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That Close Hardcover – 24 Oct 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085738953X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857389534
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'Beautifully recreates the memories of his early years' Daily Express. (Daily Express)

'Brilliantly nutty ... gloriously irreverent' Mail on Sunday. (Mail on Sunday)

'His early life would make a novel in itself' Ian Rankin. (Ian Rankin)

'Really well written. Gripping' James Brown. (James Brown)

'Wonderfully evocative' Scotsman. (Scotsman)

Book Description

The amazing life of Madness frontman and national treasure, Suggs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a slightly odd autobiography. For the first two thirds or so it tells the story of Suggs's life from childhood to the present day, and it is an enjoyable read, although some will be disappointed that Madness seem to be treated almost as an aside in a way, with fewer than expected stories about the band and its members. Towards the end however it does seem as though Suggs was maybe told by the publisher that the book was too short, so the remaining part is taken up with what feel like extended anecdotes about family holidays, friends, football, meals he's had and so on. It's entertaining enough, but it feels a little "will this do?", as though it was added to pad the book out. An easy read, but it feels like it needed more work to knock it into shape.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic story of how Suggs got his stage name, rose to fame.

Some people have said "Oh, theres not enough about Madness in here" - Er, when he was born, just like the rest of the band; they didnt release One Step Beyond in the late 1950s as Madness. Its a book about Graham McPherson, not a biography of Madness.

Still a great book though.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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