Small point: for some reason the cover, unlike the first two, doesn’t mention the words “autobiography” or “Volume 3”.
Anyway, I have been looking forward to reading this book for a year. If it had followed the autobiographical arc of Baker’s first two volumes it would have come out in time for Christmas 2016.
But that was when he went into the jungle.
Spoiler: If you are looking for I’m a Celebrity tales in this book you will look in vain. The programme doesn’t get a mention.
Volume 1 – Going to Sea in a Sieve – was hysterical. I had a train carriage giggling away as I couldn’t restrain my peals of laughter.
Baker began the second volume – Going Off Alarming – by saying he wouldn’t be delving into all the television shows he worked on.
I was looking forward to that.
On to volume 3 and stories about Hughie Green (foul-mouthed and eccentric) and David Bowie (used to hang around in south London).
Danny’s dad Fred known as Spud – the hero of Volume 1 – is back and the stories about him are probably the best part of the book. He would have been a shoo-in for Gogglebox had it existed in those days of just three channels.
Spud dies in this volume but if you want a brief glance of the man, go to YouTube and search out Danny’s This Is Your Life.
In the book he reveals that his wife Wendy has a theory that those couples who pile on the PDAs on This Is Your Life are destined for divorce. The Bakers were obviously keen to not test this theory as they barely look at each other during the show, let alone hold hands.
Naturally, a good portion of the book is taken up with Danny’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, which thankfully proved successful.
Danny has to be measured for a special mesh mask that he has to wear for the radiotherapy treatment. The mask is then bolted down so he cannot move his head even a millimetre while the lasers do their work. When he arrives for the first treatment, one other man is coughing his lungs up. After the first dose, he wonders what all the fuss is about. Three weeks in, he is exhibiting the same symptoms as the man.
Even in this bleak situation, Danny finds humour. He can’t sleep with a light on or noise so having to spend nights at the hospital as an outpatient is hellish for him.
He persuades the nurses to let him sleep in a waiting room returning to the ward in the morning. When his fellow patients ask where’s been, he tells them: “Home.”
The book has some gossipy bits (Jonathan Ross and Chris Evans can’t stand the sight of each other and Danny got £5,000 for each episode of TFI Friday), some fun bits, some moving bits and some sad bits.
For me it is better than Going Off Alarming but pales in comparison to Going to Sea in a Sieve.
To use a music analogy, there’s always that second difficult album and baker overcame that but with Going Off Alarming but his third release hasn’t quite reached the dizzy heights of the platinum first album.