Holiday reading and a conversation I’ll never have.

I just wanted to write a short Quick Read on this, because thoughts have been rattling around my head all week and I wanted to get them out.

Last week, I went on holiday with my family (Kos, really hot, saw some ruins and a lizard, thanks for asking), and took with me this book…

If you’re reading this site, it’s a fair bet you’re a fan of films and there’s a good chance you’ve already read it, but for me, David Niven’s autobiography The Moon’s A Balloon has been one of those ‘Must Read’ books I’d never got round to.

Turns out everyone who said it was great was right. Niven comes across well for the most part, his stories are hugely entertaining, and the life he led veered between hilarious, exciting, tragic and absurd – all the stuff that makes for a great read.

It was also nice to see a couple of mentions of my home city too, with Niven reciting a fun but inappropriate limerick for his first screen test…

… and also here, in what might be my favourite paragraph in any memoir ever…

When it comes to book recommendations, it’s easy to say ‘oh, I really want to read that’, but for me, this one has really been a long time coming.

Many years ago, when I was still pretty much a kid, my grandfather died, and I remember bumping around his house as my family cleared it out. It was a place I’d spent a lot of happy times, but looking back, I wish I’d known him better.

One of the few things I remember taking an interest in as we emptied the place was an audio cassette of The Moon’s A Balloon. Specifically, this one…

At the time, I didn’t really know who David Niven was – I’d possibly seen bits of The Pink Panther, but was more interested in the cartoon than the live-action film.

I’ll always remember keeping hold of that cassette box throughout the day, and thinking ‘this must’ve been important to my granddad’.

For the life of me, I cannot remember what happened to the tapes, but I know I never listened to them.

I wish I could’ve spoken to my granddad about Niven and the book.

I bet we would’ve had a laugh.

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