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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enfant terrible for our times
After seeing Keith Allen in the recent BBC television series Robin Hood where he plays the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, I was keen to find out more about the man behind the menace. This autobiography doesn't disappoint. Keith takes us through a life of crime and comedy, where the villainy of his exploits is only matched by the hilarity of his storytelling. From his...
Published on 11 Jun 2007 by Damocles

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Keith, you Rake!
Admittedly, I did only read this to see if Keith was as big a tool as I've always thought he was. I think he actually mentions this possible reader motivation at the start of the book!
I'm still undecided.
I remember him from the Word, years ago, when I thought he was really nasty to Terry Christian. Watching that interview again, I'm wondering if KA was in fact...
Published 6 months ago by Eleanora


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enfant terrible for our times, 11 Jun 2007
By 
After seeing Keith Allen in the recent BBC television series Robin Hood where he plays the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, I was keen to find out more about the man behind the menace. This autobiography doesn't disappoint. Keith takes us through a life of crime and comedy, where the villainy of his exploits is only matched by the hilarity of his storytelling. From his unbelievably naughty childhood on to carousing and stand-up in the Comedy Store, through his television years with the Comic Strip Presents (with several laugh-out-loud anecdotes involving such luminaries as Rik Mayall and Robbie Coltrane which range from the witty to the downright filthy), on up to the present day, with the extraordinary success of his rock star daughter Lily, it's the picture of a life spent at the wild fringes of society, and yet one which strangely reflects the changing times. What binds it all together is Keith's charm and honesty. Despite his breakneck pace of living and his recklessness he comes across as an incredibly genuine person in an era when such qualities are often lacking. I really enjoyed this. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grown Up?, 4 Aug 2007
A wonderfully witty read as one would expect from the funny and often dangerous Keith Allen.

Honest and warts and all, Keith describes his life with panache, refusing to ignore his bad boy antics (of which there are many...many many many) and offering no real excuse only the basic self knowledge that deep down he believes himself to be good.

I can understand however, that by not explaining or apologising too much, Keith's candid tale may alienate some, but as the man himself kind of says, you either like him or you dont, so the opinion isnt likely to be changed. With Keith Allen, you get the feeling the important thing is to let people be. All in all not a bad philosophy.

The great thing about this book is you get a real feeling that it is his words, its as if he is having a one to one with you the reader and that is a special trick with good writing. To me, he certainly has a possible secondary career as a writer from this, well apart from actor, enfant terrible and Lily's dad.

The one complaint is that some things just arent touched upon. For example, Keith has carved a very good reputation for straight acting in recent years, yet there is no mention of serials such as 'Jack Of Hearts', 'Bodies' or 'Robin Hood' Nor is there mention of his newfound love and his new child; or his daughter's success. You get the feeling this book was written a while back and has finally been snapped up to cash in.

Still, a great laugh out loud read....Grown Up? You decide
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars His name is Keith, 16 July 2007
Ok. To start life out with the name 'Keith' might be considered a kind of handicap but to suffer the unsettled world that befell Keith Allen would be enough to turn anyone a bit odd. There is no doubt about it Keith Allen is odd by any of the usual scales of judgement. He is one on his own. No man is an island but Mr Allen comes pretty close. I came to this book having known Keith Allen through his early TV work and Comic Strip and by his later 'Bodies' embodiment of NHS consultant egomaina. As an NHS consultant myself I thought his performance completely engaging and real.
I have always been rather scared of Keith's persona and have always thought that he was one of those characters whom, if you met them, you woud have to laugh along with or suffer the menacing wrath of his violent diatribes. This opinion has changed in later years as he has displayed his obvious talent.
So it was I came to this book hoping to meet the man himself not the demonised character presented by the press. Half way though I wanted to be his mate. I wanted to share those evenings at the Groucho and at Glastonbury, but then things took a turn and that turn was exemplified by his attitude to his relationships. He defends his behaviour over and over by claiming that he is basically 'good' but rarely gives us instances where goodness overcomes a selfish shortterm desire to fulfill his immediate needs, mainly carnal. You sometimes get the impression that some of the minor characters in this are being swept along on the tide of Allen rather than living lives themselves. The impression is that he doesn't have much time for people who are just wading themselves though life in the best way they can and whilst he seems happy to justify his own behaviour with a sort of amateur psychology he won't offer the same courtesy to others.
There is nothing wrong necessarily with his behaviour if you subscribe to a nihlistic, anarchic way of life, which I kind of do, but to try and defend it in 'middle class' terms is a bit of a cop out.
It may be that because a lot of the book was apparently written with his ex partner that he has been misrepresented to a degree and if that is the case it is unfortunate for him and fortunate for us in that it allows us to see the real Keith more clearly.

To the book; It is a good read and amusing in part as well as giving those of a sheltered upbringing an idea of how people who go bad turn out the way they do as well as giving a fairly balanced perspective on the use of drink and drugs and excess and why people do it. Some of the fun evenings are represented as being really good fun. I guess he hates a lot of things and a lot of people and would never afford them the sort of indulgence he expects from his reader but that just amplifies who he is.

I think I would like Keith Allen as a friend but wouldn't want my sister, if I had one, to marry him.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not always pleasant, but always enjoyable, 16 Sep 2008
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Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
I finished this book a month ago but I didn't write a review then because I just couldn't make my mind up about it. Even after allowing time to mull it over I still can't.

I realise I'm just a boring nine to fiver but I was pretty appalled at some of Keith Allens exploits as described in the book. Many things he as done are just plain wrong - wrecking night clubs, impregating women and having nothing to do with the resulting offspring, burglary, over indulgence in drugs and alcohol etc, etc. He seemed to do whatever he wanted to do and damn the consequences.

It put me in mind of those cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid. Occasionally in these cartoons one of the characters would face a moral choice, maybe whether or not to eat that big, gorgeous looking cake. To illustrate the characters dilemma a tiny version of himself would appear, dressed like the devil. This devil would urge him to eat the cake as it was delicious and no one would ever know who ate it. Then another tiny version would appear, this time an angelic version of himself. This angel would then give the other argument, trying to persuade him that eating the cake was wrong. On reading 'Grow up' it would appear that either the Keith Allens little angel never appeared, the devil beat it to a pulp or Keith Allen ignored it completely.

I admit though that whilst his behaviour may made me cringe I still thought it was an excellent book that I enjoyed immensely, although I kept feeling that by enjoying it I was condoning Keith Allens actions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Grown Up?????, 24 April 2008
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Adybobs (Bolton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
To answer Keith Allens initial question as to whether or not he has grown up. I would say definitely not, but why should he?? He has lived his life has he wants to but has made many, many mistakes along the way. Some of them cringe worthy!
His 'live for the moment attitude' can be inspiring, but the flip side of that is his lack of responsibilty and regard for other people, that brings you back down to earth.
Overall though it was a fantastic read and very funny. His saving grace is his honesty and frankness that makes him a likeable character despite his unlikeable qualities.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When We Were Young, 23 May 2008
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
`Grow Up' is the title of Keith Allen's accomplished and well written autobiography. It takes us from Keith's childhood as a navy child in Portsmouth and his first experience as a performer, as a dare on the bridge over a steam train.

Keith then takes us to Malta, through borstal and into squatting. He tells us how he created alternative comedy at the Comedy Store and how he revitalised British Theatre and Film. Strangely enough Rik Mayall made the self same claims in `Bigger than Hitler, Better than Christ' but for laughs, here Keith makes the claims in earnest and yet still comes across as very likable.

In the introduction Keith's challenges' us to decide if he ever has grown up and considering his name dropping is limited to his shameless bragging about the actresses he's slept with and the actors he's taken drugs with then I would have to concede that it is possibly a line he cannot cross as when confronted with a line his reaction is to snort it. It's not big, it's not clever, it is however very, very entertaining.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Keith, you Rake!, 11 Jun 2014
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
Admittedly, I did only read this to see if Keith was as big a tool as I've always thought he was. I think he actually mentions this possible reader motivation at the start of the book!
I'm still undecided.
I remember him from the Word, years ago, when I thought he was really nasty to Terry Christian. Watching that interview again, I'm wondering if KA was in fact provoked to some degree.
The documentary on Lauren Harries and her family - didn't like the way KA was with them, don't think they deserved it.
Many things he said in Grow Up did cause me to do a double take and not in a good way, but I suspect he does have a lot of 'front' which may be masking his 'another' personality.
Hard to know which is the real Keith Allen, the front or what's behind it.
Reasonably interesting read, a slight whiff of the 'tall tale' here and there for me (Susan, the wayward sister for one).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining!, 8 Mar 2014
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Keith Allen is one of the lucky few for whom Life just seems to happen in all the right ways. Is this due to his Alistair Crowley type philosophy of Do what thou wilt? You decide.... :)

Going to have to read it again now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 29 Jun 2013
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NattyB (sydney australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
This is one of the best written autobiographies I've read in a long time.
Brutally honest, often rude and obnoxious, but always highly entertaining.
Keith Allen writes so well the books reads itself to you.
Thoroughly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and funny, 28 April 2013
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This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
Wasn't sure whether I'd like this book but sped through it. Easy to read and full of great stories. Recommend.
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Grow Up
Grow Up by Keith Allen (Paperback - 3 April 2008)
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