I love good showbiz memoirs and biographies. None of that celebrity trash – I like proper life stories of people in any aspect of showbiz with distinguished and/or interesting careers. In particular, I always find the behind the scenes stories of the creative process are fascinating, be it on stage, on film or in the studio – although I’m not immune to a bit of gossip too!
I treated myself to Helen Mirren’s book In the Frame: My life in words and pictures yesterday. This came out in hardback last year and was a large and lovely tome crammed with colour photos, but expensive. This Christmas they’ve brought out a slightly smaller paperback version at an affordable price and updated too – with this stunning cover photo. I couldn’t resist it especially as it was signed. During the 1990s, I was lucky enough to see her on stage in Anthony and Cleopatra with Alan Rickman as Ant – her Cleo going to her death was dignity personified and stood out in an otherwise slightly lacklustre production.
Others I’ve particularly enjoyed have included (strangely enough) Bob Monkhouse’s Crying with Laughter – he may have come over as oily and permatanned, but there’s no doubting that he was a comedy writing genius; and one of the most lovely memoirs I’ve ever read was that of Frank Muir in A Kentish Lad, a chivalrous and thoughtful man who was able to find the humour in everything.
I have a crop of musical memoirs/biogs on the TBR mountain including ones by or about David Cassidy, Keith Moon and Louis Armstrong, as well as showbiz ones of Peter Cook and Spike Milligan to get through one day, but the one I’d most like to read is Roger Moore’s – which I haven’t got yet. It sounds full of humour and 007 lore and would be just the thing to cheer one up after Christmas … which reminds me I’ve never read any of David Niven’s books either – must rectify that!