are all admirable qualities and all combine to give this book a real feelgood factor.
Peter kay is amongst the definitive British comedians of the last decade. With 2 outstanding live tours and TV shows such as Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy's Road to Know-where, he became a household name and coined many a quotable phrase (Garlic Bread?!). Lately however, he seems to be content with mailing in cameos and releasing compilation DVDs to pay the bills.
If the way out of this rut is for Pete to explore his roots, then this book would be an excellent place to start. Chronicling his early life, Pete shares events from his past and introduces us to the people who made a difference to his life and led him down the career path of one of Britain's greatest comedians.
Employing his usual observational style, it's a really down to earth look at growing up in a British working class family in the 70/80's with many tales that lots of us could relate to on some level. The silly things our mums used to do, the way our dads would take the silliest things (like setting up the first video recorder) so seriously.
Peter's Bolton schoolboy days recollections really give us a glimpse at the entertainer he would become. Of particular note, his numerous run in's with the nuns, each of whom he had nicknames for such as Sister Sledge and Sister Act 2.
And for anyone who's familiar with Peter's TV work, especially 'That Peter Kay Thing' will recognize the inspiration for several characters and scenarios in his life.
What makes this book and by extension Peter's early career so successful is that it's all subject matter that's close to his heart and he obviously has alot of enthusiasm for.
He obviously adores his family and often talks fondly of his late father.
With a recurring theme about passing his driving test, this book is really nostalgic, even if it is someone else's nostalgia.
Granted, the book can be occasionally spotty in that the stories do very occasionally get a little self indulgent, but this is easily forgivable given how funny and relatable the tales on offer are.
A great look at what makes a great comedian.
Like many I'm one of those who has developed a soft spot for Peter Kay. His stand up routines are some of the funniest I've seen by a contemporary comedian. His observational and relatively clean humour is refreshing change from the crowd of funny men who can't seem to tell a gag unless it includes at least three F words and a reference to human genitalia (Peter prefers to talk about his dog's lipstick). So the last thing I wanted to do was slag off his autobiography. Unfortunately there sure is a lot of tumbleweed blowing through the pages of 'The Sound of Laughter' and a few too many yawn inducing paragraphs that take the shine off what could have been a classic comedy autobiography.
You can't help but feel the PK has been let down by his publishers and editors. A lot of the writing, especially in the early chapters is poor and disorganised. There are a lot of spelling mistakes and bad grammar, ideas and themes unexpectedly go off in different directions and there are a lot of dull sections. It's clear that many early chapters could have been tightened up and paragraphs that should have been discarded. Kay's attempts at learning to drive is a theme that reappears throughout the text, but only manages to clumsily link the chapters together. Peter mentions that he loved his school days and it shows. He goes on far too long about his classroom antics and extra cubiculum activities and it does get tedious when you're half way through the book and you've still no idea of how he got his first break.
His improvising performance in his first school play as the Lion from Wizard of Oz an hilarious interlude during the early chapters, but Peter's attempts to be funny on the page too often fail to match the humour of the funny stories he tells. So alongside some witty stories are some pretty awful one liners. What must be one of the worst 'funny' asides in the book is when he makes a comment on an abortion and writes "At the time we all just accepted it as the norm (and I don't mean that fat bloke off Cheers)...". You might imagine Kay, with his Bolton accent and quirky facial expressions, being funny on stage with some of this material, but on the page it too often fails to translate A prerequisite comprehensive knowledge of TV shows from the 1970s and 1980s will help you with some of the humour and the many references to programmes from this era, but lines like - "He was a big burly fella, constantly tanned, like a cross between Bully from Bullseye and a fat Des O'Connor. If you can picture that, then I think you need help." - are beyond rescue.
It's not all bad though and in a strange way the errors, mistakes and bad jokes go some way to enhancing Kay's genuineness and his simplistic colloquial charm. Despite the faults there is still plenty to laugh about and I ended up laughing out loud far more than I expected, especially after reading some pretty critical reviews of this book. It's the funny stories he tells rather than his attempts at writing funny lines that make you giggle, such as one hilarious occasion early on when he is attacked by a German Shepherd dog whilst attempting to be a goal keeper at a local football match. We also get some real insights into his personality and family life when we learn about Peter's love affair with the tape recorder and how he recorded and kept conversations of friends and family members. For me the book especially picks up at chapters 9, 10 and 11 when Peter starts working at various part time jobs whilst simultaneously studying at drama school. His experiences dealing with customers at a local garage, stacking the shelves at Netto or dealing with his boss at the Cash and Carry provide many comical moments. Later, working as a cinema usherette and then as a steward at the Manchester Arena, Peter is brought closer to his career goals.
Peter's career took off when he won the title of 'North West Comedian of the Year' in 1997. This unfortunately is were the book ends. There is virtually no reference to his subsequent stand-up career and his TV shows such as That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights, and Max and Paddy's Road To Nowhere don't even get a mention - no doubt he's saving them for a later book. Despite these absences and the book's other flaws, I ended up having a good laugh at the 'The Sound of Laughter' and I still love Peter Kay. If it's a 'must buy' for Peter Kay fans, then I'd say it's a 'must borrow' for others, even if it's just to read the story about the German Shepherd dog and the hold-up at the Cash and Carry.
Garlic Bread ; Boltons best export since well ever, I started to watch peter kaye on that the pheonix nights and just thought he was hillarious then when he moved onto the max and paddy series i couldn't get enough, after watching all of his standups and tv episodes i needed some more dose of this funny man, then i saw he had a book out and just had to get it and i wasnt dissapointed, peter kays the sound of laughter had me in stiches from page one to the end with all the odd story of family and growing that we all could relate too, from his childhood and his family to friends and his jobs peter tells of all the stuff that happened to a budding entertainer in bolton, a must for all you auto biograghy fans with real down to earth honesty and a lot of humour just got to thank that peter kaye was found else i would not of read this book god bless him.
I am a colossal Peter Kay fan; I've enjoyed and purchased all of his TV shows, the famous ones such as Phoenix nights and possibly the best spin off show ever, Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere. I even liked 'That Peter Kay Thing'which many people just didn't get. His stand-up was a personal favourite of mine, so much so that if I saw somebody in the street with one of his notorious slogan t-shirts on, I would think they were the sort of person I would like to have a drink with.
However, with all the hype that was circulating Peter Kay at the time, I felt extremely disappointed particularly when he introduced his 'new' stand-up DVD live at the Manchester arena. The difference between this and the Bolton Albert Hall show that I had previously bought was that it was forty minutes shorter and a lengthy mildly amusing documentary about the 180 show tour was added on the DVD's extras. I felt betrayed. The amount of merchandise that Peter Kay was producing was increasing and I had had enough when he released Stand up U-Kay. The best bits of all his old material from his previous tours. What a con! I swore on my life that I would rather have a small dog gnawing me from toe to head then buy a Peter Kay related product again. Well guess what? I'm writing this review whilst my next door neighbour's Chihuahua has made the wise choice of deciding to start on my big toe.
I was unbelievably tempted to buy this book and once it came down to a reasonable price I had to give it a go. And I'm glad I did. What a fantastic story about how Peter became famous and the various predicaments he found himself in, in order to get there in a very competitive field.
We join the story whilst Peter is starting some driving lessons with his comical driving instructor Raymond. He tells us of all the shenanigans Raymond got up to as well as himself as the story progresses particularly whilst in school and trying to break into the big time. We hear about the mundane jobs Peter used to have like petrol station attendant and working at his local cinema complex.
None of the stories in this book are appalling or heartbreaking, but it's just about Peter Kay and his typical working class family that supported him. He gives us hope for us all.
Despite the fact that he hadn't been beaten or stoned for not bringing the washing in, he managed to keep me on the edge of my seat with the tales he told. He doesn't need to tell stories about sex or drugs but just the everyday stuff in life that people can relate to and because of this, many of his stories in this book are heart-warming and either reminds you of yourself or somebody you know. This is something that is mentioned in Alan Carr's book, Carr is a massive Kay fan, and he mentions that Peter Kay is a 'people watcher'.
Kay's observational style of writing is fantastic and is the reason why his comedy act is so unique. It is no different in this book. We read lots of new stories that he hasn't mentioned in his stand up and you really get know him through this book. His interaction with the reader is also superb and there are many laugh out loud moments.
As this book is in the first person it means that we have access to all of Peter Kay's thoughts and feelings. This makes it many times better than the biography wrote by Johnny Dee. However, if you are interested in Peter Kay's latest projects then the biography is the one for you as the big disappointment in this book is that the stories Kay writes about don't go past the turn of the century. Barely anything is mentioned about his hit TV shows like Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere. I would have been very interested to know what went on behind the scenes on those projects and any amusing stories that went with it.
Something that can be a major problem in writing autobiographies is not having the literacy skills in order to be able write in an interesting and free flowing style. Thankfully this is not an issue here as Peter writes exceptionally well, painting vivid pictures and using a variety of informal and formal language. The dialogue in this autobiography is witty, quirky, humourous and it even feels like an audio book as everything said has Peter Kay written all over it.
Something that is frequently over looked and not given enough credit are the book jackets of some of the books out there. I think that on this particular occasion whoever made the front cover has excelled. It's a fantastic interpretation and reflection of the book title.
This book is brilliant. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it and have read it three times from cover to cover. It will undoubtedly be one that I will dig out on plane and car journeys. Despite the disappointment of it finishing too early, there is still enough substance there for it to be a highly entertaining read. One thing I will say is that Northern people will more likely be entertained by Peter Kay's style of humour than a southerner.
I find it quite ironic that Peter Kay had sat on his backside re-releasing old material and receiving much deserved criticism in the process. However, he has managed to convert me back armed with a laptop, a cup of tea and I should imagine a comfortable chair.
I have read both the official autobiography and the unofficial autobiography.
Now the official one is a great read as PK's humour shines through and parts of the book had me crying with laughter at some of the stories.
The only thing which I was miffed at is how the story ends before he became famous. As another reviewer has commented, this maybe the clever idea of bringing out a 2nd autobiography in a few years time, charting his rise to fame.
The unofficial autobiography charts PK's entire life up until the present day, which I found very interesting. Much that was in the unofficial autobiography is found in this book.
If you are wanting the true PK humour then buy this book, it is funny and will make you laugh. If you are after the full story of PK up until the present day then buy the unofficial one.
In a way the books are very different. This was the funny one, the other unofficial one the factual one.
A funny read this book, and any PK fan will love it.
The Sound of Laughter is the autobiography of arguably Britain's favourite comedian Peter Kay. Peter Kay has become a veritable cash cow in the world that he calls Show as everything he touches seems to turn to comedy gold. It was therefore, somewhat inevitable that an autobiography would hit the shelves amid the wave of hype.
Now I profess, I am a big fan of Peter Kay. His comedy touches my Northern soul in a way that few comedians can match. His routines about top loading videos, Bullseye and recording the top forty strike a chord with me and for this reason I can watch his sitcoms and stand up routines repeatedly. However, I did not have high hopes for The Sound of Laughter. It would be all too easy to rush out an autobiography proclaiming Kay's genius and harping on about his meteoric rise from Bolton lad to potential comedy great. Fortunately, the autobiography is not as bad as I imagined it would be.
Large sections of The Sound of Laughter are dedicated to Kay's growing up, with much of the book dedicated to his family and school life and his early forays into the workplace. Kay's writing style is largely conversational and this is evident in his tendency to flit from one topic to another. This makes for a very natural read although it is also a bit messy. Kay is honest about his upbringing and does not take the easy route of pretending he came from a particularly impoverished childhood. He makes it clear that although he considers himself working class, his comedy exaggerates on his family life and this is clear from the affectionate tone he adopts throughout.
Kay does have a tendency to wax lyrical about some of the more mundane areas of his life and if, like myself you were expecting this to be an autobiography of non-stop hilarity you are in for disappointment. Parts of the book such as Kay's efforts to learn to drive are given great emphasis by him and are obviously important parts of his life. However, what is interesting to him becomes dull to this reader and at times I wished he would just get on with it and get to the next bit.
This is definitely not a book of revelations (that's the Bible). However, it is a close look at Kay's life thus far. You will learn how he discovered his talent for comedy from a young age and how he got to were he is today and it is an interesting journey. Although, this is not a hilarious novel akin to his stand-up material it is witty and you can tell that he has had a wealth of experiences to draw his comedy from. His stories about working in a cash and carry and his first part in the theatre make for amusing reading and these sections would certainly appeal to fans.
The Sound of Laughter is a book aimed primarily at Kay's biggest fans as although it is entertaining, it is also unashamedly self indulgent. Those who lap up Kay's reflections on growing up on a diet of French Fancies and Highway to Heaven will enjoy this far more than I did and on that basis, I recommend it. I classed myself as a big fan before reading this but perhaps I should re-assess that now. I enjoyed it but I would not read it again and there was little new or insightful to be had here. Perhaps, one to borrow from the library rather than buy.
Peter Kay's unerring gift for observing the absurdities and eccentricities of family life has earned himself a widespread, everyman appeal. These vivid observations coupled with a kind of nostalgia that never fails to grab his audience's shared understanding, have earned him comparisons with Alan Bennett and Ronnie Barker. In his award winning TV series', he creates worlds populated by degenerate, bitter, useless, endearing and always recognisable characters which have attracted a huge and loyal following. In many ways, he's an old fashioned kind of comedian and the scope and enormity of his fanbase reflects this. He doesn't tell jokes about politics or sex, but rather rejoices in the far funnier areas of life: elderly relatives and answering machines, dads dancing badly at weddings, garlic bread and cheesecake, your mum's HRT...His autobiography is full of this kind of humour and nostalgia, beginning with Kay's first ever driving lesson, taking him back through his Bolton childhood, the numerous jobs he held after school and leading up until the time he passed his driving test and found fame.