In the interests of surrealism, I print below three current customer reviews on amazon.co.uk of I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake, the autobiography of comedian Malcolm Hardee.
It is, tragically now out of print.
The customer reviews are followed by Amazon’s current ‘product description’ of the book.
I think Amazon may have some computer issues.
I am doing nothing about it, because I think Malcolm would have approved
MOST HELPFUL CUSTOMER REVIEWS
I’ve read loads of comedy books which reference the life and career of Malcolm Hardee so I wanted to read his story in the first person (well, first person and ghostwriter anyway… so although it’s now sadly out of print I purchased this from one of Amazon’s excellent sellers. Hardee pulls no punches, he fully admits that he’s a bad ‘un and hailing from roughly the same area in South London suburbs (as did fellow comic Simon Day, someone with whom he shares a lot of common ground with) I can picture many of the scenes he describes. I also saw Hardee MCing at his ‘Up The Creek’ club in the 90s, arriving on stage to the strains of ‘Mr Big Stuff’ by Jean Knight.
But I digress, the book is a rollocking read and tells how he swapped the horrors of borstal and prison for a life of comedy and performance. I’d recommend anyone to look up the balloon dance on the internet to witness how amusing it was, ditto the ‘banger up the rear’ routine. It takes the reader on a journey of how he became a stand-up performer within the ‘greatest show on legs’ troupe, his touring, drinking, womanising, electioneering and generally being a bit of a dodgy promotor/agent to other acts. There’s also fond memories expressed of other acts such as Jo Brand (a former lover), Jerry Sadowicz, Arthur Smith and countless others. Some of the anecdotes, including the titular theft of Mr Mercury’s Birthday Cake were pithy and well told.
In conclusion: a great book written a decade before Hardee’s sad demise in his beloved Thames – he drowned whilst intoxicated on his ‘Wibbly Wobbly Pub’ barge, allegedly still holding on tight to the beer bottle. A tragic end for such a local character.
My father (a bit of a comedy buff) throughly enjoyed this book! A little piece of comedy history and an amazing insight into the Malcolm Hardie’s incredible life and journey. Shame that since it is out of print that I was second hand, but well worth it regardless.
An enjoyable read. Full of cheeky chappies and crazy anecdotes guaranteed to generate random fits of laughter. Malcolm was a lovable rogue who liked to show his knob a lot!
‘I enjoyed this book, and got a lot of good ideas from it’
– Chris Kilby, PGCE student
‘An essential read for all trainee teachers… covers the literature and puts a strong emphasis on the how’
– Sarah Davies, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
‘This book guides you through a process of looking at your own teaching and properly building in some of the many new techniques it outlines. This book does not provide a magic wand, it instead provides a mirror onto one’s own practice and allows you to make real, lasting improvements in the classroom’
‘This book will provide ideas that motivate that most difficult of audiences, the teenager. It works well because it is broken down into quick ideas that can easily be built on to existing plans’
‘This book’s authors are both experienced classroom teachers with impressive CVs, immediately instilling faith that they will know what they are talking about and that they are giving advice and ideas about things they have actually done’
– Debbie Redshaw