All posts tagged: autobiography


BOOK REVIEW: GARY SHAIL, “I Think I’m On The Guest List”

I’m not someone who would ever think to buy and read an autobiography by an actor; it’s usually not in my crosshairs of interest for reading when it comes to non-fiction.  Even reading autobiogs by rock musicians is a difficult and daunting task – I think I only ever liked one.  But every now and then, you stumble across something that just looks and sounds interesting and intriguing, so you move out of your comfort zone. Such is the case with I Think I’m On The Guest List, written by British actor Gary Shail.  I’ve known about Mr. Shail as he is one of the stars of (conceivably) my all-time favorite movie, Quadrophenia.  Because I hold that film so personally and by happenstance, finding out that he’d written his own story, I thought “this could be interesting.”  I bought a copy and I have to say, with no other criteria to go on, I’m glad I did. More often than not, celebrity autobiographies are filled with the kind of bluster that makes me inevitably hate …


Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: “Ukulele Heroes”

 For almost 80 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose joins the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network to explore the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books.  This week, a critic’s hero writes about his heroes… Ian Whitcomb is the reason I am a critic. That’s a bit of an overstatement, and maybe too much perfidy to lay at any one man’s door. But it is true that, more years ago than I care to remember, I ran across Whitcomb’s first book, 1972’s After the Ball: Pop Music from Rag to Rock — and I confess, Constant Reader, it CHANGED MY LIFE. Part historical survey, part musical autobiography, After the Ball crackled with wit and insight; Whitcomb’s voice was idiosyncratic, learned, and often screamingly funny. Like Greil Marcus (whose Mystery Train and Lipstick Traces were likewise important texts for me), Whitcomb excelled in drawing unexpected connections and charting secret histories — but without Marcus’s fog of pseudo-academic jive. Perhaps …