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All Cheeses Great and Small: A Life Less Blurry [Hardcover]

Alex James
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012

This is the story of Alex James’s transition from a leading light of the Britpop movement in the 1990s, to gentleman farmer, artisan cheese-maker and father of five.

All Cheeses Great and Small is the follow-up memoir to Alex James's first book, Bit of a Blur, the story of his excessive pop star lifestyle during the nineties. But now Alex has grown up, fallen in love and got married. He has also fallen passionately for his new home, an enormous rambling farmhouse in the Cotswolds, set in two hundred acres of beautiful British countryside.

The farm represents not just a new house for Alex, but also a new career. As he breathes new life into the old farm he chances across an unexpected calling: making cheese. His cheeses, Blue Monday, Farleigh Wallop and Little Wallop have received widespread media interest and are now sold through many outlets.

The story culminates with an account of the triumphant reformation of Blur for Glastonbury 2009.

Frequently Bought Together

All Cheeses Great and Small: A Life Less Blurry + Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007453124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007453122
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘James’s prose is clean and poetic. His childlike wonder at the simple things – from herons to heaps of rubble – can be infectious’. Daily Telegraph

‘A joy to read. Prose flows and weaves and curls itself into pleasing rhythms…(Alex James) can write like a god.’ Spectator

‘The upbeat tone matches that of his Blur-era autobiography A Bit Of A Blur, treating his downsize from rock heart-throb to cockerel-throttling country gent as if cheese contests were Britpop orgies. Riding bikes, the smell of berry bushes, piles of cow dung: all brilliant’ NME

About the Author

Writer, musician and cheesemaker Alex James is bestknown as the bass player in Blur, a time he chronicled in his acclaimed first book Bit of a Blur.

Alex James lives on a farm in Oxfordshire with his wife and five children. He writes a weekly column on all things food for the Sun, as well a regular column on farm and family life for the Sunday Telegraph.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still blurry 21 Jan 2013
By Katie
As someone who lives in the same neck of the woods as the author, an awful lot of this book just doesn't ring true. It's funny to think that some "townies" reading this might really believe that those of us living in the countryside don't need to carry cash or keys, and rarely wear shoes. However I couldn't help but feel indulgent towards his childlike enthusiasm and admire his energy. All in all an entertaining (if inaccurate) read!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 11 May 2014
By Aged 59
I'm not sure who this book is aimed at - there's not much about music and any would-be farmer is not going to find it very useful either. There's no agricultural problem that can't be solved by Alex throwing money at it and he can easily afford to make mistakes. When I got to the end I was informed that much of it had already been published elsewhere which might explain a lot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading! 23 April 2014
By ReviewBlog51 TOP 500 REVIEWER
After immensely enjoying Alex James' first, and ultimately far superior first volume of memoirs: 'Bit Of A Blur', I was eager to read the second. The bass player from Blur is a wonderful writer as well as a talented musician, and his own writing style has a nice flow, making his books easy to read.

Alas he also has a third talent, making cheese, which is not something you would usually associate with a rock star. Yet he has always has passion for the food, and 'All Cheeses Great and Small' begins where the first book left off. Alex marries, has children, gives up drugs, and sets up a new life in the country (go on, sing it: 'He lives in a house, a very big house...').

In 'All Cheeses Great and Small', Alex gives you a charming and enthusiastic look at life on the farm with lots of good humour. The contrast between Alex's new life and the one he lived in in 'Bit Of A Blur' couldn't be greater. Although he does briefly touch upon Blur's reunion (in the final chapter), the book is ultimately about farming and the beautiful countryside he so obviously loves, and I couldn't help but admire his honest approach about starting a new life away from music.

Alex's lifestyle might be very different now, but he still comes across as one of the nicest men you could ever meet. Whilst some fans might be taken aback by the lack of musical references, I found this book a joy to read. The beauty of this one though is, you don't have to be a Blur fan to enjoy it, or indeed have any knowledge of his years with the band, and so can read with an open mind and enjoy his innovative writing style.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving it 4 Aug 2012
Not quite finished it yet and enjoying it a lot. He writes really well. At the start I slightly feared we would never get beyond lyrical appreciation of the countryside - and there is a lot of that - but as it progresses I have got caught up in it and now want to go and live on his farm. Good stuff Alex. Incidentally I am an older person with no knowledge really of his Blur-life, so was coming to this fresh with no expectations.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As dodgy as his cheese! 25 Nov 2013
Always felt Alex James was the 'weak link' in Blur. His book left me in no doubt he is one of the luckiest bassists around to secure the gig with Albarn and co.
Incidently, have you tried his cheese? Its naff......ASDA sell it, which says quite a lot!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The good life 31 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Alex comes across as a genial, easy-going chap with an attractive boyish enthusiasm for living, whether its wowing them at Glastonbury or sniffing blackberries in his (extensive) hedgerows. He's good at playing the guitar, making cheese and writing about his enchanting life.

If his wife ever gets bored I would like to put myself forward as a replacement.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tres expensive 15 July 2012
By Elle
Format:Kindle Edition
Seriously, over 11 for the kindle version of this book? No thanks Mr James. What a complete and utter rip off.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Alex James 28 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book! After reading his first book I was excited to get a hold of this one. It is very different to Bit of a Blur but I knew that and was really interested to know about his rural life now and cheese making. For anyone that thinks its going to be all rock and roll again they will not enjoy this. The only thing that got to me was that it was written in a way that is all rose tinted glasses, everything is so lovely in the country, I live in the country and its not all roses and lovely all of the time, non the less its a great look into how his life has quietened down and gives a good insight into all the great bits about rural living.
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