Between the Stops: The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain's best-loved celebrities - a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly 40 years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star - is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.
'Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It's about a bus trip really, because it's my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work - at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It's not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it's the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it's my way'.
From London facts including where to find the blue plaque for Una Marson, 'The first black woman programme maker at the BBC', to discovering the best Spanish coffee under Southwark's railway arches; from a brief history of lady gangsters at Elephant and Castle to memories of climbing Mount Sinai and, at the request of a fellow traveller, reading aloud the Ten Commandments; from the story behind Pissarro's painting of Dulwich Station to performing in Footlights with Emma Thompson; from painful memoires of being sent to Coventry while at a British boarding school to thinking about how Wombells Travelling Circus of 1864 haunts Peckham Rye; from anecdotes about meeting Prince Charles, Monica Lewinsky and Grayson Perry to Bake-Off antics; from stories of a real and lasting friendship with John McCarthy to the importance of family and the daunting navigation of the Zambezi River in her father's canoe, this Sandi Toksvig-style memoir is, as one would expect and hope, packed full of surprises.
A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because, as Sandi says, 'Some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep'.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 30 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||31 October 2019|
|Publisher||Hachette Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 12,700 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
26 in LGBTQ+ Biographies (Audible Books & Originals)
46 in LGBTQ+ Biographies (Books)
117 in Biographies of Women (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from Australia
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The book made me laugh and cry in equal measure. And how wonderful to have her read it to me. I feel privileged.
Sandi Toksvig has been through some not-great things in her life, but I think at the end of the day, I think she has had a very interesting life indeed! She has had some incredible adventures, met some amazing people and has met the love of her life. It made me very sad to read about some of her experiences though, especially at boarding school.
This is book which gives you insights into Sandi herself, her upbringing (her dad sounds a lot like mine, and I love that), and her battles to be seen. Clearly, she is a feminist and she works hard to stand up for others who may not have a voice. She is compassionate but also pragmatic. I think if I met her, I would like her a lot. As well as that, she gives us a lot of information about London and it makes me want to get on that Number 12 bus myself! On the top, at the front, on the right-hand side, of course :)
4.5 stars from me.
This is not really in any particular order so can be dipped in and out. You don't have to necessarily read it in one go. Not my usual type/style of memoir-but it's something a bit different, refreshing, it's good to change things. It can be a little rambling at times, but still amusing and enjoyable. Interesting facts and history are incorporated along the way. An intelligent offering, as I expected from this remarkable lady.
Top reviews from other countries
She comes across in the book with an ego as big as her No. 12 bus and absolutely convinced of her righteousness in all matters. But she believes this is redeemed by her saintliness and her many acts of kindness to so many people. And she is obsessive in her hatred of men: men bad, womankind good. Except, of course, for "my darling papa" who is constantly referenced in the book for his achievements and wondrousness. Interestingly, her mother barely gets a mention - other than at the end when she thanks her for having her!
Some of the historical facts about London are interesting - a la QI - but inevitably mostly end up proving the worthlessness of men and bigging up women.
I did manage to finish the book despite the goo but I have now seen a totally different side of Sandi. The book is only recommended for those with strong stomachs.
Sandi takes the no. 12 right from the beginning of its route at Dulwich Plough to its end at Oxford Circus, from where it's but a hop, skip and a jump to Broadcasting House, her nominal place of work at Portland Place. So you could say it's her daily commute, except that she obviously doesn't have to travel by bus, she does it by choice; sitting in her favourite seat (top right, at the front) she can travel largely unrecognised and soak up the historic scenery. At each stop she treats us to a little nugget of local history along with a chapter from her own life story – something that has a connection (however tenuous) to the train of thought inspired by the location. This means that the memories come in no particular order, so the effect is a bit jerky but it does work in an odd sort of way – at least, it works for someone who knows the no.12 bus route, don't know how it would go down with someone who has no means of visualising the journey!
Sandi's life story is full of adventure and travel and courage and also a fair amount of privilege. She talks much about her beloved father, an eminent Danish broadcaster who at one point in his career 'was' Danish television, and whose career took his family to Africa and America before finally settling in his wife's native country, Britain. 'We were not rich by any means', she says, but by most people's standards it's very apparent that they were; right from childhood she was very well travelled, and we read anecdotes from Sudan, Israel and America as well as Sandi's native Scandinavia, where she and her wife Debbie spent their honeymoon. There was an unhappy spell at a posh girls' boarding school in Surrey where all pupils had to don white gloves whenever they exited the premises; and an unequally unhappy University experience at Girton College, Cambridge. But then came Sandi's fascinating career journey, from assistant lighting engineer at the Palace Theatre to broadcaster, comedienne and all-round National Treasure, via radio, stand-up comedy, QI, Bake-Off and multiple award ceremonies. She recalls being forced to come out in full glare of the public at a time when it was definitely not fashionable to be a lesbian (this was the era of Section 28) and speaks poignantly of her quest for love and her experiences of (non biological) motherhood. And being a founder member of the Women's Equality Party she ferrets out some wonderful snippets of women's history as the Number 12 bus winds its way through South London, highlighting the achievements of forgotten female artists, businesswomen, philanthropists and local characters. A great read, entertaining, moving and instructive by turns.
You get the picture.
I've not got the chance to read as yet. But if the laughing coming from the other side of the bed is anything to judge it by.. It must be a good read.