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That Close Hardcover – 24 Oct 2013

149 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085738953X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857389534
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Suggs is a singer, songwriter, DJ, actor and TV presenter. He is perhaps best known as lead singer with Madness, who have had 24 top-twenty hits and continue to tour. Suggs lives in Camden, London.

Product Description

Review

'Brilliantly nutty ... gloriously irreverent' Mail on Sunday.

'Beautifully recreates the memories of his early years' Daily Express.

'Wonderfully evocative' Scotsman.

'His early life would make a novel in itself' Ian Rankin.

'Really well written. Gripping' James Brown.

From the Inside Flap

A lawless brat, from a council flat, A little bit of this, and a little bit of that - Oh, Oh. Aerosol, the bricks.* A pigeon that was flying better dead than when it was alive, A second-hand suit and Dr. Martens boot, Punk, 2 Tone, infinity and (one step) beyond. A life lived, given and taken. No questions asked. We were that close, it was scary, We were that close, to getting it right, Or crashing and burning. When time wasn't of the essence, When time didn't mean money, When time was an irrelevance. Remember them summer days, When we took whatever came our way, And got away, hey, but not too far, Took a spin round in your broken-down car. From the back streets of North London to Buckingham Palace, and everything in-between. The story of... SUGGS. *With a nod to Ian Dury.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Parrott on 27 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Madness fans: THIS BOOK ISN'T ABOUT MADNESS. There are a few interesting revelations, but it's about "What made Graham MacPherson into Suggs". Just thought I'd start there, as it seems to be a constant complaint in other reviews.

I've read a lot people associated with 2-Tone, and this was my favourite read, because (1) It's not ghostwritten, or not much at least, because you can tell Sugg's way of speaking coming through the words. (2) He doesn't big himself up, quite the opposite if anything. (3) No-one gets slagged. Nice, easy read, plenty of anecdotes, made for holiday reading. you may not learn much, but there are plenty of fact-heavy books for that, this is just a pleasant few hours of company with a nice guy.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By young soul rebel on 24 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disappointing. Madness were the first band I ever saw live, and The Prince still has to be the most infectious dance track ever. But there just isn't enough of Madness in Suggs' book. It's as if he's trying so hard to be someone other than the singer from Madness, that his motives obscure his own (and the band's) true legacy. Want stories about the creation of One Step Beyond? Or how and why the song Michael Caine evolved and how they got the man himself onto the record? Or how they matured into some of the finest songwriters around? No chance. Want to know how Suggs makes bruschetta, or enjoys cycling in southern Italy? Then you're in business.

He's a third of the way into the book before Madness even emerge as a band. You're wondering how he's going maintain that detail throughout Madness' career. Simple; he doesn't. A few chapters later, they're splitting up. No mention of the six albums recorded in between. He goes into excruciating detail about a New Year's Eve, but doesn't mention recording Absolutely, 7, the Rise and Fall etc. The sequencing jumps around a lot and while I'm sure there's something to be said about avoiding a straight, chronological narrative, it sill leaves you feeling a little short-changed.

What is written is good however; very entertaining. There's a real warmth and honesty to his tales, and he's a good narrator/raconteur. I'd imagine his one man stage shows are a gem.

So, caveat emptor. Be aware that you are getting a well written and entertaining autobiography. You are not getting a book about Madness.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By k ford on 25 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For any Madness Fan, or anyone interested in the Social and Music scene of the 70's and 80's this is a fantastic read. The style is honest and truthful, but the narrative walks the reader through the authors extraordinary lifetime events in a natural and moving way. - Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a slightly odd autobiography. For the first two thirds or so it tells the story of Suggs's life from childhood to the present day, and it is an enjoyable read, although some will be disappointed that Madness seem to be treated almost as an aside in a way, with fewer than expected stories about the band and its members. Towards the end however it does seem as though Suggs was maybe told by the publisher that the book was too short, so the remaining part is taken up with what feel like extended anecdotes about family holidays, friends, football, meals he's had and so on. It's entertaining enough, but it feels a little "will this do?", as though it was added to pad the book out. An easy read, but it feels like it needed more work to knock it into shape.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stu on 20 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic story of how Suggs got his stage name, rose to fame.

Some people have said "Oh, theres not enough about Madness in here" - Er, when he was born, just like the rest of the band; they didnt release One Step Beyond in the late 1950s as Madness. Its a book about Graham McPherson, not a biography of Madness.

Still a great book though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike the Fish on 24 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
Like many, I was eager to read this book. There have been hints about difficult relationships in Madness, and these are briefly referenced, but in no detail and we learn little about the workings of the group, or indeed recording the music. Presumably the lack of detail about group dynamic is that he still has to work with these guys, and also - to be fair - it is none of our business.

He recollections about some parts of London in the 70s is at times alarming: violent world, with poor accommodation too. Maybe some parts of Britain are still like this. But it's shocking and worth reading.

As I said in the review title, Suggs is a great story teller and this book is very easy to read. But make no mistake, this is a biography about Suggs, and not about Madness, which is fair enough and actually makes sense - just not what I was expecting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By florian on 14 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Look I love Suggs and indeed Madness, (they soundtracked my childhood), so I came at this with a lot of goodwill. Suggs is undoubtedly on the verge of being a 'National Treasure' so I bought this as a holiday read.
Blimey it was hard work. Written in a rather arch style where he is the hero of his own movie as it were and endless recounting of the clothing he was wearing, it got well ..... I hate to say it....tedious. And the absolute shame of this book is he has such a bl**dy good story to tell, drug addicted jazz father, cabaret/louche mother, childhood exile in Wales, being in one of the definitive UK bands in one of the definitive era's for music, then onto to the aforementioned national treasure status and yet he fails signally to deliver. That Close? Not even near to being a decent retelling of his story.
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