I am surprising myself Day-by-day lately.
Danny Baker! Who? That bloke from the radio – mates with Chris Evans and Gazza. Talks about football. I supposed I could yawn my way through his live show and daydream about something or other.
My preconceptions were way off.
Friday night. Good Time Charlie’s Back. Decent view from the balcony. I sit back and hope for a few laughs.
Instead, I am drawn into a world of cockney dockers and costers, on a Bermondsey estate in the sixties as a young Danny boy grows up in a strong, loving, hard-working family.
I have never before met such an engaging and authentic story teller. Danny blends fact and fiction into an autobiography of sheer delight and enthusiasm. He paces the stage for the entire show – back and forwards, back and forwards, using photos from his life to prompt each new story – each cherished memory.
The entire audience is attuned to his every word. Danny is mesmerising and fascinating. Seeing the world through his eyes is beyond refreshing. It’s illuminating.
He retells each coincidence, each event in his life and each chance encounter that propelled him forward into each new adventure. And the people in his life who he counts as friends are people we’ve grown up viewing from afar.
Elton John, Roger Daltry, the Sex Pistols, Ian Dury, Michael Jackson.. I’ve barely scratched the surface.
It’s clear throughout his engaging narrative that Danny has spent his entire life enjoying people and them enjoying him.
Was it coincidence that led Danny at the age of 15 to work in One Stop Records and spend his days listening to American imports serving and advising the likes of Jimmy Paige?
Was it coincidence that he co-developed the first punk-rock fanzine with his one time schoolmate and helped raise punk from obscure to cool?
Was it coincidence that from there he wound up writing for NME and travelling round the world from party to concert to party reviewing the freshest music scenes, befriending talented artists?
Was it coincidence that he was selected to star in a tv show about London life and from there become propelled to radio broadcasting?
Danny says the gods were playing with him – giving him a lucky life.
I think that Danny is very probably one of the most engaging, humble and friendly men on the planet and I would defy anyone to witness his live show and not to fall a little in love with this candid raconteur.
I think Danny made his own luck.
Four hours later, I walk bleary-eyed from the theatre and head-full of Danny Baker’s stories, make for Home.
John Lennon? Bumped into him in New York and gained a brief interview.
Paul Weller? You’d never confuse him with a ray of sunshine!
Danny Baker? You have another new fan.