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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 2 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 8 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
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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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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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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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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the wait, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: That Close (Audio CD)
Suggs took about 3 years to write his autobiography,finally it got printed so I snapped up a signed copy,then I discovered that his book was available on cd as a audiobook.I now have this audiobook ,which is 7hrs 23mins long (7 cd's ).here suggs tells his life story.This audio book is great I play it on the way to work in the car and on the way home.Hopefully I can hear his whole life story in about 5 days turn the volume up without any interruptions.This audiobook is great hearing Suggs as you hear his life story,If you have not got the time to read ,then this is much easier ,this cd will not disappoint any fan of Suggs.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, he writes like a dream., 18 July 2014
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Close (Hardcover)
I got this book to be nosey, frankly. Turns out I enjoyed it way more than just the nosiness quota. Suggs is a great writer. He has a brilliantly readable tone, a sympathy for his subject, which is not just about himself, and a way of telling a story that has you utterly hooked. I particularly enjoyed the stories of his early life, usually the bit of a life story I enjoy the least if I'm honest, and the way he writes about London is more of a love letter than anything else. I was utterly delighted with this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Nov 2013
By 
Maureen Mearns "helibitch1" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: That Close (Kindle Edition)
No fancy chat just a good honest book about the madness of Madness. I feel like I have been on a whirlwind tour with the boys and it has been great. Highly recommend this a very good read.
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3 of 4 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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