Title: Threepenny Memoir

Author: Carl Barat

Pages: 227 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

‘Looking back at The Libertines is like catching flashes of sunlight between buildings as you race by on a train. An old film reel where the spools are weathered and worn, leaving empty frames on the screen.’ 

In the final years of the last millennium, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty forged a deep musical bond, formed The Libertines and set sail for Arcadia in the good ship Albion; a decade later, Carl would emerge from his second band, the Dirty Pretty Things, after one of the most significant — and turbulent — rock ‘n’ roll trajectories of recent times. Threepenny Memoir navigates the choppy waters of memory, and gives an inside look at life in the eye of the storm, chronicling how a pair of romantics armed with little more than poetry and a punk attitude inspired adoration in millions worldwide — and proceeded to tear apart everything they had. 

With unflinching honesty but real warmth, Carl — who has recently performed with The Libertines for the first time since 2004, and released a solo album — looks back at the creative highs and the drug-addled lows of life with both bands, as well as giving an intimate account of the people and places that have informed his songwriting. From Camden bedsits, impromptu gigs and minesweeping drinks in the Dublin Castle to Japanese groupies, benders in Moscow and chatting to Slash, Threepenny Memoir charts a fantastic course through recent musical history. And, in the aftermath, Carl reflects on the pressures — both external and self-inflicted — that led to each band’s demise, and on the challenges and rewards that life as a solo artist now holds. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

None who know The Libertines can ever accuse Carl Barat of living a boring life. In Threepenny Memoir we see the inception, the excitement and indeed the demise of the the most important bands of the noughties.

What is wonderful about Threepenny Memoir is seeing the love affair (because although it was a platonic thing it has to be called a love affair) between Carl Barat and Pete Doherty from the perspective of an actual Libertine and not from someone at the sidelines of musical history.

What this memoir has managed to do is to remind me just how much I love the music of this era and how much I miss the person I was back then.

Threepenny Memoir by Carl Barat is available now.

For more information regarding Carl Barat (@carlbaratmusic) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.

Title: Me

Author: Elton John

Pages: 374 Pages

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

The Blurb

In his only official autobiography, music icon Elton John writes about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the film Rocketman.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three, he was on his first tour of America, facing an astonished audience in his tight silver hotpants, bare legs and a T-shirt with ROCK AND ROLL emblazoned across it in sequins. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation. All the while, Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me Elton also writes about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Elton John has always been a constant in my life. His music was ever present – school journeys home with my mum signing Sacrifice (badly) spring to mind but besides his music I didn’t really know to much about the man himself.

I watched the biopic Rocket Man and I loved it so decided that the natural next step would be to read his autobiography and find out more.

With Me you get more into the nitty gritty. Whilst the film can represent scenes of Elton john’s life and to some extent show the emotion of the moment the written word tells you just how the person was feeling. It guides you, allows you to make up your own mind. You aren’t told to feel a certain way, you are allowed to feel things on your own terms.

What is brilliant about Me is that Elton John does not hold back. Even when he himself does not come across too well. He has led a fascinating life – at times  it has been dark and dangerous and at other times it is just full of brilliant experiences and epic memories. It is such a joy that he has decided to share them.

Me is by far one of the better autobiographies that I have ever read.

Me by Elton John is available now.

For more information regarding Elton John (@eltonofficial) please visit www.eltonjohn.com.

For more information regarding Henry Holt & Company (@HenryHolt) please visit www.henryholt.com.

Title: My Thoughts Exactly

Author: Lily Allen

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Blink Publishing

The Blurb

So, this is me. Lily Allen.

I am a woman.

I am a mother.

I was a wife.

I drink.

I have taken drugs.

I have loved and been let down.

I am a success and a failure.

I am a songwriter.

I am a singer.

I am all these things and more.

When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better.

This is my story. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Lily Allen – always outspoken but always true to herself. On paper, she is exactly everything you expect her to be and exactly how she comes across in interviews – passionate, caring and fierce. Her trademark ‘don’t give a crap’ attitude isn’t a costume she wears. She tells you things exactly how she sees them. She will deal with the consequences later.

My Thoughts Exactly gives you an insight into the life behind the circus of music and celebrity. Her life has been (and still is) beyond interesting. From her relationship with both of her parents to her rise to music fame – My Thoughts Exactly is an amazing account of what it is like to be a woman in the music industry.

My Thoughts Exactly is a must read.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen is available now.

For more information regarding Lily Allen (@LilyAllen) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Blink Publishing (@BlinkPublishing) please visit www.blinkpublishing.co.uk.

Title: Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humour and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

The Review

I love Trevor Noah. I love how he approaches his political view points and how he uses humour to emphasise important arguments. It was due to this love of his comedic style that made me decide to read his autobiography Born a Crime.

In Born a Crime, Noah chronicles his life being a mixed race boy in Africa and how he felt certain privileges due to his being ‘not quite black enough’ and how through his experiences he is able to paint a picture of modern day racism.

Born a Crime is a fascinating read, especially if you are not familiar with the political situation in certain parts of Africa or political situations such as apartheid which personally I wasn’t very familiar with. So even if, like me, you only pick up Born a Crime due to the name of the author you are bound to learn something new.

Noah’s experiences are – at times – shocking, sometimes heart-warming but always painted with humour. I laughed a lot when reading Born a Crime.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is available now.

For more information regarding Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) please visit www.trevornoah.com.

For more information regarding Random House(@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Title: The Life of Rylan

Author: Rylan Clark Neal

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Arrow

The Blurb

Well hark at you, stumbling upon my autobiography. Bet you wouldn’t have put money on that three years ago, eh?! Please don’t stress yourself out too much, though, it’s actually socially acceptable nowadays that you’re interested.

Firstly I’d like to emphasise that I have WRITTEN THIS BOOK MYSELF, so be assured you’re getting the TOOTH, the WHOLE TOOTH and NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH! (Which was my original choice of title, but babe, we’re so over that.) This book documents my story, year by year, from my humble beginnings growing up in the East End of London, becoming one of the nation’s most talked-about people overnight to finally moving up the spectrum from guilty pleasure, and getting nearer to national treasure.

It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly you’ll discover who I really am. If it doesn’t do any of those things you’re not legally entitled to a refund – just clearing that up ;-).

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This book has been like therapy, and LORD was I in need. Enjoy!

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I have a theory that the longevity of an X Factor contestant firmly depends on if you don’t win. Look at the history of the contestants: Olly Murs, JLS, Stacey Solomon. These are among the acts whose careers have been more successful than the winners – I can barely remember any winners – try, it’s really hard to do.

One of the most memorable contestants has t be Rylan Clark-Neal. I love Rylan. He is the phoenix from the ashes. He had such a rough start to his celebrity life but has managed to turn public opinion in his favour. Everyone loves the underdog.

If you read his autobiography The Life of Rylan (and you really should because it is brilliant) you can see how he worked this magic. He is so funny. He is humble and he is someone who absolutely adores the world of ‘celebrity’. You cannot help but get swept up along with Rylan. It was a joy to feel like I was there with him on his rise to success. This probably comes from watching him ‘grow up’ in front of us. Either way, he invites you into his world like you are going to be his new best friend.

If I could offer one piece of advice for the reader it would be that The Life of Rylan works brilliantly as an audiobook. It makes the whole experience feel like one long heart to heart with a friend.

The Life of Rylan by Rylan Clark-Neal is available now.

For more information regarding Rylan Clark-Neal (@Rylan) please visit www.luxenoa.com.