Ramble Book [Audiobook Edition]
HarperCollins / Audible
Adam Buxton’s autobiography/memoir Ramble Book exists currently in Audiobook form only – the print version one of many things put on hold by the pesky ol’ Coronavirus. Ramble Book in pages-form will arrive later in the year, meanwhile if anyone was going to do-over the audiobook in a way that would sell it to even hardened skeptics – and simply create the content you want in this format it was going to be Buxton.
His Ramble Audiobook “reads” like a giant 10-hour version of his podcast. That voice we know and love. The material, the asides (Rambles) – he even appears to deal to chapter footnotes in candid dog-walk codas.
There’s a fresh Buxton jingle for every chapter – about a hundred renditions of his sublimely zzibiliant “Daahvid” Bowie impersonation and winning stories of anxiety and pop music across the 1980s and to the present day.
Buxton’s book is for his fans – a familiarity with his brilliant podcast would seem a pre-requisite but of course there’s the radio show, TV work, various appearances across British media over the last couple of decades and his association with “comedy wife” Joe Cornish and their school-chum Louis Theroux.
So in Buxton’s book it’s very much a set of essays charting his life, cultural obsessions and comedy musings – but where there’s great heart in this is in the dissection of male relationships. The aforementioned Joe and Louis get plenty of mentions but it’s Buxton’s father Nigel (a travel writer) and his musical hero Bowie (both left Buxton’s world within months of each other) that hover in and around the “pages” here.
Unpacking his relationships with men – in a thoughtful way, no toxic masculinity here – makes for a revealing journey. But there’s jokes too. Lots of humour in both the things Buxton says and the ways he chooses to voice them for this recording.
As someone that’s devoured every episode of his podcast across the last five years (I go into a mini mourning when he has between-season breaks) I was always keen to sign up for the audiobook edition – but the staggering of the book-proper and the audio recording seems a clever marking trick, in particular for Buxton’s audience. You know get to buy the book as the souvenir for the shelf months down the track – and you have an interest in revisiting it no doubt after ‘being read’ the stories the first time around. It’s probably the way to go – going forward – with many books and authors. But certainly it makes sense here.
And to mark that – and the connection to the podcast and Buxton’s radio voice and vocal talents (jingles, impersonations etc) – there’s a bonus version of the podcast, a sort of “Director’s Commentry” or DVD bonus featurette where he and Joe Cornish sit and unpack their relationship a bit further, with Joe effectively providing the first review of the book. He gets a pass mark of course. As well he should.
I missed Adam’s voice as soon as this was over – I’ll be heading back for a second listen and then of course revisiting old favourite podcast episodes in the lag before the three-quarter mark of 2020 when the print edition of Ramble Book will be finally available for that fresh-paper smell.
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