'People would come down and demand things of us and I'd just listen calmly for a while. And then I'd inform them, in great detail, why they could go and fuck themselves and in how many ways they could go and fuck themselves and in how many ways they should get the fuck out of my office or I would demonstrate the ways in which the fucking fuckers could fuck themselves. Unbelievably, I kept my teeth'.
Personally I would have used that paragraph as the opening line for Alan McGee's fantastic autobiography but what the fuck do I know? There is an abundance of abuse in this book - substance abuse, alcohol, domestic, verbal, physical – and whilst some of it is upsetting, specifically concerning McGee’s Glasgow childhood, it is all nonetheless captivating to read. I was going to say ‘addictive’ there but thought better of it. Some autobiographies simply tell juicy tales from the subject’s past without much emotion involved, almost as if there is a personal No Go zone and really they just want you to buy their book without actually revealing much about their self. This isn’t one of those autobiographies. Alan McGee does not seem to be the easiest person to get to know – and from some of his stories maybe you wouldn’t have wanted to know him anyway - but thankfully that doesn’t stop him sharing things with you here, a great virtue of the book and brilliantly entertaining many times over. He has a great way with words.
McGee the livewire, the ‘loose cannon’, the 'handful', a rebel without a pause, a trouble-causer and (some might say) a gobshite, might still exist, I wouldn't know, but blimey he has some top stories to tell us anyway, honest and forthright stories that could make you think ‘What a prat but a prat I wish I’d known’. And I love the fact that he knows he has regularly fucked up in his life but isn't scared to admit it. Nor does he ask for sympathy or try to make excuses for his many misdemeanours. I get the feeling that this book has been a catharsis for him and perhaps in some way is a hope for redemption too. Maybe it's my age but I'd much rather meet the modern day sensible, relatively normal McGee rather than the one of old, the one off his tits on whatever, the life and arsehole of so many parties and imbiber of so much stuff that the jet-set life all became so mundane for him and a chore just to get out of bed on an afternoon.
It isn't a perfect autobiography but it IS a brilliant read, often inspirational, often hilarious and frequently pretty ugly as well. There's no such thing as a perfect autobiography, how can there be, it’ in the perception of each reader? Sometimes it’s difficult to ‘connect’ to the writer, and sometimes you can be left wondering why you’ve invested time in someone about as interesting or likeable as a pseudo royal or coalition high-up. I suspected all along here that I'd be left wanting to know more about Alan McGee and his various rock star relationships - and I'm not even a big fan of Oasis or Primal Scream or The Jesus & Mary Chain and some of the other Creation cohorts - because no matter how much he wrote about the bands he has helped bring to the world's attention, it would never be enough. He does mention plenty about his relationships with Bobby and Noel and Liam and co, but still...
And talking of touching... McGee's account of meeting that cunt Jimmy Savile is both entertaining and nauseating, and Tony Blair isn't far behind in the scummy stakes, though for very different reasons of course. I would push for him to be elected if he’d smacked Savile a few times. I’d put him up for beatification if he’d landed a few on Blair as well
One of McGee's real qualities seems to be the ability to see and hear things for what they really are, he doesn't tolerate or get fooled by bullshit, nor does he spout it. He's no big head, no big mouth, no big time Charlie, he's just the owner of a big but not particularly arrogant ego, and I admire that, he has achieved so much from so little privileged background. And he doesn't promote or condone drugs or alcohol usage, nor does he preach about the damage they can cause (have caused him) either, he just tells you how it is (was)... and if you read this book and you DON'T learn anything about the negatives that come with overdoing the shit, then you should read it again. He has been on one hell of a journey yet somehow has recovered and returned stronger, fitter and, by the looks of it, just as entertaining and foresighted. I particularly admire his punk-derived attitude of Get off your arse and do it. Do it, whatever it is, do something, anything that you can feel proud of. And if the reader is short of ideas or inspiration, reading this book could well be a big help.