Pete Townshend biography review

Pete is one freaky, freaky man. While this book provides an adequate explanation (I’ll leave it to you whether you think it’s plausible) for getting caught downloading child pornography, he has had a genuinely disturbing upbringing. I’m not sure after reading this book which scares me more. He’s just a weird, disturbed guy. But hey I guess that’s why the songs are so good. What left me even more disturbed was that Pete was the businessman of the group. He wrote all the songs, formed all the companies, cashed all the cheques and did all the wining and dining. One could say he’s an out and out toff. A posh git who likes the finer things in life and only concerns himself with which art format he will consume himself in next. Despite cars, yachts and mansions, he seems not so flamboyant as just plain old bourgeois. So much so he got bored with the who dear boy and left to get a desk job at a reputable publisher. Getting chauffeured to work every day, why of course! While he drank Remy Martin literally by the pint he ultimately saw Keith Moon as a hindrance and embraced his replacement who actually, well played a rhythm and kept time. Reading Townshend’s autobiography was frankly irritating. Like finding out Frank Sinatra secretly practiced dentistry or something. He talks sparingly about guitar trashing, drugs and partying but it’s most underwhelming. The guy clearly is a workaholic and a genius, perhaps he gets bored very quickly. He almost sounds more like Keith Moon’s dad, not band mate. Anyway if you’re a Who fan you’re...
Three great movies they’ll never make

Three great movies they’ll never make

Sadly great movies never get made. For what reasons we’ll never know but here’s three potentially legendary movies that may never see the light of day. Shantaram The 2004 book by Gregory David Roberts is the true story of an Aussie junkie who escapes maximum security prison in Adelaide and flees to India. The 600 or so pages go very quickly. Gregory David Roberts does the party scene, finds a few vendettas, infiltrates Bollywood and the local mafia and finds himself a squat in the Mumbai slums. You have to keep reminding yourself it’s not a novel. The only reason this isn’t a movie is it could easily be 10 hours long! But the book is so enthralling and so rich in detail, I feel like I’ve already seen the movie in my head. So why hasn’t Hollywood followed suit and made a movie out of it? Movie rights were bought in 2004 by Warner Brothers. To move things along, Johnny Depp put his weight behind the project. As late as 2013 Aussie Joel Edgerton was being courted by Depp to play the lead role. Roberts has been pushing the script and calling himself a Hollywood scriptwriter for several years now. An Indian director Mira Nair was selected in 2007. Fleetingly the movie looked to be equally Hollywood and Bollywood blockbuster IMDB has Shantaram listed as ‘in development’ for several years now. It’s been on hiatus so long, Roberts has written a sequel. Allegedly Warner Brothers still own the rights to the script/movie, but don’t hold your breath for it coming out any time soon. Keith Moon movie Moon...
Ginger Baker autobiography review

Ginger Baker autobiography review

Ginger Baker is one of the holy trinity or British rock drummers: Keith Moon (The Who), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and Cream.  British drummers are the best hands down. Baker is arguably the best of the 3 and inadvertently invented heavy metal drumming (although he loathes it). But what about the man himself? He’s proof enough that gingers are nutters. Drummers are mad. Ginger drummers are just nucking futs. For example, there is a very small list of people that Baker isn’t pissed off with, in very few countries. He’s very pissed off with former wives, managers, horse grooms people, authors, publishers, gangsters, journalists, Americans, Canadians, Argentinians, racists, South African private armies and prima donna bass players like Jack Bruce. Especially Jack Bruce (Cream bassist and self proclaimed ‘band leader’). Apparently he’s a bit of a dick to work with. Baker’s sparing with his words and he doesn’t mince them either. Even if he’s correcting his holiness Eric Clapton. How the world’s most firebrand drummer and the world’s most boring guitarist managed to work together for even a few short years I’ll never know. This autobiography is not constrained to music by any stretch. It’s a Boys Own Adventure. His setting up a studio Nigeria during the war and recording with African legend Fela Kuti was worthy of the price of admission alone. Baker’s never lost the passion for his drumming and has constantly reinvented himself. Cyclist, polo player, rally driver, subsistence farmer, heroin enthusiast, even an actor at one point. But he made such a hash of it being a junkie was preferable. At times it’s also very hard...
Gudinski biography review

Gudinski biography review

If there was an Australian Ari Gold, it would be Gudinski. Like the fictitious Gold, he’s Jewish, jump-up-and-down-on-the-desk fiery, ambitious and has a finger in EVERY pie in the entertainment industry. Though sadly this bio was written by the faithful, mild mannered assistant Lloyd. It seems Stuart Coupe (an old friend and business associate of Gudinski) didn’t want to see his mate’s fiery temper – or his legal counsel. Controversy wise, this book couldn’t lift the skin of a rice pudding. If the book sets out to share the critical success factors to Gudinski INC, it fails. Sure it talks about fiscal highs and lows but it’s too superficial.  If it sets out to be a kiss and tell, no holes barred, orgy ridden rock and roll party, it fails dismally. It hints about it but never kisses and tells. This is airport book store journalism at its most mediocre. Particularly if you love the acts like The Shyhooks that Gudinski was seminal to, you will be very disappointed. Aside from Red Symons making Gudinski cry (oh sorry I’ve just wrecked the best part of the book for you). If Gudinski is the larger than his cheque book, then this book is not a fitting tribute. Which is sad because I bet Gudinski on fire would make Ari Gold look like a a boy scout Gang Show by comparison. I want tirades, rants, furniture thrown out the window, prima donna rock stars demanding their blue M&Ms and women that would make Gene Simmons blush. Early in his career Gudinski wrote off a brand new Jaguar E Type convertible, but that...
Molly Meldrum biography review

Molly Meldrum biography review

S O   M U C H   C O C A I N E. That’s the only way that Meldrum can be alive. I stipulate cocaine and not speed because he’s obviously been partying – a lot. Had it have been speed the book would be twice as thick and he may have written some of it. For what it’s worth it’s an entertaining read, disappointingly not a great read. Hell, even my mum read it. Why isn’t it great? Well it’s clear that there’s some ghost writing going on (hence biography). It wreaks of some serious editorial panel beating. But finally they managed to put something substantial together. He even admits to having a ghost writer albeit for the TV Week. Why is it good? I didn’t realise that Molly was a friend to John Lennon since the late sixties. What’s more he broke the careers of so many people: Abba, Madonna, Michael Jackson. Not just in Australia but internationally. Not only making their careers but remaining a loyal and trusted friend. I particularly enjoyed how he shed some light on a rivalry between Rod Stewart and Elton John I knew nothing about. It was actually bloody funny! If you were a Countdown kid, you’re in for a treat. He does spill the beans on how piss poor and short sighted the ABC was. Quite often they didn’t have enough film/tape to film interviews and just pretended to film so as to not offend the B grade celeb du jour. Strangely most people my age would recognise Molly from Hey Hey It’s Saturday. But strangely there would...
The Brotherhood book review

The Brotherhood book review

Tony Thompson is a biker of the old school. An old school biker before globalisation, unification and criminalisation of the biker world. Thompson didn’t mind the odd drink, snort, bar fight or even the odd shoot out. He was definitely from a simpler time. He even dreamed of a more principled gang he could hold his head high leading. This book chronicles Thompson’s life in a Midlands biker gang from the late eighties to the noughties. Like the early days of Russian Communism, there was freedom and good intentions and then a tyrant comes and changes everything. The tyrant in this book is the Hells Angels. As the Angels expanded into the UK, they started to harass smaller clubs. Suddenly being in a local Midlands biker gang could dramatically shorten your life. So to counter the threat, several smaller clubs amalgamated into a larger gang, the Midland Outlaws. Although they had no affiliation with the US Outlaws, that quickly changed. They partied, networked and traded knowledge with their international brothers. Learnt how to fortify their club houses and protect their own. Pretty soon they ‘patched over’ and became a chapter of the US gang. Suddenly they had contacts with weapons and drugs. It all basically escalated from there. What Thompson does achieve in this book is to show the boring side of being an outlaw biker. Paying your gang dues (literally) gets more expensive each year and there are career bikers. Outlaw gangs have morphed into corporations – and all the sycophants and psychopathic behavior that implies. Don’t get me wrong, the book has its fair share of violence and debauchery, even humor....