Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be: The Life of Lionel Bart Hardcover – 7 Nov 2011
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
He wrote some of the best, most popular, most enduring songs of the past 60 year. He had a breathtaking theatrical imagination. He was as complex, flawed and damaged as a proper human being should be. His story is extraordinary, and, from a narrative point of view, near perfect-with three acts, a journey, a climax, a crisis, a catharsis and a calming denouement.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most readers will instantly know that Lionel Bart wrote "Oliver!" Those of a certain age will be able to hum the cleaned up version of "Fing's Ain't What They Used To Be" - and might even know that it came from one of the most revolutionary experimental theatre productions of its era. Some may also remember the old pianist with the toothless kiddie in an "Abbey National" commercial. A few musical theatre fans will also speak of "Blitz!" "Maggie May" and "Lock Up Your Daughters" with affection, simultaneously shuddering at "Twang!!"
The `pub quiz' bore will know all about Bart's connections to Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard among a host of other 1960s stars. It's really in the collation of these connections that this biography scores. Alma Cogan, Judy Garland, Kenneth Williams - just a few of the myriad names who drifted into and out of Lionel's circle, supported by him and lending him support in return.
The biography does a reasonable job of recording the occurrence of an interaction, noting where possible those for whom he wrote songs, gave advice or simply 'walked' into a glittering premiere. Of his non-celebrity friends, staff and family, there's clearly been some long conversations sifted to provide a few insights into how a man can be a millionaire one moment, at the height of his creative powers, then lose everything including health and home in a few short years.
`Fing is...Read more ›
Downsides? There are a few innacuracies, largely, I imagine, as a result of the book not being edited or proof-read properly. The authors adopt a saloon-bar style of narration that may not be to everyone's taste. But perhaps in the same way that Roger Lewis' biographies were written to reflect the personality of the subject (Olivier formal, Sellers all over the shop etc) this might be a deliberate reflection of the frenetic nature of Bart's life. Enjoyable. Recommended.
The only grouse I have is the Author's writing style. Some poor language and four letter words are used during the narrative; I'm not a prude but think the writers should have kept it simpler.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written. One of those books you don't forget. Packed with interesting facts from the era that launched modern British pop. Recommended.Published on 17 May 2014 by Not BRAZIL
I feel that this was a good read showing the rags to riches to rags journey showing the transitory nature of show business fame.Published on 7 Aug. 2013 by Francis Newport
Such a wonderful insight in to Lionel's life and character. I enjoyed it so much I hardly put it down! Great pictures too.Published on 4 Mar. 2013 by Charliegirl
I adored this book!
I have read a previous autobiography and liked that but this really made him seem human and very real.
I loved the irreverence and witty one liners. Read more
This is a terrific read. Gives a real insight into the wonderful world of Bart. Great attention to detail - even a description of the clothes hanging in his wardrobe! Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2012 by WDS
I purchased this book on the basis of the review in one of the daily papers, and looked forward to what I thought would be a good read. Read morePublished on 17 April 2012 by joca