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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant read about Her Majesty's favourite skinhead.
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...
Published 3 months ago by A Parrott

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - not enough Madness
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...
Published 9 months ago by Andrew GC Davison


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - not enough Madness, 24 Nov 2013
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant read about Her Majesty's favourite skinhead., 27 May 2014
By 
A Parrott "Polly the Wasp" (Reading UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: That Close (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It drove me. Completely bonkers., 20 Aug 2014
By 
Lutz Svensson (Deptford, London, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: That Close (Hardcover)
At the start of 'That Close...', That Nice Mr Suggs recounts an anecdote wherein he's encouraged by a publisher to write his memoirs. The catch..? A ghost-writer. He doesn't accept the offer... but some years later produces 'That Close' - all by himself.

So - top marks and full kudos for authenticity, credibility, and so on. And zero marks for everything else. Because what a (decent) ghost-writer would have done (and what That Nice Mr Suggs painfully and repeatedly fails to do...) is give some consideration to what the reader might actually want to *get* from this book. Take heed of all the other reviews that point out the very, very minimal 'Madness' content, the bizarre recounting of deeply inconsequential tales from That Nice Mr Suggs' footie wanderings, the cack-handed (ie. non-existent) attempt at imposing a narrative structure on his life... and so on... and so on... and so on.

Also note - if you're a pedant, like me - that there appears to have been virtually no proof-reading of his manuscript at all... let alone any editorial input. There are typos, grammatical errors, events mentioned in the wrong order and the most migraine-inducing failure to compose thoughts into sentences.

Meaning that you get something like this: "That Nice Mr Suggs is clearly a thoroughly nice. And decent man. As you can tell from his book. Which he wrote himself. However, there are some problems. Including the fact that he writes prose like he's writing a song. In little, miniature clauses. That don't really connect. Up with. Each. Other..."

Drove me completely bonkers... or as That Nice Mr Suggs might say: "It drove me. Completely bonkers." And - hey presto! - there's the title for my review written...
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Smuggsy ??, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
There is no doubt that Mr Mcpherson is a national treasure but this certainly isn't crown Jewels material.

It is written in a very conversational style that comes across as a random series of events that he has somehow stuck together without any obvious theme. The trouble with this approach is that you can see all the joins and more importantly the gaps.
It would probably work well if you were in a bar sharing a beer with him (something I would be more than happy to do!) and perhaps his one man show is a more appropriate vehicle for these ramblings

He undoubtedly has an interesting story to tell but frankly speaking the ghost writer has had a nightmare as in my opinion this could have been done so much better.

Perhaps a better title for the book would have been "Smuggsy" because unfortunately that's how he comes across and it would appear this is just an blatant exercise in ego stroking/money making and if that what it is then good luck to him - but Smuggs be warned you have sold yourself short mate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suggs , That Close, 1 Jan 2014
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
its a book about Suggs , but no real depth to it to be honest , I expected more from a member of a group called Madness
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soon as I wake up, every night, every day, I know that it's you I read to take the blues away! ;-), 23 Nov 2013
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
As a lifelong Madness and Chelsea fan I was expecting a good read - which is exactly what I got! Admittedly I did panic a bit when I was about two thirds through and there hadn't been very much detail about the band's successful years, but this was addressed more towards the end of the book. A little more of this wouldn't have gone amiss and as others have commented, a little more chronological order to things would have made it all a little easier to follow. Hence 4 stars and not 5.

Reading the book has encouraged me to buy and listen to The Liberty of Norton Folgate, which I'll be doing very soon. It seems I've missed out on a real treasure.

In summary - a good guy, a good read and a brilliant, unique band.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT, 18 Feb 2014
This review is from: That Close (Hardcover)
I love Suggs, I love Madness, I watched "The Prince" on TOTP in 1979...I think you get the picture. I got this as a present and the first couple of chapters started off really well - reaching 50, facing your own mortality, looking back, & it gave a vivid account of his early years. And then? It just wanders off in to a stream of non-linear anecdotes, focussing more on Chelsea than Madness. It lurches back and forth betweeen events, some garnering far more detail than they deserve; others getting precious little detail at all. For example, Mike Barson's departure from the group in 1984 is reduced to one sentence. The Madness reunion makes mention of Barson rejoining but not wearing a balaclava...excuse me? It's only later in the book - much later - that a passing mention is made of Barso arriving at photo shoots just prior to his 1984 departure wearing balaclavas. It meanders on with litle or no consequence and very little point and is a massive disappointment. Suggs' "Disappearing London" was far better. PS - no-one plays "base guitar".
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3.0 out of 5 stars One or two steps not far enough, 24 Aug 2014
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
Structurally, this is a strange book. It starts as a conventional autobiography, then loses its chronological thread to become a memoir, and ends-up as a sort of collagey scrap-book of essays about family, friends and holidays. So quite off-beat, a bit like Suggs himself, who goes out of his way to avoid revealing too much about the true dynamics of Madness and its various members. I'm sure this would have been a very different book if it had been written in Madness's wilderness years (1987 to 1992), when perhaps some of the inevitable tensions in a seven man band would have been revealed, but instead it's been written in the golden glow of the Madness revival, when Suggs can't afford to offend his fellow band members as they all make the most of our nostalgia for the nutty boys, and Suggs himself has become a national institution. National institutions, of course, rely on maintaining the status quo, but I may be straying into one of Suggs's anecdotes about Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi's stage gear being the same as their street gear. And that's about as revealing as this book gets.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, But What Are You Really Like?, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: That Close (Hardcover)
As with another mid-range Cockney celebrity blabathon,Danny Baker's recent skip down his own knock-kneed memory lane, this is a frustratingly superficial flick through the past.

Suggs delivers some interesting titbits from his years roughnecking on the cobbles of Camden, freezing his fingers off in a Butcher's backyard and living in a two room flat with him mum, but he doesn't actually start talking about Madness until past page 90. You know, Suggs, that's the stuff most of us are interested in, surely? The band and your relationship with them? The rows, the make ups, the money, the glory and the infamy?

I really could care less about the lovely home in Italy. That's all great for Suggs but a bit of insight and passion would have made this a much more interesting book. Maybe he's just floated through it all, touched by luck and unburdened by self doubt.

Fun but trivial. Well dressed and avuncular, as always. But not much more. Like one of the less good Madness songs.
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