- Title Watching Neighbours Twice a Day
- Author Josh Widdicombe
- Year 2021
- Genre Memoir
In his first memoir, Josh Widdicombe tells the story of a strange rural childhood, the kind of childhood he only realised was weird when he left home and started telling people about it. From only having four people in his year at school, to living in a family home where they didn't just not bother to lock the front door, they didn't even have a key. Using a different television show of the time as its starting point for each chapter Watching Neighbours Twice a Day... is part-childhood memoir, part-comic history of '90s television and culture. It will discuss everything from the BBC convincing him that Michael Parkinson had been possessed by a ghost, to Josh's belief that Mr Blobby is one of the great comic characters, to what it's like being the only vegetarian child west of Bristol. It tells the story of the end of an era, the last time when watching television was a shared experience for the family and the nation, before the internet meant everyone watched different things at different times on different devices, headphones on to make absolutely sure no one else could watch it with them.
When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it straight away - I actually opted for the audiobook, so Josh Widdicombe talked me through the whole thing. As a concept, this is right up my street. I, too, watched a lot of TV in the nineties, although I didn’t know all of the shows that were mentioned. The ones that I did know, though, I love. Neighbours, Gladiators, Funhouse, etc, etc.
The audiobook has a couple of bonus interviews with people that took part - Pat Sharp, Jet from Gladiators - but also dips into memoirs from Josh’s childhood, so it’s got something for everyone, even if you didn’t watch TV in those days. It’s a really good book that actually comes to an interesting conclusion about why the 90s was a unique decade.
Rating: 4 / 5