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That Close

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Suggs is one of pop music’s most enduring and likeable figures. Written with the assured style and wit of a natural raconteur, this hugely entertaining and insightful autobiography takes you from his colourful early life on a North London council estate, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 24th 2013 by Quercus Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  430 ratings  ·  80 reviews


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Leo .
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Still reading this one by the Madness front man. I grew up listening to Madness as a teenager and most of my peers, regardless to whether they were Punk/Mod/Motown/Reggae/Electric/Grunge/New Romantic or whatever genre, listened to their music. That is why they were so successful. Anyhow I have been reading That Close for a while now; had it for Christmas last year from my brother in law; and it is a good read. It is more like a book of anecdotes and the way Suggs writes is very... Theatrical. It ...more
Jemma
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Suggs charm is evident here but that can't disguise just how patchy this is. Some of the tales, such as about the Colony Club or Two-Tone are great but perhaps he should have gone with a ghost writer because this book is just so disjointed and spends way too long on things like football and various holidays. It reads as if he was a professional football fan who fronted a band in his spare time.

I saw a review which criticised this book for not having enough about Madness in it and I thought
...more
Paul Reid
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiographys
Firstly, it's not bad, it's just that I expected to learn a lot more about Suggs and indeed Madness, I have always been a fan and discovered very few new facts about either. In fact the patchy jumping about became a little annoying.

We heard a great deal about the early days of his own life and then the band but Madness's most successful period was rushed past. The break up of the band was skipped over, the getting back together mentioned in passing.

As much as the early life of anyone that
...more
Nigeyb
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A supremely enjoyable biography.

I am a similar age to Suggs and also grew up in north London so there were many aspects of his story that I recognised from growing up in the same place at the same time.

That said, he has plenty of amusing and interesting tales to tell, and this book is peppered with them. He's also an enthusiastic and engaging narrator. So, whatever your background, if you enjoy books that embrace social history, music, travel, humour, growing up, families, and this thing we
...more
D.M.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Before anything else I may be about to commit to print, let me say this: That Close was an enjoyable, brisk read and I don't regret reading it.
American readers are likely unaware of a strange love in Europe for celebrity memoirs and biographies. Walk into any bookshop this side of the Atlantic, and you're likely to find first and foremost a large display of books on and by celebrities of various stripe. That tendency has no match in the US. This may be the first autobiography I've read since
...more
Poppy99
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I am not a Madness fan (don't mind them but don't follow them) but I share the same points of reference as Suggs (Soho/Clerkenwell/Camden) and I find him an engaging and enthusiastic presenter. He did a really interesting TV programme about London and the accompanying book was a good read. This is written in the same easy style and if the whole book was written in the same way as the first half I would have given it five stars. However it goes downhill in the last half. Like he had run out of ...more
Amanda
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy an informative autobiography and this was another one of those I enjoyed.

Suggs takes us through his life and that of his band Madness. My only gripe with the book is that it jumps around from now to then and in between. However I understand why because each chapter covers certain aspects of his life and I found what he had to say very entertaining and I laughed a fair bit. Of course I went and looked at goodreads and of course just saw negativity. It's a great read, he's written
...more
Helen
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I love autobiographies, so when I had to download a title to test the e-audio app we use at work, this seemed like a good one to pick.
I wouldn't say I'm a huge Madness fan, but I like quite a few of their songs, and their cheeky performances raise a smile. So I began listening with high hopes.
I enjoyed this stroll down memory lane, narrated by Suggs himself. I laughed out loud a few times. But I'm afraid that overall I found it very disjointed. It hopped about back and forth throughout his
...more
Malcolm Frawley
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Suggs was, & is, the lead singer of Madness whose string of effervescent pop tunes (Baggy Trousers, House Of Fun, Embarrassment, It Must Be Love, Driving In My Car & quite a few others!) were among the most enjoyable hits of the 80s. His auto-biog is an equally enjoyable read, particularly the early years, growing up in London & passionately supporting Chelsea, sometimes at the risk of serious physical harm. Well recommended.
Paul Slater
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and found out a few new bits about Suggs and the boys.
The book has its fair share of funny stories as to be expected and if you are a madness fan or someone who has come across suggs on tv you will enjoy the book.

As other readers have said its hard not to read the book with suggs voice in your head telling the stories and exploits.
Nicki
I really enjoyed this very easy to read memoir from Suggs, lead singer and front-man of Madness. It's a very funny memoir with lots of stories about growing up in London in the 60s/70s and forming the band, continuing right up to the present day. If you like Madness you'll love it.
Suz
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
loved it. i love madness & wat i got from this book was humour, normality, a sense of fun & a joy of life. i love madness & this just added 2 my joy of life madness & a realisation that even my dull little life has moments of joy which makes life worth living.
Aaron Badgley
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Madness. Simple as that, love the band and their music. I also now have a deep appreciation for Suggs. An excellent read, I enjoyed every page and highly recommend for fans and fans of autobiographies.
Gill
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm I think you would need to be British or at least have grown up in the UK, be a Madness fan and a Suggs fan to appreciate this book. I am all three and found it interesting, amusing and enjoyable.
Leonard Entwistle
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable light read 'not a heavy, heavy monster show!' Brought back some great memories I'd forgotten how big and how many hits Madness had
Simon Dyer
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiographies
As a life long fan of Madness I enjoyed the story of Suggs early life and it showed the inspiration for many of their early songs.
Dave
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Suggs writings, they bring back memories of my times in London. I met many of the characters he writes about and fondly remember most of them.
Michael Legge
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shame he dies in the end.
Millstone
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't usually read show biz autobiographies and for quite a while I wasn't sure what to make of this one. I'm a very similar age to Suggs and I liked their singles in the early 80s (who didn't?) but that's as far as my knowledge of him and the band went, other than knowing they're still working: I saw their Glastonbury appearance on tv last (?) year. I used to read a lot of ghostwritten cricket 'autobiographies' and I remember one, Graham Dilley's, I think that said he'd instructed his ghost ...more
cherubEagleEyes
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Madness, Im totally inlove with Suggs n now Im totally inlove with this book of his; so glad that he narrated it himself cos no one could do it like Suggs wanted, needed.

This is not about Madness, this is about Suggs himself; his autobiography. Ok! Madness is in here aswel, but that is cos if there were no Suggs there wouldn't of been Madness!its that simple really cos
a few reviewers in Amazon thought this to be dissappointing as they thought it would be all about Madness; but look at
...more
Richard McGeough
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s Suggs’ story: you’re only going to read it if you have fond memories of Suggs and Madness. What you get is mostly more than good enough to keep you turning the pages. The stuff that doesn’t happen to most of us is inevitably the most interesting: hanging out with London’s jazz musicians when he was a little kid, joining a band and unexpectedly becoming a national institution. Lengthily yarns about cycling holidays in Italy might be indulged by Suggs’ family and friends, but they’re just not ...more
Peter O'Connor
This one by the lead singer of Brit-Ska jokesters, Madness is much like the band itself - it is light, tongue in cheek and has a charm all it's own. Anyone expecting an in depth analysis of the band and it's machinations are probably in for a bit of a let down but for mine, this autobiography was all the better for it and probably made it all that much nicer to read. His tales of boyhood in North London make for the majority of the book and are probably the highlights while he humbly glosses ...more
Tom Rowe
This was a fun audio book, and while I'm a big fan of Madness, I know almost nothing of them other than their music. I don't even know the band members names.

I like that it was read by Suggs himself. His style of speaking is so much fun to listen to. I must admit that my American ears did not comprehend a lot of the references he made to British culture, but it was still fun.

The only downside to this book was that it could have used a gentle editing. By that, I mean some of the chapters seemed
...more
Richard Ninnim
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are a madness fan then this gives an insite to some of their past, but not quite all, good read for fans though. It does jump around an awful lot which makes it hard to follow and get into as far as ease of reading goes. As a fan i would of liked abit more about the band and the songs and goings on, but still it tells the story of a wayward lad earning his way from a pretty poor begining to playing ontop of buckingham palace. As i dont read often it was interesting to sit and read through ...more
Paul Foley
Light hearted read. Overall a good memoir.
I found the early days of Suggs upbringing very good and a interesting story. Could have had more depth on the his Madness days. The book seemed to wander off onto Suggs telling stories, almost trying to be as funny as he could. The story about cycling in Italy was just pointless and added nothing to the overall book.

But overall it was a enjoyable read of a interesting character.
Trevor
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A largely enjoyable book although it does jump around a bit and bizarrely misses out the entirety of Madness' most successful period.

Suggs appears to struggle with his memory a little too as he claims he was listening to certain songs whilst dossing at a mates house (before they'd "made it") yet these songs were released 2 years after Madness' first hit "The Prince" in September 1979.

Overall a fun and enjoyable read but those mentioned above can be a little annoying at times.
Jo Davies
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

A very amusing and sentimental look back on Suggs life. I was particularly interested to find out where in Pembs Suggs once lived having lived in Pembs myself at one point and having gone to school in Milford. Loved the nutty boys since a kid and this book didn't disappoint.
Tom Mccutchan
Entertaining book, but if you are not a big Madness / Suggs McPherson fan (I am a big fan), I don't think there is much there for you. The audiobook of this (read by Suggs) might actually be more interesting.
Timo
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: äänikirjat
Not so much of a autobiography, more like a bunch of stories from his life.
Suggs seems like a nice guy and his way of telling stories is great, but I was waiting more stuff about tours and such.
Oh well, yet another guy who has more interesting life than I do.
Sarah Susannah
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intereating to read how Madness become, from rags to riches. Some parts made me laugh out loud, love Suggs
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