the guardian Tue 25 October 2011
I found myself wondering if this book were an extended parody. Would anyone seriously describe one of their interviewees as "small, very attractive and rippling with an innate sexuality that would be the envy of the boob tube generation"? Why would a collector of memories of Spike Milligan include a facsimile of a thank you card she had received from his mother? But no, this book is not meant to be comic. Farnes was Milligan's manager and agent for many years and has already written a biography of the man who was plainly her hero despite the demands he made of her. Here she records the recollections of people who knew him. Many of them are, inevitably, very famous themselves, but some of these accounts are rambling and incoherent, and supposedly hilarious or revealing anecdotes do not always survive the retelling. There are interesting glimpses of the brilliance, rudeness and generosity of a turbulent man, whom many acclaim as a genius. The more analytical pieces by Stephen Fry and Jonathan Miller are thought-provoking. But this is strictly for fans.