This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities – a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty 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’.
I have a mixed relationship with the celebrity autobiography. They’re usually a stream of well-worn anecdotes filtered through a ghost writer. Or they’re a self-congratulatory look at just how right the author is about everything. Luckily, “Between The Stops” is neither of those things. It is a potted history of London, early and modern feminism, and the author’s life.
Yes, there are some self-deprecating showbiz name-dropping. And the requisite amount of soul-bearing that accompanies all memoirs. But the book is dominated with delightful trivia about London and the city’s relationship to the feminist cause. It gently meanders through the history of the city and the history of the author, taking winding little detours as the mood fits.
It’s a charming book.
Incidentally, my mate Pete swears blind that he saw Sandi pole-dancing at a Guildford bar in the 1990s. That event, sadly, is neither confirmed nor denied in the book.