Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall (Milligan Memoirs)
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Spike Milligan's legendary war memoirs are a hilarious and subversive first-hand account of the Second World War, as well as a fascinating portrait of the formative years of this towering comic genius, most famous as writer and star of The Goon Show. They have sold over 4.5 million copies since they first appeared.
'The most irreverent, hilarious book about the war that I have ever read' Sunday Express
'Brilliant verbal pyrotechnics, throwaway lines and marvelous anecdotes' Daily Mail
'Desperately funny, vivid, vulgar' Sunday Times
A voice is calling across the land, 'Bombardier Milligan.' 'Bombadier Milligan is dead,' I replied in a disguised voice. The voice replied, 'Then he's going to miss his breakfast.'
The fourth volume of Spike Milligan's legendary account of his time in the army during World War Two begins as he and his regiment land in sunny Italy in 1943 ('The ship touched the beach very gently, so gently I suspect it's not insured'). After a bout of Sandfly Fever, from which he soon recovers ('I'm ready to be killed again'), our plucky hero is piddled on by a farm dog ('Mussolini's revenge?') before forging his way inland towards the enemy and the sound of guns ('We're getting near civilisation'), where matters suddenly take a dark turn ('I was not really me any more') ...
'That absolutely glorious way of looking at things differently. A great man' Stephen Fry
'Milligan is the Great God to all of us' John Cleese
'The Godfather of Alternative Comedy' Eddie Izzard
'Manifestly a genius, a comic surrealist genius and had no equal' Terry Wogan
'A totally original comedy writer' Michael Palin
'Close in stature to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear in his command of the profound art of nonsense' Guardian
Spike Milligan was one of the greatest and most influential comedians of the twentieth century. Born in India in 1918, he served in the Royal Artillery during WWII in North Africa and Italy. At the end of the war, he forged a career as a jazz musician, sketch-show writer and performer, before joining forces with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe to form the legendary Goon Show. Until his death in 2002, he had success as on stage and screen and as the author of over eighty books of fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, cartoons and children's stories.
paper, sparsely laid out with cutlery. A few tables are occupied by what look like potential Mafia recruits, all huddled over their tables talking in low voices, an act of great self-control for Italians. MY DIARY: HAD THE FOLLOWING: SPAGHETTI, FISH AND CHIPS, MEAT AND VEG, WINE AND GRAPES ALL FOR FIFTY LIRA (2/6!) ABSOLUTE BARGAIN. HOW DO THEY MAKE A PROFIT? During the meal an old Italian in shabby clothes and a greasy felt hat shuffled in, and sat at a chair just inside the door (he had a
veritable carpet of its apples—windfalls—and the scene under the Big Canadian Red tree was something to marvel at—the darkish-red, highly-polished skins glistening with diamond-like drops of moisture all catching the fitful shafts of sunlight just breaking through the foliage. Only half an hour later or maybe less we found ourselves being nearly suffocated by the onset of a large patch of very dense mountain mist, the minute droplets of water-vapour being concentrated as to bring visibility down
Rates overdue up to the month of July 1940. Three pounds eighteen shillings. If not paid within twenty days proceedings will be taken.” Forest rose, took the letter! “Fookin’ ‘ell. A fookin’ rates demand.” At six o’clock it’s as black as a nigger’s bum at midnight; still no news of any firing. Rain. Deans is in his cooking mood and about to hurl on to us a giant long flour-and-water pudding with curried cabbage inside. It’s christened the Mongoid Monster. “I think we’re bloody lucky, all this
because you’d tried to have it away with her, but she wouldn’t have it because she was getting married.” “I know, I told her I was trying to warm her up for the honeymoon…” “Helpful old you. Anyways, we arrived at her place, it was about mid-day, she let us in and you insisted that she play some Chopin.” “Yes, I remember. She didn’t half play me up, she took me home one night, straight into the bedroom and, laugh, she was a mass of Women’s Mag cliches. When I pulled her skirt up she said,
Depot drunk recovering from last night’s piss-up. With eyes like smoked glass windows he examines me and says with authority, “You have been bitten by something.” “Have I?” I said. “Have you had a typhus injection?” “Yes,” I said very quickly. “Good,” he said. He wrote me a prescription for a bottle of camomile mixture. “Have a good shower,” said the Orderly, “then rub this on.” I retired to the showers. They’re ice cold, aren’t they!, my screams ring through the building. Covered in pink