I was the Fool-king of Soho and the number-one slag in the Groucho Club, the second drunkest member of the world's drunkest band. This was no disaster, though. It was a dream coming true.' For Alex James, music had always been a door to a more eventful life. 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. In Bit of a Blur he chronicles his journey from a slug-infested flat in Camberwell to a world of screaming fans and private jets - and his eventual search to find meaning and happiness (and, perhaps most importantly, the perfect cheese), in an increasingly surreal world.
Alex James is a witty, engaging guide to the mad goings-on behind the scenes of Britpop. Blur's bassist famously estimates that he blew around GBP1m on champagne and cocaine during the Nineties. Here's how. INDEPENDENT Bright, passionate ... James writes with wit and flair TIME OUT *'The definitive guide to Britpop ... this effervescent memoir emerges as the most fascinating, as well as hilarious, document to date of those times OBSERVER Guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye - in a good way ELLE
Apt Title, mostly enjoyable apart from a few irrelevant excursions2011/3/20
C. D. White
As an American Blur fan, I am pretty unfamiliar with the 4 personalities within Blur. Since they have never been huge over here I have not been bombarded with press about them. So, the vague impressions I had of the bassist were that he was a life of the party archetypal rock star. This impression is fleshed out in his autobiography. His personality comes through as he relays what it was like to be in one of the biggest bands in the world through the 90s. And a major plus about this book is that it isn't bogged down with too much back story of his life as a child...just enough to give you a taste of where he came from. But that brevity is somewhat of a double edged sword because he also gives only cursory recollections of the recording process of Blur's music. As a fan of the band I felt a little short changed by that. Make no mistake though he does talk about it to some degree but not as much as I would have liked (for instance I don't recall him even mentioning "The Universal" much less go into detail about it). He does however go on at length about French literature, space travel, and flying among other topics that I could really take or leave. This is not to say that I only want to read about his musical ventures, but when entire chapters are devoted to these aforementioned other topics, wading through it does get a bit trying.
That being said, all in all this was an enjoyable read for someone interested in Blur. James is witty and recalls things with a style that will put a smile on your face as you read what it was/is like to be in Blur whether it's in front a mass of adoring people in Sweden or walking through a snake infested wilderness in Montana. His personal insight into his other bandmates; Damon, Graham and Dave is also even keeled and gives you a more well-rounded perspective than any outside source could. Also, his observations on the nature of celebrity are quite eye opening.
I would recommend this to any fan of the band curious to get an up close and personal account of the band. However for those wanting to read a book that concentrates mostly on the musical output of the band I would recommend reading Blur: 3862 Days: The Official History first.
Great book but changed my view of the author2012/5/6
I'm a huge Blur fan, I have been since the height of the Blur vs Oasis episodes during my teens. This book charts the formation of the band through to almost the present day from the point of view of Alex James, the band's bass player. For a music autobiography it's surprisingly well written, highlighting the more literate nature of Blur compared to many of their contemporaries. What I was surprised by is how much of a git (Amazon censored my original choice of adjective) Alex James appears to have been, sure he puts a funny and lighthearted gloss on it, but at the end of the day I respect and admire him a little bit less than before I read the book.
In the past year, I have read auto bio's by Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Steven Tyler, Tommy James and Walter Yetnikov, and none can come close to Alex James and his escapades. So cleverly written and wildly fun, you have to read 3 times before you can put it down. Maybe it's because he is unapologetic about being a complete buffoon but that makes the book more honest then the others, but I enjoyed this book immensely.
I am a tremendous Blur fan and was anxious to get a look into the workings of what I consider to be one of the most talented bands to have recorded. With this book I got the pretentious rambling of a man who, despite being an extraordinary bass player, is so full of himself and all the things his money can buy and the general consumption of everything except music that I found the book unbearable. I was expecting something this book wasn't--I have absolutely no interest in James' interest in astrology, flight, alcohol, Fat Les, Damien Hirst, or his life outside of Blur. I wanted to read about the construction of some of the best pop music ever made, not his palatial country house (after reading this, I'm not entirely sure "Country House" wasn't written about him.). James comes off as a snobbish bore whom I like less for having read this book. He should thank whatever God he believes in (and my guess is the author's God is named Alex James) that he was lucky enough to be in a band with Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn. So disappointed.
A fun, decadent and glamorous ride2014/6/11
Alex James' autobiography captures the cosmopolitan life that Blur afforded him. We learn about the creation of the band, how some of their songs were created, success, touring - and of course - whoring and drugging. And then it gets really interesting when they become superstars in Britain. James then begins to go to art shows and hangs out at exclusive clubs.
Of course, it's not all superficial glitz. He's quite honest with the way his cheating hurts his long-suffering girlfriend. And he reflects on other things besides stardom and relationships. What fun it was to get his take as he traveled the world! He and Damon hang out in Iceland and James makes the place seem magical. His adventures in Latin America are fun as well. However, he doesn't just write about these places as some cool hipper-than-thou traveler; James recalls the magic of these places.
His other interests are pleasant surprises as well - especially when he writes about how he develops them.
Alex James is a typical rock star in many ways, yet he's refreshingly unique with his wide-eyed interest in the world. And the fact that he wrote this himself - unlike most famous "authors" - is cool too.