Random Abstract Memory

Another excellent purchase at Dimension Jump was Hattie Hayridge’s 1997 autobiography, for which I’d been searching the bookshops of Great Britain for ages. The book tells the complete story of Hattie’s life, from birth as a suspected case of appendicitis to touring the world as a top stand up. Hattie chooses to portray significant periods of her life with a couple of good anecdotes each. She has funny stories to tell about her childhood, her adolescence, each of her jobs and each step towards fame.

This also presents one of the main faults with the book. She spends a lot of time talking about her life before she started out in comedy, and by the time she gets famous, we’re at the end of the book. In particular, Red Dwarf is sadly neglected. Although she does tell some good stories about the series, in a book composed of 50 short chapters, Red Dwarf is only mentioned in five of them, which is very disappointing for those of us who were expecting Hattie’s equivalent to The Man in the Rubber Mask.

Nevertheless, the material about her pre-fame days, and in particular her travelling, is very funny. She tells stories about being mugged by monkeys in Gibraltar, going to a fairground in East Berlin and arguing with waiters in Thailand over her swollen feet. The book has some touching moments too, such as the deaths of Hattie’s parents, visiting the grave of a friend who had been killed in Thailand and working in a Romanian children’s hospital.

Random Abstract Memory is a cracking read, despite the lack of Red Dwarf gossip that we don’t already know. At 237 pages long, it’s well worth the cover price of £5.99, if you can find it.

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