When a book comes with a recommendation, nay a demand, to be read by none other than the legend that is David Bowie then you have to sit up and take notice. This is exactly the recommendation that comes with BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe’s book Thank You for the Days (Simon & Schuster, 2009).

To call it an autobiography would be somewhat of a fallacy. Whilst the encounters told within the pages of this book are factual and indeed are told through Radcliffe’s perspective and memory it does not follow the norms of a conventional memoir. It would be better described as a series of personal essays. One thing that is clear is that music – in one form or another – has had a serious impact on his life.

Admittedly, before reading this book I did not have a clue who Mark Radcliffe was….even now I probably wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a police line-up yet his tales from inside the music industry were fascinating to read about.

Radcliffe comes across as humble and self-effacing. He recognises his errors in judgement in a humorous, rib-tickling way (the Madonna incident comes to mind instantly) and he generally sets himself up as the butt of his jokes. What he also manages to do is get you feeling just as passionate about music through his words. Even for bands or artists that you may not have ever heard before.

Mark Racliffe’s writing is warm hearted an unchallenging with no trace of egocentricity and it is all the more entertaining for that. And whilst I in no way condone thievery, I agree with David Bowie – steal this book!

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