Wednesday, August 27, 2008

books I read by people about themselves

Jason Donovan had to have not one but two children born to him before he finally resolved to give up that which had become his first love, cocaine. I am fascinated by his recollection of becoming so degraded through this addiction he had to regularly clean both up and down the stairs, a phrase which could be metaphoric, literal or both. I also had to become resigned to never knowing, when Donovan describes himself as being like a dog chasing its own ‘tale’, he is being a faux-naif wit or a dickhead.

‘Dono’ (or as his friends called him, ‘Bongovan’) grew up a suburb away from me a few years later than me, and his autobiography Between the Lines is much more enjoyable than listening to him speak. Irritatingly, neither Donovan nor Steve Martin, whose book Born Standing Up is ten times better, seem to have the slightest handle on what it takes to make one famous – I suspect it’s luck – and in both cases, famousness descends on them like a landslide. Both gripe about the inability of their fans and the press to understand their wish for privacy and ‘downtime’; in their defence, it is plain that endless performances to thousands of people take talent and a toll. When I was in New York recently I picked up a three dollar copy of a Steve Martin album in which the audience response is carried upon waves of voices across a huge auditorium; it’s extraordinary to imagine this ‘stand-up’ performance in which every nuance is deadened and distorted by the ridiculous idea of one man standing in front of thousands of people projecting short skits they already know and them yelling in recognition.

5 comments:

boy moritz said...

Oh yeah, I noticed that too, Steve was at a total loss on that one. Given that he was an anxious neurotic, I also found his rational for wanting to get on stage pretty simplistic too (‘everyone wants to be in showbiz!’). Mind you he did say he liked scoring babes and it seems Linda Ronstadt found him fairly lecherous. One section reads like a long apology.

Great book. The album I have is let’s get Small

David said...

That's the first one, right? I downloaded that through limewire. It's pretty good.

boy said...

It is good that plumbing nonsense about fixing sprinkler heads is a personal fav

lucy tartan said...

What's that about the up and down stairs?

David said...

He says he has a glass staircase, but I am uncertain again if that is a double entendre.