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Rock Stars Stole my Life!: A Big Bad Love Affair with Music Hardcover – 8 May 2014
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There's a misty-eyed reverence for the past in Ellen's entertaining memoir of five decades surrounded by music. (The Observer)
Full of engaging asides and deft, sometimes unsparing pen-portraits, this autobiographical souffle ends with three passages of unexpectedly disturbing power, in which Ellen glimpses the fate of a form of entertainment that has lost the sense of purpose and proportion it possessed during the years when his own tastes were being formed...It is a tribute to Ellen's resilience that not even this sensory assault can erode the powers of humour and observation that make his book so enjoyable. (The Guardian)
For men of several generations, the most eagerly anticipated memoir of the year is Mark Ellen's Rock Stars Stole My Life! and it doesn't disappoint. Subtitled 'A Big Bad Love Affair With Music', Ellen's book describes in beautifully crafted gambols his time working for the music press, from the NME in the Seventies right through to The Word in the noughties, via Smash Hits, Q, Mojo, Select and all places in between.
(Dylan Jones GQ)
Ellen has been at the coalface of rock hackdom for 40 years, yet unlike many of his contemporaries, he has always viewed his relationship with the music industry - and the preposterous entertainers it throws up - as a ridiculous pleasure rather than a burden. Ellen is not only one of the nicest men in the industry, he's also one of its funniest writers, and this books picks away at the hand that has fed him for all these years with such humour, and such delicacy, that it becomes impossible to put down. Here is a man who presented Live Aid, who presided over the most popular music magazine in the world, and who unwittingly became one of the last people to interview Michael Jackson in print. And it is never less than hilarious. This book will make you laugh, make you cry with joy, and send you scuttling over to what is left of your record collection to look for an Elvis Costello album you probably have not played since it was released.
So Ellen's book is a riotous, wildly enthusiastic look back over a constantly changing industry and the larger-than-life characters who have dominated it. As the image of today's stars becomes ever more tightly controlled, Ellen's experiences make him one of the few who can pull back the curtain to expose the smoke and mirrors of this most glamorous, exciting and tawdry of industries. (Express)
Hilariously indiscreet (The Times)
The must read book (Red)
Hang on to the shirt-tails of this book and it leads you right the way through --breathlessly. It's terrific! (Danny Baker)
Riotous, entrancing and wildly enthusiastic. Exposes the smoke and mirrors of this most glamorous and tawdry of industries. (Sunday Express)
Hectic, quietly perceptive and in a writing style best described as Acid Wodehouse. (New Statesman)
The unteachable in pursuit of the unquotable. Knowingly ridiculous and very funny. (Independent on Sunday)
New adventures in Rock and Roll.See all Product description
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My dad can now watch Top of the Pops replays from the 80s in peace. In fact, I might even watch them with him occasionally!
It is a humorous account, warts and all, from naïve beginnings, falling in love with music as a fan, drifting through a lifelong career writing about it, meeting his heroes, some of who come out well, other are major disappointments. It is an easy, entertaining ,enjoyable read, relatively lightweight. As time has gone on, he has moved on from one publication to the next, but more recently with the advent of social media, the profile and role of music magazines has tended to decline ,and he has become more disillusioned with the music business. It is an engaging read, initially he seems to have drifted by accident into music journalism, but his impressive track record of establishing a series of Magazines aimed at different niche markets that have been highly successful in their day shows he is a man of talent and determination .
He is self deprecating in his account , but you sometimes feel he could reveal more, and is holding back some of his innermost thought and feelings. I enjoyed the book, but was hoping for a bit more insight at times . It ends up being perhaps a bit too polite and deferential, a bit like Mark himself. It is a good and entertaining read , but somehow I was hoping for a bit more to be revealed.
When record shops existed I found I could discuss performers and their influences with other geeks, all due to Ellen and Hepworth.
The magazine was well written, witty and informative. I so looked forward to each edition although I was surprised to discover how much. It was a bombshell when they said that the mag was to cease publication and that particular one was to be the last.
I attended my music themed book club that evening in a raft of grief.
A while later I discovered this book and Mark Ellen's writing was wonderfully familiar and enjoyable. It was almost as if I had been with him on his journey. I still miss my monthly shot of the Word. Now I go to the gigs of many of the performers he introduced me to and I say thank you for that privilege.
I recommend the book although it may appear a little dated eventually it was a slice of pop history not to be forgotten.
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