Roger McGough is one of Britain’s best-loved poets, and something of a national institution. His name is ubiquitous with matter-of-fact Scouse humour, easy-going charm, and perfect observations of the idiosyncrasies of everyday life, whether you know him from his poetry, or from his regular broadcasts on television or radio.
Roger first rose to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop group The Scaffold, who had two number one hits – Thank U Very Much and Lily The Pink. He began his poetry career performing with The Grimms, alongside fellow Liverpool poets Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, with whom he went on to publish The Mersey Sound, which remains the biggest-selling British poetry book ever.
This is his autobiography – and like the best of his poetry it is packed full of hilarious observations, unbelievable stories, nostalgic reminiscences and bittersweet tales of love, life and loss. From his memories of growing up in Liverpool, playing in bombed out houses as a young boy, to the skiffle-crazed days of his adolescence, through to his time at university – and his meetings there with Larkin. He explores his sudden, almost overnight fame and success with Mike McCartney et all in The Scaffold, as well as his time working with George Martin, and co-writing the Yellow Submarine film script for the Beatles, through his international touring days, to the present.
He certainly has many a story to tell about meeting some fascinating characters: Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Alan Ginsberg, Pete McCarthy and Salman Rushdie all appear amongst others, but it’s his sheer story-telling nous, and his gift for observing the minutia of everyday life, and to completely capture a moment in time which sets this apart from other books.
His life story is one that will be universally identifiable to those who grew up with him – who embraced the verve and irreverence of the sixties, only to end up as slightly embittered romantic cynics. This is done here in the most funny, poignant, bittersweet, and melancholic autobiography you will read this year – a man whose hugely popular take on it all resonates with honesty and humour.