Author Topic: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)  (Read 955 times)

Blue Jam

  • Really dense bread marbles
I need some holiday reading, and my favourite kind is biographies. Not autobiographies, or santised authorised biographies, but scandalous and irreverent warts'n'all ones.

I have recently enjoyed Ma'am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown and Everything Trump Touches Dies by Rick Wilson. Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate and the Throne by Christopher Andersen was a cracking tabloidy holiday read when I was in Lisbon a couple of years ago, and I have enjoyed Tom Bower's books on Prince Charles, Richard Branson and Simon Cowell.

Anyone got any good trashy recommendations for me please?

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 08:15:27 PM »
Bower recently did a job on Corbyn.

Howj Begg

  • Member
  • **
  • They raised a beetroot in the air...
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 08:16:47 PM »
Bower recently did a job on Corbyn.

Did you enjoy it?

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 11:11:42 PM »
You could try something by Kitty Kelley. From Wikipedia:

Quote
Catherine "Kitty" Kelley (born April 4, 1942) is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, the Bush family, and Oprah Winfrey.

For the Sinatra biography, Kelley was praised for the quality of her research and for daring to risk a lawsuit, but her other works were not rated so highly by critics. She has been described as a "professional sensationalist" and the "consummate gossip monger".

icehaven

  • I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 12:37:20 PM »
Geoffrey Giuliano used to be the master of unauthorised Beatles bios, and he did a Who one as well.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 12:48:15 PM »
The Lives of John Lennon is apparently outrageous, and the author accuses JL of child abuse, rape, violent muggings and murder. Never read it but I saw an interview on YouTube where he was confronted by a gang of famous Lennon fans. Quite entertaining.

Fire and Fury about Trump was a big pile of bollocks too, though I didn't find it entertaining enough to stick with it.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 12:49:32 PM »
Bower recently did a job on Corbyn.

Another Tory smear. What Corbyn pays rent boys to do in private is his business.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 02:05:24 PM »
I'll second the John Lennon book and add in 'Elvis: The Last 24 Hours' by the same author. Brutal and unrelenting.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 02:58:43 PM »
You could try something by Kitty Kelley. From Wikipedia:

The Nancy Reagan one is terrifying.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 03:41:13 PM »
Geoffrey Giuliano used to be the master of unauthorised Beatles bios, and he did a Who one as well.

He's also recently done one about Viv Stanshall. Apparently got his family on board to make it authorised, and then proceeded to piss them off so much that they started a massive row on the Viv Stanshall FaceBook page and the family ended up blocking him and starting a new page to let everyone know how unauthorised it really is.

the science eel

  • dynamite sack artist
    • PRELUDIN - where goons don't go
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2019, 03:45:12 PM »
Goldman's book on Lenny Bruce is one of the most entertaining biogs I've ever read. Some of it might be true.

The Kelley book on Sinatra is great, again I'm really not sure what's true and what's not.

Blue Jam

  • Really dense bread marbles
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2019, 06:29:57 PM »
I've just ordered this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B01B2DJK7M/

I'm going to Germany so it's fitting...

Blue Jam

  • Really dense bread marbles
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2019, 06:32:20 PM »
He's also recently done one about Viv Stanshall. Apparently got his family on board to make it authorised, and then proceeded to piss them off so much that they started a massive row on the Viv Stanshall FaceBook page and the family ended up blocking him and starting a new page to let everyone know how unauthorised it really is.

I could only find hia audiobooks, has he done a biog that's available on the Kindle? I read Ginger Geezer by the Randall brothers but have to admit I wasn't a fan.

Not read Lucian Randall's Disgusting Bliss though...

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2019, 09:40:48 PM »
The King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis by Shawn Levy is one of my favourite showbiz biographies. It's not scandalous in the sense of being tabloidy, as the author has obviously carried out loads of research and the whole book rings true, but Lewis comes across as  a deeply strange and fucked-up man. He was a bullying egomaniac who could be quite terrifying at times (especially when he was addicted to painkillers in the '70s). Levy actually states in his introduction that the more he found out about his subject, the more dispirited he became.

He actually wanted Lewis to be involved with the book, but after just one incredibly tense and disastrous interview - which is published verbatim as an epilogue, it's absolutely riveting - that idea fell apart.

Even if you don't like Lewis' work, you'll probably enjoy it as a warts and all character study as well as an epic history of American showbiz in the 20th century.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2019, 09:57:13 PM »
I was also going to recommend The Life & Death of Peter Sellers by Roger Lewis, but actually that's such a relentlessly dark, depressing and unpleasant book I don't think it really qualifies as the sort of scandalously entertaining read you're after. It's a brutal portrait of a mad cunt written by someone who comes across as a bit of a mad cunt himself (that probably makes it sound more enjoyable than it is).


mojo filters

  • Mueller heavy
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2019, 10:34:35 PM »
Bob Woodward's John Belushi biography Wired was authorised - but subsequently came under significant scrutiny, causing about as much scandal as the mild mannered chronicler ever could.

He got excellent access to friends, family and colleagues. In subsequent articles and a book co-written by Belushi's wife, it becomes evident that whilst Woodward was technically perfectly accurate in sourcing material, his broader characterisation of Belushi and editorialised representation of key events does not necessarily comport with the recollections of those who provided Woodward's original material.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2019, 11:02:52 PM »
Yes, it's a book about the wild and crazy entertainment industry of the '70s and early '80s written by a clinical investigative journalist. Woodward wasn't the right man for the job, you never get the impression that he's particularly interested in Belushi himself - just what he represented as a symbol of Hollywood excess.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2019, 07:40:50 AM »
I was also going to recommend The Life & Death of Peter Sellers by Roger Lewis, but actually that's such a relentlessly dark, depressing and unpleasant book I don't think it really qualifies as the sort of scandalously entertaining read you're after. It's a brutal portrait of a mad cunt written by someone who comes across as a bit of a mad cunt himself (that probably makes it sound more enjoyable than it is).

The book features a vast amount of interesting stuff in terms of info/facts/lies but yeah, Lewis is clearly bonkers and has a habit of making strangely worded remarks and jumping to conclusions which are never referenced again. I seem to recall a sentence along the lines of, "Was Sellers gay? Probably." then the author immediately moves onto another topic!

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2019, 01:35:08 PM »
I could only find hia audiobooks, has he done a biog that's available on the Kindle? I read Ginger Geezer by the Randall brothers but have to admit I wasn't a fan.

Not read Lucian Randall's Disgusting Bliss though...

Just had another look - I ducked out of the page year ago because it was full of posts by him advertising its imminent release. Looks like it isn't released but it sounds like he's released the source material interviews as audiobooks?

In the meantime, THIS has been released by his 2nd ex-wife - she's the one who had the beef with Giuliano releasing his book. It's a bit like Yoko divorcing John in 1975, having an argument with Philip Norman about his posthumous biography, and then bringing out their own book out soon after. No one's sure who's right and the truth is probably in somewhere in between.

Panbaams

  • Threadkiller, apparently
Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2019, 01:43:24 PM »
I was also going to recommend The Life & Death of Peter Sellers by Roger Lewis

So was I – along with his biography of Anthony Burgess.

Same premise: the longer he spends researching his subjects' lives, the more they irritate him.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2019, 06:05:41 PM »
Same with his book on Larry Olivier - Lewis clearly didn't care much for him, and loathed Vivikins Leigh. The Sellars book I had to read in bits, months apart, and I find I cannot easily watch Sellars in anything now without wondering who he was trying to drive mad behind the scenes.

Re: Scandalous unauthorised biographies (Holiday Reading Thread)
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2019, 03:33:07 PM »
If you enjoyed Criag Brown's Princess Maraget book, try One on One, it's very well done.