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Film Freak [Paperback]

Christopher Fowler
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Feb 2014

It's the late 1970s and 20-something Christopher Fowler is a film freak, obsessively watching lousy films in run-down fleapit cinemas. He longs to be a famous screenwriter and put his dreams on the big screen. And so he heads for Wardour Street, Britain's equivalent of Hollywood.

But he's made a spectacular mistake, arriving just as the nation's filmmakers are falling to their knees, brought low by the arrival of video and the destruction of the old movie palaces. The only films being made are smutty low budget farces and TV spinoffs and instead of being asked to write another

'Bullitt', he's churning out short films advertising boilers and nylon sheets. Somehow, against the odds, he finds success - although in a very different guise to the one he expected.

From the sticky Axminster of the local cinema to the red carpet at Cannes, Film Freak is a grimly hilarious and acutely observed trawl through the arse-end of the British film industry that turns into an ultimately affecting search for friendship and happiness.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857501798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857501790
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Fowler was born in Greenwich, London. He is the multi award-winning author of thirty novels and ten short story collections, and the author of the Bryant & May mystery novels. His first bestseller was 'Roofworld'. Subsequent novels include 'Spanky', 'Disturbia', 'Psychoville' and 'Calabash'. His books have been optioned by Guillermo Del Toro ('Spanky') and Jude Law ('Psychoville'). He spent 25 years working in film.

He recently wrote 'Red Gloves', 25 new stories of unease to mark his first 25 years of writing. His memoir 'Paperboy' won the Green Carnation Award, and is being followed by a new volume, 'Film Freak', in April 2013. Other new books include the dark comedy-thriller 'Plastic' and 'Invisible Ink: The Mysterious Case Of The Disappearing Authors'.

He has written comedy and drama for BBC radio, including Radio One's first broadcast drama in 2005. He writes for the FT and the Independent on Sunday, Black Static magazine and many others. His graphic novel for DC Comics was the critically acclaimed 'Menz Insana'. His short story 'The Master Builder' became a feature film entitled 'Through The Eyes Of A Killer', starring Tippi Hedren and Marg Helgenberger. In the past year he has been nominated for 8 national book awards. He is the winner of the Edge Hill prize 2008 for 'Old Devil Moon', and the Last Laugh prize 2009 for 'The Victoria Vanishes'.

Christopher has achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing a terrible Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, writing a stage show, posing as the villain in a Batman graphic novel, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror, and standing in for James Bond.

His short stories have appeared in Best British Mysteries, The Time Out Book Of London Short Stories, Dark Terrors, London Noir, Neon Lit, Cinema Macabre, the Mammoth Book of Horror and many others. After living in the USA and France he is now married and lives in King's Cross, London and Barcelona.

Product Description


"Film Freak is Fowler's brisk, chatty memoir... His writing is peppered with trenchantly funny film references. Fowler's gifts are those of a performing raconteur more than a cultural essayist - but he's so entertaining, moment by moment, that you readily accept this deal." (Daily Telegraph)

"A master storyteller, he slips deftly from fiction to fact: I've rarely read a better analysis of the movie business...This is a beautifully written and often hilarious book." (Sunday Express)

"a natural autobiographer, charming, funny, perceptive and mercifully free of the usual egomaniacal windbaggery.... I was so smitten with this book that I read it through from cover to cover in one sitting. At times, I found myself laughing loudly and lengthily. Above all, though, I was moved." (John Preston Daily Mail)

"An homage to pre-digital cinema, an elegy for a vanishing London of almost half a century ago and a tribute to friendship, gonzo-style. Two thumbs up for this triple-billing." (FINANCIAL TIMES)

"He's written a roomful of books, including the Bryant & May series of crimers, but his memoirs are just as much fun... Hugely entertaining this." (Sunday Sport)

Book Description

Much-loved and admired novelist Christopher Fowler follows up his acclaimed memoir, Paperboy, with a second beautifully told, funny and affecting autobiographical volume, recounting his years in Britain's movie business.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Film Freak is the second instalment of Christopher Fowler's autobiography and finds a young Mr Fowler leaving his Greenwich home hoping to find work as a film writer and heading for Wardour Street in London, the centre of the British film industry in the 1970's.The problem is the British film industry is in decline with cinemas being redeveloped and the emergence of video. The outcome of this finds Christopher eventually finding work as an advertising copywriter. We then follow his career as he moves into film advertising and meets Jim Sturgeon who becomes a lifelong friend, soul mate and mentor. This relationship forms the emotional core of the book and is beautifully written to involve the reader and make you care about their journey together.

We follow the ups and downs of branching out and starting your own business, a disastrous but hilarious trip to the Cannes Film Festival, the dealings with non creative clueless executives, difficult stars and dire films. I found it an easy book to read and the pace never slackens, the characters of the main protagonists are instantly likeable and engaging. Through all the adventures, Mr Fowler seems to have amassed the type of friends most men would like to have in their life, eccentric, gifted and individual in thought as well as deed, some of whom are so brazen and seat of the pants foolhardy you feel like cheering.

More than once whilst reading this book I found myself laughing out loud on the train to work. I now have a list of films I need to see and also some to shamefully revisit. What this book does very well is convey a feel for those times, the sometimes grubby underbelly and the quick buck film which heralded the steady decline of the British Film industry.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent follow up to "Paperboy". A touching and witty autobiographical
story of one mans love of film and London. I did not want this to end, a truly lovely evocation of a time and place. I hope there will be a further volume.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUT-Standing !!! 5 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I Can not add much more to the other worthy reviews of this book other than to say.

So much of the text was somewhat familiar. In that having be an active reader of Mr Fowlers Blog some things he has written about have come up on his Blog and some spoken about in different language. Whilst reading the book your drawn into his life and how he viewed it back then when he was just a mere slip of a boy, By which I mean a school leaver going into "Work" for the first time. How much life seemed easy back then. The book is written like your sitting having a chat with the man himself and you get that feeling of how genuine a man Mr Fowler is.

I loved one section in his book particularly where he "Decided He was probably Gay" I love the way this just comes out and so matter of factually without any big drama.

Well done MR Fowler.

I would Recommend it to anyone, even if they don't know who Christopher Fowler is they will soon find out and want to find out more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, and not really about films 23 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In Fowler's second volume of autobiography the story moves to the 1970s and opens with him leaving home, hoping to find a job working in the film industry in London. He heads for Wardour Street and settles in an office where one day a new member of staff arrives, a man called Jim Sturgeon, and they become friends.

As the story is told it becomes clear that this isn't really a book about films - naturally there are numerous tales of being on the set of the likes of "Goldeneye" or working on promotions for other pictures, and aborted ideas for Michael Jackson at one point, not to mention a couple of "top ten"s or favourite London-based films - but is instead about Fowler's friendship with Sturgeon, and how they changed through the 1970s and 80s. It seems that they are almost inseparable, and in many respects their friendship reads as something of a love story, and an incredibly touching one at that.

Funny in parts, tear-jerking in others, this is a fantastic read. Just don't expect it to be a book about films - it's much more than that, and all the better for it.
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