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For Alex James, music had always been a door to a more exciting life: a way to travel, meet new people and, hopefully, pick up girls. But as bass player of Blur - one of the most successful British bands of all time - his journey was more exciting and extreme than he could ever have predicted. Success catapulted him from a slug-infested squat in Camberwell to a world of private jets and world-class restaurants. As 'the second drunkest member of the world's drunkest band' life was always chaotic, but Alex James retained a boundless enthusiasm and curiosity at odds with his hedonistic lifestyle. From nights in the Groucho with Damien Hirst, to dancing to Sister Sledge with Bjork, to being bitten on the nose by the lead singer of Iron Maiden, he offers a fascinating and hilarious insight into the world of celebrity. At its heart, however is the picaresque tale of one man's search to find meaning in an increasingly surreal world. Pleasingly unrepentant but nonetheless a reformed man, Alex James is the perfect chronicler of his generation - witty, observant, frank and brimming with joie de vivre. BIT OF A BLUR is as charming, funny and deliciously disreputable as its author.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780316029957
ISBN-10: 0316029955
Format: Hardback
(240mm x 162mm x 27mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Little, Brown & Company
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 7-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A breezy, boozy account of an explosive moment in pop music. London in the mid-1990s was an epicenter of the music and art worlds, verging on a major political shift. James, formerly the bassist in Britpop band Blur and contributor to several British magazines, recounts his ascent to rock stardom and the subsequent rapid explosion of his ego with plenty of wit in hindsight. He affectionately recalls his boyhood in Bournemouth dreaming of appearing on Top of the Pops. "In all the time I have been making music, nothing quite so fantastic as what happened in the next five minutes has ever happened again," he writes of a teenage bedroom rehearsal with two friends. In 1988, enrolled at London's Goldsmiths College, James met best friend and Blur band mate Graham Coxon ("brilliantly artistic, but vulnerable"), artist Damien Hirst and first-love Justine, with whom he fell in and out for several years. Blur, originally called Seymour, signed with EMI Records at the height of pop music's obsession with grunge. When the shambling Britpop sound caught on globally, James found himself rich and famous in his early 20s. "I'd tell myself it was the duty of rock stars to indulge themselves beyond reasonable limits," he writes. "If I couldn't be reckless and extreme, I wasn't doing my job properly." James felt free to indulge his passions, which in addition to the usual drink and drugs included astronomy and fancy cheeses, extolled in refreshing, if long-winded vignettes. Readers may feel slightly overstuffed by the time the rock star sobers up and settles down in the country, but James's self-awareness on the page saves him from innumerable tabloid cliches. He'd rather name fine hotels and bars than the glitterati frequenting them, and he never forgets how he arrived at such a rarefied perch, looking back with a teenager's sense of awe.A rock bio with snap. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Alex James

Alex James is the bass player with Blur. He is also a Visiting Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Europe's largest space research facility. He lives with his wife and children in the Cotswolds.

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