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Redeeming Features [Paperback]

Nicky Haslam
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Nov 2010
Nicky Haslam has always been at the centre of things wherever he is - at parties, opening nights, royal weddings - and has stories to tell of crossing paths, and more, with the cultural icons of our time: Cecil Beaton, Francis Bacon, Diana Cooper, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to name but a few. Redeeming Features is an exuberantly told and stunningly crafted memoir: a compelling and wholly singular document of our times.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009954623X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099546238
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Gloriously entertaining" (Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler)

"Nicky Haslam has known everyone from Greta Garbo to Cole Porter to the Royal Family, with many unforgettable eccentrics in between. But this is not a catalogue of celebrities. It is a truly felt, beautifully crafted , wise consideration of a full life, which paints an unforgettable picture of a vanished England and America. Masterpiece is an overused word, but this Proustian evocation is indeed a masterpiece" (A. N. Wilson)

"From the Mitfords to Warhol's Factory to Paris Hilton - Nicky Haslam has been at the centre of every glittering social circle in living memory... Haslam should be declared a National Treasure. While the nation's spirits are grievously low, Haslam brings joy and sprinkles magic dust of one sort or another wherever he goes" (Kate Muir The Times)

"Redeeming Features is a tour de force romp through high society and the more glamorous chapters in the counterculture of the 20th century and the 21st...Haslam pops up from decade to decade alongside some of the most fascinating people in our cultural history" (Vanity Fair)

"You could find yourself as Nicky Haslam's 'plus one' at the swellest parties with his delicious memoir" (Naomi West Harpers Bazaar)

Book Description

From legendary designer Nicky Haslam, a dazzling and witty account of his frenetic life.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I knew very little about Nicky Haslam prior to reading this book. I noticed photographs in the newspapers some years ago of him - a rather elderly interior designer in London who was obsessed with Liam Gallagher and had changed his appearance to resemble his new hero. I grew up on a Manchester housing estate quite similar to the Gallaghers which made this society figure's obsession seem incredibly weird. Who was this man and why were the press so indulgent of him?

Here is the answer. From his youthful wealthy and privileged background, Haslam was attracted to Gypsies and Teddy Boys. He has a knack of accumulating distinguished and entertaining friends from Tallulah Bankhead and Diana Coopper to Andy Warhol and the Prince of Wales. His perfectly functioning gaydar leaves one to believe that in 1950's London practically every male - married or otherwise - was either gay or bisexual. It is also beautifully written and highly amusing.

Talleyrand was supposed to have said that those who did not live in the years before the revolution could not understand the sweetness of living. One feels much the same sense of a past, sweet existence on reading this warm hearted and utterly engaging story.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romp 19 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable romp through the gay world of London and the States in the 50s and 60s. But it is more than that. Beneath the clatter of dropped names of faded stars there is someone with an observant eye for his surroundings and real literary talent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit disappointing. 24 Jan 2013
By Suze TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I've flicked through magazines with photos of 'celebrity' events in them, I have often seen famous people posing with someone called Nicky Haslam.
I never knew who he was. Sometimes he was described as 'interior designer Nicky Haslam' and sometimes as 'crooner Nicky Haslam' - or 'socialite' etc.
Then I read an article in a newspaper supplement written by him and he came over as a really interesting, opinionated, witty and amusing character, so I sought out this book.
Sadly it isn't as entertaining as the newspaper article was.
It seems to be rather boring and tedious.
There's lots of name dropping of famous people - which is great, but he doesn't go into enough detail about them for me. It almost becomes a book of lists of people he once met.

It could have been much more entertaining and funny.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read 3 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover
Redeeming Features is a hilarious, engagingly readable romp through one man's charmed life; full of anecdotes, indiscretions, and information about the rich, the creative and the famous. Well-written with evocative passages recalling a childhood in the countryside. What a memory - Nicky must have kept daily diaries for years. I thoroughly recommend it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating, but..... 6 Jan 2010
By Steve
Format:Hardcover
Nicky Haslam has been a social fixture on the transatlantic scene for decades. He's legendary for all sorts of reasons, and obviously either has an eidetic memory or keeps detailed journals stretching back decades on every party he's attended, every house he's entered, and every person he's ever met or slept with. He is, as someone said, a man who would attend a lighted candle, needless to say a party. Perhaps due to his great good looks and his all-encompassing charm Nicky has met simply everyone interesting, starting in his early teenage years with an afternoon with Tallulah Bankhead and onward from there. Every single page of his autobiography glitters with famous names. And, surprisingly enough, the book is well-written, as well. In particular, it seems that Nicky worked especially hard on adding particularly elegiac observations on the countryside as a way of keeping his book from being simply a laundry list of the great and good, the notoriously bad, and the ugly.

Ugly is something I would also use to describe some of what Nicky writes in Redeeming Features. He deliberately inserts some of the very most disobliging things about people in society that I have ever read. In particular, Mr Haslam seems to really dislike the late Alvilde Lees-Milne, and provides certain quite repellent assertions on her personal life with the late Princess Winnareta de Polignac, nee Singer, as well as supposedly recording a catty remark regarding Winnie and Alvilde by her husband's old school chum Harold Acton. Since there are no book sales to be made from mentioning someone so long dead (1994) and comparatively unfamous one can only assume that Nicky was settling an old score.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just one name after another. 20 Jan 2014
By BDK
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my Kindle having read a couple of quite glowing reviews about it but oh, what a self indulgent book of reminiscences. The first couple of chapters I quite enjoyed but after that it became just lists of "important people I have met, men who have fancied me and men I have slept with". What is it about many homosexuals that they think their sexual orientation is so important that they must constantly refer to it.? Rupert Everett's autobiography was much the same. If one is homosexual that is fine by me, but don't feel the need to keep referring to it. By the time I had read the names of all those Mr Haslam alleged he had slept with I began to wonder if there were any straight men left among the society set. I could not finish the book. Too much importance placed on meeting the "right" people and name dropping. What selfish lives many of these celebrities seem to lead and Mr Haslam most of all. Has he ever done anything to benefit anyone who is not well known or well connected? Any work for charity, other than buying tickets to a charity ball? Somehow I doubt it. The kindest thing I can say is that the author writes well. Just a pity his subject matter is so shallow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read - Nicky can write
He loves to drop names but he writes very wel and it's an easy enjoyable read. Excellent for traveling.
Published 1 month ago by Mandie Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars A luxuriously told tale of a colourful life.
I read this biography and fell in love with the 70 year old homosexual author.He's the gay mate we'd have had if we were Paris Hilton, or back in the day, the beautiful Diana... Read more
Published 9 months ago by christine JENNISON
5.0 out of 5 stars A life well lived
A wonderful read about a life very well lived. The revelations keep on coming. Only thing missing is more photographs.
Published 13 months ago by Paperdoller
5.0 out of 5 stars highly entertaining
Having bought 'Folie de Grandeur' on a recent visit to London. I decided I;d like to know more about the author.
Well, now I Know!!! Read more
Published 13 months ago by B. Van der Walt
3.0 out of 5 stars some redeming features .
Who dosent Nicky Haslam know ! I found the first part of the book that covered his early years the most interesting but as it went on it did become a bit dull as he lists all the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ms Dawn Harverson
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful memoir
This book simply flies along. He writes with such apparent ease about people I remember from the headlines of the time. His adventures are described to perfection.
Published 20 months ago by Mr. J. Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars For violet creams and society dreams
This is a fabulous memoir of high living and exquisite tastes. The society cast runs into hundreds who feature in major and minor roles. Read more
Published 20 months ago by MissusO
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
It was a gift, so I am unsure about how well it works. I expect to hear about it in a few weeks or so.
Published 21 months ago by Ian Burton-Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars a very funny,'camp' biography
I loved this book, especially as it revealed different aspects of quite a number of people I know. I like the somewhat irreverent approach he has in dealing with the traumatic... Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2011 by Lucca Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I loved this book. He was surrounded by extremely interesting people who greatly influenced his life, small wonder he became the talent he is today. Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2011 by Ali
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