Robert Webb (The Peep Show, Mitchell and Webb, That Mitchell and Webb Look) unflinchingly unpacks the entire rule book relating to what it is to be a man; Rules, expectations, acceptances and a truckload of myth which has over generations, become something of a mantra that men feel they have to live up to, in order to be considered ‘a man’!
From a very personal perspective, he talks about his young days growing up in the village of Woodhall Spa as the son of a woodcutter and an early encounter with a bee he tried to save from drowning, his early attempts to create the best ever school play and the amazing set up in his bedroom for recording the sound tracks required. Right from the beginning he was most definitely not the archetypal male person; he was shy, sensitive and different. Sport was an anathema, and poetry was considered amazing.
He also talks about the brutality of this father, a man his small family were all terrified off, as his temper was unpredictable and violent, a man in so many ways he tried desperately to like, to follow and by doing so somehow he too would become a ‘man’.
Sadly though, by doing this he began to pave the way into deep depression, despite all his success achieved in comedy, as a writer and success story in his chosen field of acting.
He became an arrogant, unstable, drunk who cheated on his girlfriends and lived to tell the tale, considered he had earned the bragging rights amongst his mates and by doing so, he was on the road to success, to becoming the epitome of manhood.
How wrong he was proven to be: he finally had to face up to the fact that whatever he thought he was doing was slowly but surely killing him, to the point where even he choose not to like himself; the person he had become was a serious disgrace to humanity, his profession and the few people who still had the time and love to spend on him.
Some serious work was required to deal with the depression, the issues and the confusion that was threatening to drown him, So he truly set out to discover just what it is that makes a ‘man’ and thankfully, discovered some salient points that made him finally realise that to be a man, all he had to do was be himself, as everyone is so very different and that includes men!
Now happily married and the father of two daughters, he looks back on the bad years and reflects that ’those of us who are loved have no excuse to bad behaviour’ and that men will struggle to treat women well, as equals if they have not learned to look after themselves!
Webb has bravely told his story from so many different stages in his remarkable and successful life, and by doing so has made this a book all men, regardless of how well they view themselves, should read and consider as a handbook in what not to do while living life.
As Robert Web says in closing, ‘Self-respect and kindness to others, that’s it!”
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|