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Summary

'Voting Conservative is like buying a James Blunt album: loads of people have done it, but weirdly you never meet them....'

Comedian Geoff Norcott should have been Labour through and through. He grew up on a council estate, both of his parents were disabled, and his dad was a Union man. So, how was it that he grew up to vote Tory?

In this courageously honest and provocative memoir, Geoff unpicks his working-class upbringing and his political journey from left to right. Raised by a fierce matriarch and a maverick father on a South London council estate where they filmed scenes for The Bill, Geoff spends his youth attempting to put out kitchen fires with aerosols and leaping in and out of industrial skips. But as he reaches adolescence, his political views begin to be influenced by major events including the early '90s recession, the credit crunch, and a chance encounter with Conservative PM John Major.

As an adult, Geoff begins to have the gnawing feeling that the values and traditions he grew up with no longer match Labour's. And, as Brexit appears, he feels even more like a double agent operating behind enemy lines.

Written with warmth, wit and often laugh-out-loud humour, Where Did I Go Right? is Geoff's attempt to understand why he ended up voting 'for the bad guys', and why blue-collared conservatism could be here to stay.

©2021 Geoff Norcott (P)2021 Octopus Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Few people walk the line of thought provoking and laugh out loud funny like Geoff Norcott." (Romesh Ranganathan)

"Where Did I Go Right? is sharp, considered, insightful, and helped me make sense of 'the other side'. And because Geoff Norcott is so funny, it unfortunately means I can't dismiss his views entirely. It's so important to have a friend you can disagree with but still admire and Geoff can be that friend to you!" (Katherine Ryan) 

"I've always thought the benefit of having batsh*t parents is it increases the chance of you growing up funny. It's certainly worked for Geoff Norcott." (David Baddiel) 

"Brave...and vividly evoked.... 'How the left lost me' is a phrase that should haunt Kier Starmer et al. Looking at the collapse of the 'red wall', at the last election, there do seem to be a lot of disgruntled Geoffs out there." (The Telegraph

"While I stand firmly at the other end of the political spectrum, it provided fascinating and well-considered insights into how the half think and, as such, should be read by both Reds and Blues." (Love Reading UK) 

What listeners say about Where Did I Go Right?

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Every Labour MP should read or listen to this book

Brutally honest, hilariously funny & able to bring a genuine lump to the throat. It will be hard for any non-Tory voter to read or listen to this book, but if you want to understand why Labour are not and will not be in power any time soon, give it a go.


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A book about people and how they think

I really enjoyed this book. Geoff brings the combination of empathy; a clear understanding of what motivates people from day to day; and humour, to bring this story to life. It could have been a relatively dry analysis of political thinking but in Geoff’s hands it’s anything but. The memoir of his parents was in equal parts funny and moving, as was the sharing of significant personal bereavements which many of us can relate to. There are laugh out loud moments throughout as he takes us through his family origins in South London, being the working class kid at university, working in advertising, teaching and ultimately a career in comedy. Geoff brings a down to earth and relatable feel to all parts of the story. He understands people and what most people think and feel about the things impacting their lives as they go from day to day. If you think books about politics are boring, this one definitely isn’t.

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Not Funny or Informative

This is more of a Biography than a book about Politics, the title is a little misleading. I have given it poor results because I do not care about minor celebrities and their lives, if I read a biography it is about somebody who made a difference. I am sure Geoff is a great guy and his spots on Radio and TV are very entertaining but I don't care about his back story - I am returning this.

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Engaging, thought-provoking and funny

Enjoyable and insightful reflections on contemporary British politics and everyday life from a working class, conservative perspective.

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Very entertaining look into his life

Having listened to a lot of his podcasts this was an amusing/interesting look into his life

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Fair an sometimes frank self exam

No one familiar with Geoff or his work is going to be shocked or surprised by this book. Those who think they 'know' where he stands and why he does what he does need to read this they might learn a bit about preconceived ideas namely their own!

Read by the author himself with an at times are and gentle poke at circumstances around himself the book moves at a pleasant pace holding the attention of the reader. Anyone looking for feisty satire or sarcastic criticism would be best advised to listen to his podcast. This book although generally laced with a more gentle political commentary reads more as the recollection of growing up at the beginning of a time of great change.

An excellent, entertaining and strangely nostalgic pleasure.
Spend a few hours with Geoff Norcott you won't regret it

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Hilarious, thought provoking, and touching

I may be biased being a fellow south londoner (albeit a decade younger), but this account of a life spent navigating the duality of working class London and the culturally dominant professional middle classes was both poignant and genuinely hilarious.
The man knows and straddles both worlds with a gentle playfulness that is rare, and this capacity to critically assess his surroundings while keeping scathing judgement to a minimum is no doubt one reason he's fast becoming a pre-eminent comedian and cultural commentator of the moment.
His account of getting ripped apart for his bang up trainers also had me crying with laughter...was there a few times growing up...

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Funny

I too have left the left and I have for some time wondered how this happened or at least I did until I listened to this.

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Hilarious and laugh out loud

A thoroughly enjoyable book which made me laugh so much in a country where we are becoming so divided - it just goes to show that as humans we all have different views and opinions of the world and politics....and most importantly we shouldn’t take them too seriously.

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Geoff Norcott, when can we vote for you?

loved it, brilliant, as good as I was hoping it would be. I finished it in 2 sessions.

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  • graeme johnson
  • 23-05-21

Absolutely excellent.

A must-read for anyone trying to get to grips with modern western politics and culture