Title: One, Two, Three, Four – The Beatles in Time

Author: Craig Brown

Pages: 642 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

From the award-winning author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret comes a fascinating, hilarious, kaleidoscopic biography of the Fab Four.

On April 10th 2020, it will be exactly 50 years since Paul McCartney announced the break-up of the Beatles. At that point, we will be at the same distance in time from 1970 as 1970 was from 1920, the year Al Jolson’s ‘Swanee’ was the bestselling record and Gustav Holst composed The Planets.

The Beatles continue to occupy a position unique in popular culture. They have entered people’s minds in a way that did not occur before, and has not occurred since. Their influence extended way beyond the realm of music to fashion, politics, class, religion and ethics. Countless books have doggedly catalogued the minutiae of The Beatles. If you want to know the make of George Harrison’s first car you will always be able to find the answer (a second hand, two-door, blue Ford Anglia 105E Deluxe, purchased from Brian Epstein’s friend Terry Doran, who worked at a dealership in Warrington). Before she met John Lennon, who was the only Beatle Yoko Ono could name, and why? Ringo. Because ‘ringo’ means ‘apple’ in Japanese. All very interesting, but there is, as yet, no book about The Beatles that combines the intriguing minutiae of their day-to-day lives with broader questions about their effect – complicated and fascinating – on the world around them, their contemporaries, and generations to come.

Until now.

Craig Brown’s 1-2-3-4: The Beatles in Time is a unique, kaleidoscopic examination of The Beatles phenomenon – part biography, part anthropology, part memoir, by turns humorous and serious, elegiac and speculative. It follows the unique “exploded biography” form of his internationally bestselling, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

It always surprises me that there can be anything new to say about a bad that split up over 50 years ago. Yet, here is another. One, Two, Three, Four is Craig Brown’s interesting take on The Beatles legacy.

Much like his previous book Ma’am Darling, Brown mixes the truth with fiction. He includes chapters to The Beatles story that didn’t happen but totally sound like they could have take place. 

What is interesting about One, Two, Three, Four is that Brown has come to telling The Beatles story from conception to end with a mix of current events thrown in. He hasn’t come at his writing from the point of view of a fan telling us what impact The Beatles had on his life. Instead, the way in which he writes his book you feel like you are listening to actual conversations between the Fab Four.

The joy of this book is trying to decipher the truth from the lies. Some are easier than others but either way it is a hell of a ride. 

One, Two, Three, Four – The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown is available now.

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

Title: Ma’am Darling – 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret

Author: Craig Brown

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor.

Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. John Fowles hoped to keep her as his sex-slave. Dudley Moore propositioned her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was in love with her.

For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. “If they knew what I had done in my dreams with your royal ladies” he confided to a friend, “they would take me to the Tower of London and chop off my head!”

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding.

In her 1950’s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman.

The tale of Princess Margaret is pantomime as tragedy, and tragedy as pantomime. It is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues and essays, Ma’am Darling is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

I have a soft spot for Princess Margaret. I think it is because she just kept losing her spot, her place in the royal family shifted so naturally as the heir in succession, she never really had a place in line to the throne that was as important as she seemed t think she was. Therefore, she didn’t really find a way to fit in and was denied the things she so desperately wanted – which very simply seemed to be loved.

In his book, Ma’am Darling, author Craig Brown presents you with various stories about Princess Margaret. Situations and encounters that she found herself in. Some of them are true and some are made up. You, as the reader, are left to figure out which is which.

Princess Margaret is one of he most interesting royals and whilst these stories may seem wild and unbecoming of a princess I would really like to pretend that she did all of them. The world of the royal family would just be so much more fun if they were all true.

Ma’am Darling – 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown is available now.

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