Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Rubbish Celebrity 'Autobiographies'

On Rubbish Celebrity 'Autobiographies'

Recent email correspondence following my rubbish book reviews of rubbish books by Charles Bronson and Frankie Fraser ended up posing a few questions.

It was generally agreed that most celebrities are far too busy or far too stupid to actually sit down and write their own life stories, even the notional author of the illustration-heavy "Wayne Rooney - My Life in Pictures" might have had a bit of trouble with the text.

Mad Frankie Fraser's book being a case in point. It is abundantly clear that the real author and editor were far too scared of Frankie to change a word of the narrative, even where it made absolutely no sense at all, resulting in a dreadful dog's dinner of a book.

He should, we think, have asked Terry Pratchett in to do the job. It would have been reasonably funny, witty, set on the back of a turtle, and would have featured Death in all the good bits.

"What... what happened?" said Billy 'Lead Pipe' Smith to the shadowy figure that towered over him.


Lead Pipe looked down at the red mess at his feet, the fact slowly dawning on him that it was, in fact, his all-too-recently mortal remains.

"Oh dear. I don't suppose there's any way we can break his kneecaps?"

That'll work.

My current reading is David Attenborough's "Life on Air", one man's story of a remarkable life spent recording the wildlife and flora of the world. If the following extract is anything to go by, employing Tarantino as his ghost writer probably wasn't the best decision he's ever made:

"The biggest problem of any wildlife film is trying to get the subject to behave for the cameras. Our crews would go to quite extraordinary lengths to ensure that we could get the shots we need with the minimum of fuss before moving on to the next piece of filming.

"There was this one time we had a puffin that wouldn't sit still while we were making a film on the nesting habits of North Atlantic sea birds. So I punched it, and punched it, and punched it, and punched it, and punched it, and right enough the message got through its thick skull. Then it fell off the cliff and got eaten by an albatross. We LOLed.

"Our BAFTA-winning crew found that the best way to get a decent shot of a small mammal or rodent such as a squirrel or a guinea pig is either to nail its feet to the ground; or simply to kill it, rip out its insides and make some sort of glove puppet from the carcass. Good eating, too. I put on loads of weight doing 'Life on Earth' - those rare breeds are just so damn tasty."
Who, then, we ask, would make an appropriate ghost-writer for any given celebrity?

"Jade Goody: My Life" should, we think, be ghosted by the recently-knighted and soon-to-be-martyred Salman Rushdie, then we'd get 600-pages on India's Bovine Nemesis that nobody would want to read and - on the bright side - get us two fatwas for the price of one.

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