First I have to admit that I was not an admirer of Vic and Bob’s various entertainment shows. However, Shooting Stars was an occasional view! It all changed for me when Bob appeared on “Would I Lie to You” on BBC TV. From that point on Bob’s storytelling became a firm favourite along with millions of others. And then came his collaboration with great friend Paul Woodhouse “Gone Fishing”. The easy-going rapport, anecdotes, and wonderful landscapes were a marvellous mix.
So “And Away” became a must-read to enjoy more anecdotes and get the background to Bob’s zany humour. Bob writes with a distinct style reflecting his off-beat humour, It is an easy read but also reveals his early life struggles. Not surprisingly, his quadruple heart bypass features throughout the book and the effect on his life and relationships are quite revealing and life-affirming. It may surprise you we learn that Bob was shy and introverted throughout his teenage years, at university and in his early life as a solicitor. He only came out of his shell after a break-up with a girlfriend and a chance encounter with an old school friend. The friend invited him to a comedy night out. Yes, it was Vic Reeves starring. Gradually, a relationship built up with Vic and he started contributing with walk-ons and suggestions for scripts. Bob’s love of a good jape and slapstick humour is fundamental to his growing success with Vic.
Of course, many shows followed and Vic & Bob built up a cult following. During this time Bob began to gather more friends as his confidence grew. Even so, Bob found acting a big challenge and was never comfortable in his own skin. However, post his operation Bob has felt more at ease with a new belief in his own skills. He owes much to his friend Paul for challenging him to go fishing (and we know where that led). He loves storytelling, and the book is peppered with stories (and lies). His long relationship with Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) is thoroughly examined, and Jim’s font of ideas for gags, scripts and entertainment is at the forefront of their success. Bob loves his “new” life (post heart operation) but remains quietly isolated with his wife and children loving his life at home. Even his big love of music has waned.
This is a lovely book in so many ways: revealing, uplifting and plain funny. Enjoy!