Start reading Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal: The Burning Pants of Popular Culture

Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal: The Burning Pants of Popular Culture [Kindle Edition]

Stuart Millard
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £2.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: At least 60% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Between 20-26 October 2014, spend £10 in a single order on item(s) dispatched from and sold by and receive a £2 promotional code to spend in the Amazon Appstore. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Description

Product Description

Millard peels back the curtain on the peddlers of tall tales and fantastical bunk, in those subcultures where the nature of truth is subjective.

From pro wrestling's funhouse mirror world of kayfabe, there's the method-acted insanity of Brian Pillman, and the mad lies of Hulk Hogan.

Martial arts gives us super-spy movie stars, deadly men like Count Dante, who can explode your heart from fifty paces, and the strange, forgotten story of James Hydrick, telekinetic Kung Fu cultist; the man no prison could hold.

In the paranormal realm, we've Derek Acorah, and the spectacular rise and lurid public fall of Most Haunted. Plus, the BBC's Ghostwatch, a hoax that became the cultural bogeyman for an entire generation of Brits.

And could Bill Murray really be putting headlocks on the strangers of New York? And just what is his connection to Purple Aki?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4187 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J8VJ6S4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3 star
2 star
1 star
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and incredibly funny 15 May 2014
By VTJRaen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Picked this up because it was cheap and others had recommended it. Immediately found myself hooked from start to finish.

Millard comes across with a genuine passion and interest in what he chooses to write about, coupled with a sardonic wit that had me laughing so hard I actually went dizzy (the asthma may have had something to do with it too).

The only reason to not recommend this is if you're a Derek Acorah fan, or Derek himself.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Reading Joyful 22 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I've enjoyed the writing of Stuart Millard ever since I borrowed a copy of The Beach Diaries. I loved it so much I bought a copy for myself and in doing so rediscovered my love of reading that had been taken away by my ill-fated attempt to read Bleak House (the BBC adaptation was better and had Gillian Anderson in it).

Smoke & Mirrors has everything I first loved about Stuart Millard - it is written with a genuine affection for the subjects and scenarios chronicled, it contains stories you won't find anywhere else in literature and most of all it is hilarious, with every mental line enhanced by Millard's fertile mind and desire to amuse. Smoke & Mirrors also boasts Purple Aki which edges this book to the title of his finest work.

This is well worth a look for those searching for something different, those wanting to laugh until they ache and for those that may have lost their enthusiasm for reading. Trust me, after Smoke & Mirrors you'll want to keep reading. I recommend The Beach Diaries as a start.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
First of all, this book is extremely funny. Apart from the sheer absurdity of the some of the events it relates, Stuart Millard has an effortlessly entertaining turn of phrase which is frankly enough on its own to make the book well worth a read: I found myself snorting with laughter several times.

But secondly, it's also perceptive and informative in its analysis of some jaw-dropping showbusiness lies - from televised hoaxes (Ghostwatch; professional wrestling) to light-ent fibbers (Derek Acorah; James Hydrick) to Hollywood urban myths (the strange phenomenon of the 'Bill Murray story'). Millard has an excellent eye for detail and also brings an appealing personal touch to these stories of showbiz deception, drifting occasionally into nostalgic playground reminiscences and entertainingly vitriolic personal diatribes.

Despite its subject matter and despite Millard's frequently acerbic style, there's a real warmth and enthusiasm to this book - you get the impression that the author is genuinely enjoying telling you these often outlandish tales, in the manner of your pop-culture-trivia-obsessed mate in the pub who always has a brilliant insider anecdote to share that's just spot-on when it comes to the off-kilter details that make it doubly fascinating.

I read through this book in a single sitting and will be recommending it to a number of friends - it deserves a much wider audience. Stuart Millard clearly knows that if there's one Hollywood quotation you should never abide by, it's 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain' - every strange and revealing chapter of this book proves that it's almost always the man behind the curtain who is the most interesting thing on the stage.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing about a fascinating subject 26 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating look at the extremes of self delusion, written in an amazingly accessible style without being over-simple or patronising. The Brian Pillman chapter is the best writing on the subject of professional wrestling I've read in some time. Dave Meltzer is fantastic but he's not the most accessible of writers - Millard takes Meltzer's journalism as a source and makes it readable and entertaining for the masses, without sacrificing depth or authenticity. It's the difference between say Ian Kershaw and Giles Milton, or reading through a court transcript of Charles Manson's trial vs reading a critically acclaimed book on the Manson Family.

The other chapters are similarly illuminating - of particular note is a look at famed BBC mockumentary Ghostwatch, an evisceration of noted fraud Derek Acorah, and an exploration of the repeated Bill Murray encounters.

The tome is shot through with personal anecdotes of childhood, which is clearly where Millard encountered the majority of the figures and events dealt with. This is reinforced by the conscious decision to sprinkle the pages with immature jokes about penii - meaning the book works on several levels, unless you're a massively thick stuntman who IMDB says hasn't worked for eight years, in which case books without pictures may not be for you.

I would buy this book immediately, and then buy another one for a friend. Also, if I were to lose my Kindle and also my password for my Amazon account, I would buy another copy without hesitation.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best writer you've never heard of... 13 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like Charlie Brooker before he became successful and married a Blue Peter presenter, or - to a lesser extent - Mr Biffo before he stopped writing about video games on teletext and started writing My Parents are Aliens, Stuart Millard is an extraordinary writer with a huge raft of obscure cultural references and a guffaw-inducing turn of phrase.

In this new book he tackles a variety of subjects - the phenomenon of the TV psychic, the terrifyingly self-delusional world of professional wrestling, an urban legend about Bill Murray stealing a chip off someone in the Crouch End Wimpy, and more.

The one thing all of the subjects in the book have in common is the blurring of fact and fiction - which Millard does his best to get to the bottom of in his own unique, uncompromising - and hilarious - way.

Every single chapter has laugh-out-loud moments that you will find yourself sniggering about hours later, and I recommend the book in its entirety.

However, I have to make special mention of the chapter on Brian Pillman.

This is, quite simply, the best writing on professional wrestling that I've ever read. And believe me, I've spent/wasted most of the last 25 years reading about the subject.

In equal parts funny, moving, insightful, and filled with original content and research, this is a must-read for any fan of the pseudo-sport.

This book deserves to be enjoyed by a wider audience, so buy it now before a bloated Millard hooks up with Zoe Salmon and starts working on the new series of Dani's House.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange little collection
a very strange collection of short essays on various phenomena. More so an expression of the author's thoughts than anything else. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying
Being a huge Bill Murray fan I especially enjoyed chapter 2, but it was interesting to learn about the crazy stories of James Hydrick and Brian Pullman. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Caffyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Really enjoyed this Charlie Brooker-meets-investigative pop culture journalism look at wrestling and other nostalgic phenomena. Can't wait to read the next book
Published 3 months ago by spatch
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Revision Guide on Subculture Weirdos
Admittedly I was already a fan of this authors previous work, however it was with greater anticipation that I approached this latest book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by NEWM
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining look at pop culture figures and stories
This is a really interesting read that cuts across many different genres, be that pro-wrestling, physics, hollywood actors and so forth. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Neil Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars Really funny and also you learn something, innit?
Really funny, well written and obviously well researched as well. I bought it because of previous work I'd read from the author but have to admit I wasn't sure if all the topics... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ak
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I've read most of Stuart Millard's previous work and enjoyed it all, this book continues that trend. Millard's writing style is witty, amusing and informative. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sexy Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious throughout.
I will never tire of hearing 'The Mad Lies of Hulk Hogan' but you get so much more than that with this book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Carl Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars I saw Ghostbusters 3 when I was on holiday in America.
Millard's take on the chinny reckoners of our times is a splendid trip through some of pop culture's biggest and best Billy Bullers. Read more
Published 5 months ago by jcford
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, interesting, funny... vintage Millard.
I purchased this release as a fan of Millard's writing style/previous work and of pro wrestling, and I was not disappointed. I enjoy him most when he is at his most acerbic. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steve
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category