Danny Baker: The Big Gob With A Thousand Stories

The BBC man has been in the news a lot recently, and he's just released a new book where he displays all his talent as a top drawer raconteur...
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The BBC man has been in the news a lot recently, and he's just released a new book where he displays all his talent as a top drawer raconteur...

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'That Danny Baker thinks he's really something doesn't he? The fecking gobshite.'

Danny was on the Jonathan Ross show plugging his book; Mum was making her displeasure known.

'No wonder the BBC got rid of him; ego the size of the 106 bus that one and the mouth to match. The cocky little sod.’

It was at this point I tried to explain they hadn't actually got rid of him, he is still on the airwaves every weekend, and that furthermore, having a public transport sized mouth might have lead him to his chosen vocation in the first place.

'Do you want your tea or not?'

Having just finished his book and feeling sturdy under foot, I suggested that Danny Baker is all of those things she dislikes and makes not the slightest hint of an apology for it. Early chapters reveal a childhood without the 'faintest whiff of the workhouse,' flinging flan directly in the face of the perceived autobiographical logic;  'happy home, abundance of friends, miracle wonder dog.'  If Danny ever found himself on the road to the workhouse, he has the good grace not to drag us through the macabre skeletons of a Dickensian sketched childhood.

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The star turn is not who you, or I, or indeed my mum thought it would be.  Danny graciously exits stage left - as bounding in from the right is a man known to most as Spud Baker (Danny's more likely to call him dad). Spud is a docker with a liberal approach to the law and its various annoyances, and it's his figure looming largest throughout. Danny sashays through the 70s; chit-chatting with Elton, camping it up with Bolan, knocking out porn to Peter Cook (not to mention taking mountains of speed with The Clash). During all of this Spud remains stoic, most likely to describe something as 'silly as arseholes' or greet anyone with the slightest foray into the world of foppish fashion with: 'Well you can fuck off for a start.' Spud has the heart of an ox and (quite literally) the mouth of a docker.

The book is riddled with great stories encased in better ones; from working at One Stop Records-by all accounts the hippest record shop in the world- to gaining a job as receptionist on the 'psychedelic pirate ship' that could only be the NME. Page numbers tumble when Danny rages against the common held misconceptions that irk him to outburst, piercing the gob-filled balloon of Punk, dispelling notions of 24-hour filth and fury by reducing it to a couple of blokes kicking their shoes around contemplating a cheese cob.

Ending at the start of a television career that would see Danny's face stretched across the nation until his nose would likely split astride the Norfolk broads, it’s hard to pick fault. So let's not. It's not always required, which is something Danny displays better than most through-out. Mum still thinks he's a gobshite though, no pleasing some people eh?


Going To Sea In A Sieve is out now.  You can buy it HERE 

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