Thank You for the Days, By Mark Radcliffe

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The Independent Culture

This memoir from the BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe begins brilliantly with a chapter in which the author recalls an encounter with his childhood heroes, Dr Feelgood. Radcliffe describes the thrill of discovering their music in the early 1970s, and the bittersweet moment when he met them 30 years later to reminisce about glory days long passed. It's a pitch-perfect opening.

Sadly, the remainder, a patchy account of Radcliffe's career in broadcasting, fails to reach the same heights, over-reliant as it is on the reflected glamour of celebrities he's met along the way. He describes in detail his interviews with rock royalty (Bowie, Jagger, McCartney) but has little to say about them: Bowie is "cool"; Jagger is "quite small"; McCartney is "amiable".

Such thin material is padded out with the author's curmudgeonly musings on life. His gripes (daytime TV, overpaid footballers) are boringly predictable, and the spectacle of Radcliffe declaiming modern Britain threatens to attract comparisons with another disgruntled, middle-aged DJ – Alan Partridge.