Stalin Ate My Homework, By Alexei Sayle
Never mind the Beatles...this is the Red Army Choir
Sunday 10 July 2011
The comedy boom of recent years has led to a glut of dull autobiographies by stand-ups eager to cash in on their celebrity.
Michael McIntyre's insipid bestseller Life and Laughing is a case in point. One could be forgiven, then, for approaching Alexei Sayle's Stalin Ate My Homework with trepidation, but this touching, elegantly written memoir stands out from the dross.
Sayle grew up in a "two-thirds Jewish atheist communist family" in Sixties Liverpool, and he looks back on his unconventional youth with comic bewilderment. "I was an oddly wired-together child," he recalls. No wonder – while his friends were going mad for the Beatles, Alexei's mother insisted that he listen to the Red Army Choir instead.
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
- 2 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it's not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
- 5 Paracetamol Challenge: Mother of girl killed by overdose pleads with teenagers to ignore 'craze'
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman
Suicide Squad: leaked footage shows first look at Batmobile chasing Joker through city streets
Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show's most iconic characters just met
ASAP Rocky sparks outrage with misogynistic lyrics about Rita Ora in new song 'Better Things'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote