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No Make-up: Straight Tales from a Queer Life [Paperback]

Jeremy Norman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2006
My stepfather and his colleagues typified the views of the governing classes of their generation...They wanted to preserve old-fashioned courtesy, behaviour and privilege while at the same time destroying its economic means of survival. A new way had to emerge, I had no idea from where or how it would come but in the meantime, on coming down from Cambridge, I was determined to find my own sense of fun and fulfilment and I hoped make some money along the way. His father born in 1895, once married to a goddaughter of Queen Victoria, his mother heiress to the Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts fortune; Jeremy Norman's childhood was one of privilege. Yet family conflicts, illness, financial misfortune and the realisation of his sexuality in a more savage time (he was born twenty years before the Wolfenden reforms), made the author's early years difficult. Yet, as the Chinese say, these were most interesting times. "No Make-Up" tells of a life full of conflict, eccentrics, great success, disappointment, sad and glorious experiences; above all, of a man who has brilliantly managed to achieve an equilibrium with his times. From the creation of the iconic Heaven nightclub, the ownership of Burke's Peerage, the formation of the Soho Gyms and a portfolio of property investments in the trendiest retail streets in London, Jeremy Norman has never lost sight of the promise he made himself on leaving Cambridge in the early 1970s. With a cast of the great, and not so good; Diana Lady Delamere, Anthony Blunt, Mr Fish, Andy Warhol, Divine, Grace Jones, to Robert Maxwell, Michael Portillo and Sir Edward Heath, "No Make-Up" charts a life of extraordinary interest. From describing the management of publishing companies to controlling drugs in a nightclub, Jeremy Norman's diverting, absorbing memoir portrays living on the very cusp, through all the economic, sexual and moral revolutions of the past forty years. He tells his story with candour, integrity, a great eye for detail, much good humour and a joyous sense of achievement.

Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited (6 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904027504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904027508
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love, sex 20 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
An engaging, insightful memoir of an ever fascinating ride through the massive changes in gay and social history during the 20th C. A vital book of the vital life the author makes for himself as he rides these waves of change with tremendous elan and joie de vie...and taking in some of the extraordinary places and personalities he has helped create and engaged with along the way ... 'Liberty is about allowing others to do things of which you profoundly disapprove' - just one of the moving insights on liberty, love, sex, society, drugs et al.... that I discovered in the bright and honest adventure that is Jeremy Norman's book - and life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The man who made some of my best nights! 11 Aug 2014
By steve
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A truly enlightening book, not just about "Heaven" but about growing up and dealing with prejudices from an early age and driving it and using it to an advantage
Particularly enjoyed reading about my family the Scarman`s
Made me want to do more research and googling about the Embassy Club.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No Make Up: Straight Tales from a Queer Life 10 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
No Make Up: Straight Tales from a Queer Life: Jeremy Norman

This is a moving memoir of an emerging gay child growing up in the post war years with vivid recollections of family and lifestyle of the gently bred. As he grows up through his late teens at University in Cambridge, then starting with his brother Remington dabbling in property, Jeremy develops into a highly successful business man as well as gym and night club entrepreneur; The Embassy Club, Heaven, Leopard Lounge, Soho Gyms are just some of his successful ventures. He set up two major charities - Crusaid and Aid's Ark. Jeremy has moved through all strands of society and life style with a fascinating collection of friends and acquaintance - a lot of high life with a fair bit of glitter! He shares numerous anecdotes and observations with relish, wit and some discretion. He has grown up through times of great change - gay liberation being a major part of that. This an inciteful book covering six decades. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WE CAN BE HEROES 5 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I am lucky to have known the Author Jeremy Norman and been a witness to the amazing Nightclubs he opened described in great detail in this book, many books have been written about London Nightlife omitting the Importance of Jeremy's contribution notably he inspired Steve Strange and myself to create [...] and the nigtlife period of London covered in another current book WE CAN BE HEROES by GRAHAM SMITH.

I read avidly his pursuit of the ultimate nightclub , of sound and lights and his detail of his vision, the end result HEAVEN possibly in the 80's London most Important club to bring Dance music as we know it today to Londoners.... Jeremy went to NY in the mid 70's and describes his love for the clubs and his vision to bring this to London bigger and better... on small budgets he creates a massive club some 1800 capacity club busting to the seems with London's Gay and nigtlife community including many yet to be known pop stars and visited by the current cooler 70's pop stars Grace Jones, Elton John , it was the location of many films including Bowie in The Hunger .. If you want to know more about where it all started this is the book, Jeremy's life has been a rich and dispersive one and the clubs were just a minor part of an interesting and pioneering man, who has possibly done more for the Gay community both in nightlife and health , as a straight man who wore MAKE UP in the 80's and who loved Bowie I followed some who lead and I lead some who I now follow.....Jeremy defiantly was one who led many down this fantastic rd I am still on.....
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1.0 out of 5 stars Too good to be true 5 Mar 2012
This is an interesting but partial account of the glamorous and monied end of the London and international gay scence in the heady days before AIDS took the shine off it, as seen though the eyes of one of its principal surviving players. For those younger readers who didn't experience the sophisticated hospitality and unashamed debauchery of this privileged coterie in the nineteen seventies and eighties, Mr Norman's account of what is, afterall, the recent past must seem as remote from today as the excesses of the Regency. For those readers who were there, and remember the events and the personalities differently, the fact that the tale is littered with inaccuracies and omissions is an irritation - but one that does not detract from the overall tale.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I found much of it tedious and poorly written 10 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, I found much of it tedious and poorly written. If my own younger brother had been in the habit of writing stuff like this I don't suppose I would have regarded him with much enthusiasm either.
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