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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real surprise for me!
My husband 'strayed off the birthday list' to buy me this book. I must admit I was not particularly overjoyed at unwrapping it, though I think I hid it well!. My lack of excitement was due in the main to two factors - firstly, I rarely enjoying reading autobiographies and secondly, whilst I appreciated Blur's music, and even bought some of it, I was never what you would...
Published on 31 Jan 2009 by Rebecca

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a life!
Alex James embraced the hedonistic lifestyle of the rockstar with glee, seizing the opportunity to drink wildly, party ,buy planes and meet beautiful women. This engaging autobiography lacks pretension or discussion of Blur's musical values. James enjoys himself thoroughly and whilst the book often feels boastful, it makes up for this with moments of joyful hilarity...
Published on 14 July 2009 by b


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real surprise for me!, 31 Jan 2009
By 
My husband 'strayed off the birthday list' to buy me this book. I must admit I was not particularly overjoyed at unwrapping it, though I think I hid it well!. My lack of excitement was due in the main to two factors - firstly, I rarely enjoying reading autobiographies and secondly, whilst I appreciated Blur's music, and even bought some of it, I was never what you would necessarily describe as a 'Blur fan'.

It doesn't happen often, but right here, right now, I will admit that I was wrong!! This book, for me, was in fact a joy to read. I am surprised at some of the less favourable reviews but guess that probably, for the out and out 'musos' and hardcore Blur fans there perhaps was not enough of intricacies of making music and being in one of the biggest bands of the time.

However, what this book did offer was an honest and frank account of a life which, in its prime, was lived in a manner so far removed from my own and, I would guess, the vast majority of us. Alex's behaviour at times would to most people seem ostentatious, excessively decadent and a touch vulgar yet instead of disliking him for it, his honest and humourous approach to telling his tale, really endears him to the reader. He is not afraid to own up to moments and actions that he is less than proud of and does not attempt to excuse or justify his actions (and why should he).

In my experience of reading autobiographies - this is a real cut above. In the past, even when attempting to read of the lives of some of my most treasured heros, I have struggled - too much 'extra' detail, inability to 'tell a tale', lack of humour - all too frequently traits of the autobiog. Not here - Alex is a great wordsmith, full of charisma and good humour. He keeps the book fresh and interesting with every chapter and I found myself leaping through pages in a manner usually only induced by a blockbuster novel.

I cannot recommend highly enough.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Prose, 22 July 2007
By 
Maire Mannik "Maire" (Adelaide, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I'm going to skip the five-in-a-bed coke-fuelled romps and the whirl of Britpop excess and mention the writing instead.

Alex James is a fine writer of spare, elegant prose with a striking vocabulary. A rare things in these times.

OK, the book is also a hoot to read for its tabulation of London life in the 90s and all the fun of being a pop star, but there's lots more than that - particularly the engaging enthusiasm for astronomy, mathematics and planetary exploration. The curious mind is a very attractive thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a life!, 14 July 2009
Alex James embraced the hedonistic lifestyle of the rockstar with glee, seizing the opportunity to drink wildly, party ,buy planes and meet beautiful women. This engaging autobiography lacks pretension or discussion of Blur's musical values. James enjoys himself thoroughly and whilst the book often feels boastful, it makes up for this with moments of joyful hilarity.

He is careful to draw a discreet veil over musical disagreements and the feuding between bands that marked the Britpop era. Whilst he discusses key relationships, his writing is straightforward and positive although I'm a bit disappointed he didn't say more about his cheesemaking.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but perhaps a bit rose tinted, 22 Jun 2007
This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I thought this book was very entertaining and a nice insight, not into Britpop, but into Alex himself and what it was like to grow into and then out of Blur. Obviously, been written by Alex himself, there may have been many stories in the drinking years which he either cannot remember or chooses not to tell ( or only tells you bits of). As you would expect from a self penned book, he paints himself as a lovable rogue rather than the arse he may well have been during his excesses, but at the end of it I was left thinking what a nice bloke, interesting life, good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Star shaped, 18 May 2011
By 
theone&only (Nottingham, Notts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
If you would believe the hyperbolic reviews from the 'proper' newspapers, they would have you believe that is the TRUE story of britpop, romanticised and unflinching, as told by one of its key players.

How disappointed I was with those reviewers who should really know better!

This does none of the above, it's a trawl through the more glamorous parts of Alex James' charmed life but I have to say, it's still a good read. Mr James' way of looking at things is as humorous as it is shallow and his use of purposefully short, clipped sentences is appealing although maddening in their lack of detail. Damon Albarn himself has said he found the book a 'wasted opportunity' and I would have to agree. There is hardly any mention of the Britpop protagonists, hell, even his bandmates get nary a look in as Alex says things like (not a quote!), "When I first met Graham he was eating a banana. I liked Graham".
And that's it, it's back to him! Amusing but annoying.

Overall though, that's what his personality is like so at least the guy is being self-admittedly shallow in his honesty, which saves this book from shoegazing tedium and actually makes it an enjoyable read. If you want to know what it's like being in a famous band, get this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good read....., 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
To be honest I didn't think I'd like this book that much. I've seen Alex James on TV and thought he was not very articulate. However I am interested in the story so thought I would give it a go. This book has an easy, somewhat effortless style that makes for good reading. I think this probably illustates a degree of good writing that I hadn't expected. It is true that to a certain extent Alex manages to gloss over details and clearly leaves much unsaid - he glosses over the depth of his narcotic excesses until he states how much he spent on cocaine. Many stories do lack detail. If he included more indepth description the book may have been even better - it seems like he is trying to protect peoples repututations (including his own) which may be understandable to a certain extent. However, despite this lack of candid honesty it is a really good read. Having also spent formative years during the same time period I could relate to the period he describes. Alex describes his wealth and excess in a very matter of fact manner which could be annoying but is actually quite endearing. I would recommend this book, even if you are not a Blur fan (I'm not particularly) but if you are interested in the 90's and pop culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing band not an amazing autobiography, 1 Jun 2008
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I read this book thinking it would bring back memories of the time and give me an insight into the amazing band that was Blur, although as it developed it was clearly only going to be about the strange small world around Alex James. He was a very selfish man going through an unusual experience and, in my view, took a very arrogant view of the whole period in his life.
There are some very interesting sound bites - "if you know why someone likes you then they are not a friend but a fan" and "when you get what you want you lose what you had" - which give a hint of future promise if he continues to write.
Overall the book was a bit disjointed and it felt like he was trying too hard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining read, 4 Aug 2009
By 
Bex (West Lothian, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Being a bit of a Blur fan I had to own this book, and its exactly what I expected - a entertaining and inciteful insight into Alex James' life from his college days, rise to celebrity and eventual change into family man. It is not a book about BLUR as a band, the other members are not given extreme detail, but why would they, this is Alex James's autobiography, about HIS life as part of one of the biggest bands in Britain.

He comes across as laidback and sure of himself, and although he did engage in plenty of unsavoury actions (cheating on his girfriend several times, partying all night every night, for example) you cant help but feel that almost any 20 year old thrust into fame and money would behave in the same way. But despite all this his intellect and inquisitive nature shine through with his love of astronomy and flying also being written about. He doesnt talk much about the Britpop scene or Graeme Coxons departure from the band which perhaps I would have liked a bit more of, but its a fascinating trip into the madness of being in a rock band and the lifestyle it affords you.

Overall its a very entertaining read, not lingering too long on any one area and with plenty amusing anecdotes. Id recommend it to anyone whos a Blur fan, or intrigued by decadent celebrity culture (as this is what a large part of the book talks about) But if you are looking for a book with indepth writings about the Blur as recording artists and the whole Britpop scene read 'The Last Party' by John Harris or 'Blur 3862 days' (fantastic read, but quite rare Im still trying to get my own copy at reasonable price!).
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4.0 out of 5 stars SHAKEN, STIRRED, BEAUTIFUL AND BLURRED, 26 Jan 2009
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Alex James made his name as the floppy fringed bass player and musical foil to Damon Albarn's rennaisance man and Graham Coxon's obsessive muso. That the spotlight was all so often on his bandmates allowed James to live a life full of excess and celebrity without having to worry too much about the press and such minor diversions as songwriting. From the supernova success of the classic 'Parklife' album it was the Bournemouth born James who lived a nocturnal life, either inside such London haunts as the Groucho Club or falling out of taxi's with leggy supermodels. Think of him as the Keith Richards of Britpop and you won't go far wrong.
What Alex James has cleverly done with the totally self penned 'A Bit Of A Blur' is tell a story that includes failure (all three singles from second long player 'Modern life Is Rubbish' stalled at number 28 and nearly killed the band), triumphs (walking away with 5 Brit awards in one year) and pages and pages of self depricating humour, self loathing and a winning way with words. His freindship and adventures with Damien Hurst and hell raiser Keith Allen are often as shocking as they are laugh out loud amusing whilst his own substance fuelled antics often beggar believe.
Thankfully there is more to James than endlessly circling London's party scene - his love of travel, books, art and space (he was a high profile member of the team behind the Beagle Mars mission). He is also an intelligent and articulate man who appreciates how lucky he was to be a major player in the Britpop scene of the mid 90's and just how talented his bandmates really were.
If you can stomach the 'I went to this club and then slept with this model and then drank this and still looked fabulous darling' prose of much of the middle of the book there is a cracking story to be enjoyed. If you are looking for a 'warts and all' expose on the rest of Blur or a who played what on which track tech book then forget it. It's a long way from sunny old Bournemouth - he wasn't a bad bass player either.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...He lives in a very big house in the country, 5 Jun 2007
By 
J. D. Mccullough (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Well, being a big lover of music biographies and having spent my teens attending the early gigs of Suede, blur, Oasis and all and seeing britpop explode I couldn't resist picking up this book.

Having purchased and read this book within 3 days the first point has to be that if your looking for a deep warts and all study of blur and the 90s music scene, forget it, this book is pure froth. Especially two thirds of the way through where it's clear Alex James gets bored and switches from telling his story to short articles on moments in his life he wants to pontificate on.

That said, this isn't a negative review, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I really did get the "cant put it down" bug. It was an enjoyable (if brief) ride through his life, and it is one hell of a story. He really did live the rockstar fantasy to the full. He is clearly a talented and funny writer and he managed (briefly) to convince me that it might have been better to be the bass player in blur than the rhythm guitarist in Oasis in the 90s. Believe me as I'm a northern lad thats one hell of an achievement.

He skips through too many events, and the book lacks any form of substance for it to have any merit as worthwhile music biography. So as a music fan I was disapointed and whether it was worth the purchase in hard back is questionable, though it is nicely packaged and looks good on my bookshelf next to more substantial texts.

It is though a good story and a worthwhile purchase on paperback (maybe wait for the HMV 3 for a tenner deals) and at least the irony that the whole story is summarized by the lyrics to Country House is not lost on the author.
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Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography by Alex James (Hardcover - 7 Jun 2007)
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