Monday, 15 February 2016

Street Lamps Casting Pools of light on an adventurous life

Street Lamps Casting Pools of light on an adventurous life is a book by Peter Cruttwell.

It isn't an autobiography, insists Mr Cruttwell, although it seems to me to be one of the most erudite and interesting autobiographies that I have read in recent times.

Mr Cruttwell seems to claim to be an ordinary person. Well, whilst that may be true, he has certainly lived through some extraordinary adventures.

He begins his book with an interesting diversion about his family tree and the origins of the name. Her seemed intrigued that, as well as an array of the professional classes, including academics, medical men, the clergy, lawyers, academics and publishers there were also several butchers down through the years.

His book is written in a highly engaging and humorous style. In fact the essential basic humour of Peter Cruttwell is never far away, even when he is describing events that are far from humorous. It is, I think, a good example of the British ability to take things seriously without necessarily treating them seriously.

A little bit like the adverts for the insurance company of several years ago who promised "not to make a drama out of a crisis." But I digress.

In his 452 page book he covers a bewildering array of topics, written in such a way that one seems to be peering over his shoulder as he writes a highly personal memoir.

Surviving the blitz, working as an intelligent agent in the USSR, buying a Boeing 737, becoming a miner in the Amazon, meeting a number of people who were minor or major celebrities, working as a tutor to Liza Minnelli, being accused of murder in Kosovo, the citizenship for becoming an American citizen and a brief and utterly bizarre meeting with Teddy Kennedy on a plane. And another meeting on a plane with a ruptured appendix. His own.

This book is published by Matador at £18.99. (£24.99 in hardback) You can, as ever with books that are reviewed here, buy it via our very own That's Books and Entertainment online bookshop.

I am asking you to please buy a copy of this book as it is the best autobiographical book I have read in, well, in forever!

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