Monday, 20 October 2014

Book #46

We Need to Talk About...by Kevin Bridges

Aged just 17, Kevin Bridges walked on stage for the first time in a Glasgow comedy club and brought the house down. He only had a five-minute set but in that short time he discovered that he really could earn a living from making people laugh. Kevin began life as a shy, nerve-ridden school-boy, whose weekly highlights included a cake-bombing attack by the local youths. Reaching his teens, he followed his true calling as the class clown, and was soon after arrested for kidnapping Hugh Grant from his local cinema on a quiet Saturday night. This was a guy going somewhere - off the rails seeming most likely.

I was lucky enough to attend the book signing in Glasgow for this brand new autobiography. As you're all no doubt well aware of by now, I'm not a non-fiction girl by any stretch. Autobiographies are to me what Kindles are to Ray Bradbury, however Kevin Bridges is our national treasure and I was excited to read this one. 

It would be easy to assume, as I did, that this would be a story packed full of laughs, pranks, and high-quality humour, however Bridges takes a far more serious line with his narrative. Although the jokes are there, along with some pretty hilarious anecdotes that made me laugh pretty loudly on a quiet train, we learn about what the 'wee dick' was like before he turns into the 'big dick'.

Bridges admits early on in the book that he was a horribly anxious and self-aware child; one who was paranoid about everything, but in particular, what others thought of him. We're then taken with him on his journey of overcoming these fears and pushing himself to achieve his dreams.

The book takes us up to the first gig at the SECC in 2010, and stops there. The first half of the story focuses on his school days, his life as the class clown, and subsequently trying to make a living in the real world, hating every menial retail job he did. The second half speaks to us of his rise to stardom, making it in Glasgow, then making it across the UK, finally becoming the superstar he is now. Bridges really conveyed how this wasn't all glitter and giggles; in parts he makes trying to make it on the comedy circuit sound absolutely horrific. Talking to a crowd of five, all of whom were ignoring you, or sleeping in your own pish would definitely put me off it, but his work ethic really shone through as he did gigs for free just so he could polish up his set for next time.

I felt quite nostalgic in the earlier stages of the book, being the same age as Bridges and growing up in a similar area. I particularly loved how supportive his family came across to be, the obvious love they had in the house, and how grateful and humble Bridges sounded throughout the whole thing. It's clear he feels he wouldn't be in the position he is today without the support of his family, and I think that says a lot about the person he is, and the people he has in his life.

Bridges appeal to the masses is his incredibly relatability, and this comes across well in these pages, along with the feeling that he's just a genuinely nice guy. A gorgeous story of an ascent into dreamlike aspirations, this is a must for any fan of oor Kev.

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