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Bit of a Blur: The Autobiography
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Bit of a Blur: The Autobiography

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  1,327 ratings  ·  106 reviews
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 privat ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published May 28th 2007)
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Magic America by C.E. MedfordFight Club by Chuck PalahniukThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Cult fiction
107th out of 127 books — 100 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,192)
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Antonomasia
So.Much.Fun.

I can't remember when a book last left me with such a sense of undiluted joy. Alex James is clearly one of those people who is extroverted, optimistic, spontaneous and naturally lucky, and the tone of the book is infectious. He has enthusiasm and curiosity about pretty much everywhere he goes and everything he does, whilst seeing his 1990s excesses through older, wiser eyes - it's lovely to find such positivity combined with self-awareness and intelligence. It seems that he rarely di
...more
Tfitoby
Alex James reckons bass players in bands are cool, most of the bass players I've ever even noticed on stage have hidden behind everyone else. Although Alex James seemingly set out to be the coolest bass player rock & roll has ever known he goes on to prove with a brilliant anecdote about the bass player from Coldplay the competition hasn't been that strong.

From the opening lines I was impressed with his ability to write, weaving together a series of interesting and entertaining anecdotes wit
...more
Kirsten
Oct 15, 2007 Kirsten rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alex James
Bit of a bore.

Alex tells us that he drank a lot, took drugs (although is of course too coy to mention them in any detail), and had lots of sex served up to him on a plate, with buttered soldiers. So far no surprises, and nothing particularly interesting or remarkable about this. However, end of story. Alex doesn't really think about his what happened, or analyse it, or make any of it at all interesting. Apart from the time when he drunkenly urinated on his girlfriend's head from a top-floor win
...more
Natalia Pì
This was actually a lot nicer than expected - mainly because I didn't know Alex James is such a good writer. I would give it 3 and a half stars if I could.
It's obviously recommended to those who like/liked Blur, but it's a nice book in its own right. It gives you insight on Britain in the 90s, and since I spent a lot of my 90s there it was clearly interesting for me. I have the impression I would have found Alex James a terribly annoying character if I met him a ffew years ago - his 2.0 version
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Tosh
How many bass playing figures who can write a good memoir as well. Ok, there is Charles Mingus, but there is also Blur's Alex James. Well first of all he's charming. He loves cheeses (really into the cheese thing), drinking (lot of drinking and quality drinking but still a drunk), into sex (can't say no), and yet, he's intelligent, well-read, and has a deep interest in science. He is also a very good travel guide type of writer for the world.

And Alex James is also handsome. So one has to think '
...more
Aydin Turgay
EXCELLENT rock bio.

Alex's writing style reminds me of Anthony Bourdain. He's a great storyteller and you can hear his voice while reading his words.

I really enjoyed how the stories were very short - it felt like having a long conversation with a friend about many things, rather than a stuffy, overly researched history of events.

The stories about Blur's first North American tour, about Alex's love life and about meeting other celebrities like Damian Hurst were especially entertaining.

I would reco
...more
Rosemary
I adored this book, but then I am one of the biggest Blur fans to grace the planet. Not to mention that I may fancy Alex James a teeny bit. All that aside this is a very good book. It's entertaining, action packed and witty. I Always enjoy hearing about that transition that all successful bands seem to make from living in grotty flats and drinking all the time to touring the world and drinking all the time. For a musician Alex James is a great writer with a very clever turn of phrase.
Magnus Larsson
En väldigt välskriven, uppriktig och fascinerande berätelse om ett popband uppkomst och uppgång, och den galna karusell som följer med framgången. Alex James lyckas även ge en intressant bild av hur gruppdynamiken kan se ut i ett band, och vilka olika krafter som kan bídra till det kontrollerade kaos som det verkar vara.
Ian Morphett
A pretty amusing read. Exposes the fickleness of your average super model and the laziness of your average bass player. Gets a bit samish from half way through. Same message on alcohol abuse as Fat, Forty and Fired, like, don't drink, its bad for you.
Beth
It takes a long time to say: I got famous, did a lot of drinking and coke and had sex with a lot of chicks, I learned to fly a plane and then I got married to a hot chick who had some kids. I would recommend reading this on a plane.
Clara
Alex James really isn't a great writer. Nor is his story all that remarkable. That said, it was a fun, weird, timewarp read.
Allen Esp
The chances are that Alex James would probably never have carved out a career in journalism if he had not been a member of Blur. The prose is clear and readable but lacks real flair.

Having said that the book has great pace because of his short unadorned sentences and direct style. The book has some amusing passages and four or five genuine laugh out loud moments. In spite of clearly being a pampered, fatuous nit with far too much money, James does come off as fairly likeable.

Julian Cope's Head O
...more
Leslie
Amazing book. Alex James is a stunning, witty, essentially British writer, which for me was completely unexpected. I'd venture to say he's a better writer than bass player. (Though really, no, that's not true.)

What I love most, besides the quality of his prose, is his inherent optimism. It permeates the entire book, and keeps it from sounding dull, trite, mean or too self-serving. This is not a 'poor little rock star' story by any means. Alex owns all of the choices he has made in his life, and
...more
Karen
Efternin drinkin: it does ye in but ye cannae fuckin beat it. -Francis Begbie in Porno by Irvine Welsh

Efternin drinkin, as it happens, is the reason I bought this book (see previous review). And the principal reason my memory of the first few chapters is a wee bit hazy. I have the feeling a young Alex James would have approved though.

I went to university with the express purpose of meeting a boy who looked like Alex James: floppy dark fringe, cheekbones to slice cheese (ooh, James would probably
...more
Mike Jozic
I wasn't expecting too much from this biography seeing as Alex James was never my favourite member of Blur. He often just came off as a drunk hedonist who was enjoying being in one of the world's biggest pop bands far too much. I never doubted his musical ability or place in the band, he just never caught my imagination. As it turns out, that's exactly who Alex James was at the time, but, as is evidenced in these pages, there was so much more to the man and the musician. To hear him speak of tho ...more
Stephanie
It's hard to appreciate this book if not a fan of Blur. Otherwise, readers may not care to read about bassist Alex James's life (even though this is a damn good rock n roll biography).

While reading Alex's excellent autobiography, it's easy to forget that this isn't a biography about Blur. While the first half is incredibly Blur-heavy as Alex documents the beginning of the band through the 90s, the last half involves much soul-searching from the author. Some might find the space talk boring and p
...more
Roger
It was really interesting to read an intimate account dealing with my second favorite band of all time, Blur. Alex James, the bassist, is a very talented writer although he is frequently quite full of himself. He offers a very candid portrayal of a terribly hedonistic lifestyle with all its successes and failures. The first half of the book is the better half if you are more interested in the music, dealing with the foibles of a young band starting up while several members attended Goldsmiths C ...more
Julie Barrett
I reading a Rolling Stone article listing the 25 best rock memoirs and this book was on the list so I checked it out from the library. I'm not a Blur fan though I did really like that Boys & Girls song when it came out. I just felt it would be interesting to read about this time period in music. I've read a lot of rock memoirs but realized most of the British ones I've read are acts from the 60s & 70s. Alex James is my age so it seemed like a good idea to get this book.

Well, I must say
...more
Niklas Pivic
So Graham and Damon and I met in the studio on the last day of the first term. Damon had the keys, as he was sort of an assistant there. There were a couple of things that Damon and Graham had been working on together that we bashed around for a while. I showed them some chords that I’d been strumming in my room. Graham started to play them on the guitar, there was a drum machine going boom whack and I started grooving along on the bass that was lying around. Damon started jumping up and down a
...more
Vojta
Ok, as a big Blur fan I can't be desinterested here. I've been waiting for this kind of book for some time. I just wonder why the hell it took me so long to put my hands on this? I guess I just needed time to "ripen" to fully enjoy it. But on the other hand if I had read this book in high school I might have been a rock star by now. Not that I would like to be on cocaine and drinking tons of champagne but Alex's life story proves that you need some real balls and a lot of self-confidence to get ...more
John Read
Anybody who enjoyed the Brit Pop explosion around the mid 90s will enjoy this superb autobiography. It underlines the feelgood factor of those times and the 'rock 'n' roll' lifestyle and generally louch behaviour. Alex James is brutally honest about his own drink and drug fuelled existance and dreadful treatment of his then girlfriend who often came second to groupies or The Groucho Club. But he still comes across as extremely likeable and highly intelligent.
It is fascinating to see how the memb
...more
Sylvain
That book isn't about Blur. Once you've understood that you either want to know about Alex's life or not. If you do you'll quickly see a guy who spent the last 20 years drunk, unfaithful to his girlfriend, yet sincere and passionated to his music. If you're looking a definitive guide to blur from an insider's point of view, this book might not be the real deal. It'll tell you little you couldn't find elsewhere.

I enjoyed the book once I understood I wasn't reading about blur but about one of its
...more
JJ Lehmann
Blur is my favorite band (although, I probably say that about several bands. Despite that, I didn't know much about Alex James (the bassist). He lived a life of hedonism for several years, but he was a rock star. I found him to be a decent writer...humorous, witty, and intelligent...not to mention a lover of cheese. It was great to see blur and britpop from his point of view.
Very easy read and always interesting. Definitely recommended for blur fans, britpop fans, or just fans of music or biogr
...more
rivermuser
Really really well written book. Great to get an inside look at one of my favorite bands, and the roots of the Britpop explosion.

It's funny and sometimes sad, but always very informative. James has a magnificent way with words.
Vienna X
I picked up this book thinking it would give me a little more insight into the band Blur and what it was like to live the life of a rock star. But the book is much more than that--a true memoir, not just of the bass player of perhaps the most famous band to come out of England in the '90s Britpop days, but also of a space enthusiast, a builder, a pilot, a farm-tender, a father. And throughout all of Alex James' travels & debauchery, his love for life and appreciating the moment are clearly w ...more
Sam
Alex James is so beautiful, so honest and so inspiring, makes you wish you were in his shoes even just for a day, absolutely lived and loved this book I was sad for it to end, a true gentleman rock star!
Daniela Gomez
Essential for any blur fan, Alex James is a very nice and funny bloke! Lovely book really fun to read when not feeling too intellectual haha
Ian
Nice to hear an insiders account of life inside one of the biggest British bands of the last 20 years. A quote from the book gives you a good idea of what to expect - The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom. The book tells you how he rose to fame, what happened when he got there and how he emerged at the other side. It seems Alex James took his role as a rock n'roll party animal as seriously as his as the bass player of Blur and remains unapologetic of that fact. Although not a huge fan ...more
Lynsey
An entertaining & quick read, but I was ultimately left feeling a bit short-changed. Given the title and the author, I supposed I'd expected some more detail about Blur; life on the road, group dynamics, titillating bits of info, anecdotes.
It's not that I'd expect anything but a hedonistic lifestyle from a 'rock star' (his words, repeated a lot), but the whole book was just a catalogue of smug, drunkenness, parties, hangovers & sleeping around behind his girlfriends back ("but I really
...more
Jenn
Such a fun, light, yet oddly insightful read. Thank you Mr. James. Now go do country things.
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An English musician and songwriter, as well as a journalist and cheesemaker. Best known as the bassist of the band Blur.

Librarian note: There is more than one author with this name in the Goodreads database.
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