The Reluctant Jester - Michael Bentine

The Reluctant Jester - Michael Bentine

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Grandson of a vice-president of Peru, Old Etonian, RAF Intelligence officer, founder-member of "The Goon Show", creator of "It's a Square World", "The Bumblies" and "Potty Time", investigator of the paranormal, explorer, author and comedian, Michael Bentine describes the joys, absurdities and tragedies of a life of contrasts. A colourful array of characters play their part in the book: the larger-than-life Peruvian uncles, aunts and cousins who took prim, unsuspecting Folkestone by storm in the 1930s; the "bleddy" Poles in the wartime RAF who fought with great courage; the psychics who repeatedly offer evidence of extraordinary gifts; and the showbiz performers, from immobile Windmill nudes to seasoned old pros of the club circuit, stars such as Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Julie Andrews, as well as the other Goons - and one minor star, the Bentine family's alcoholic parrot. The setting changes from Romney Marsh to London and Lincolnshire, and from the United States to Australia, and includes two visits to Peru - one of them for the first-ever Hovercraft expedition up the Amazon. Amidst the friendships and the travels, two themes predominate - the development of "my odd ability to make people laugh" and the love of family, which now includes a great-grandson.

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Goodreads rating: 3.9/5