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Bit of a Blur

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,001 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
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
Paperback, 274 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Abacus (first published May 28th 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Oct 15, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, bio
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
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
The Britpop era was such an amazing time, although you wouldn't know it from this book as James mostly tells us about how much he drank, the clubs he went to, and the 'pretty girls' he slept with. Hardly any discussion about what happened with Blur and very little about the scene itself. Maybe it's just me as I am always immediately bored by people talking about much they drank/how drunk they got, but the book read more like a journal of a university student. And there are a few instances of lat ...more
Natalia Pì
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, uk
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
Aydin Turgay
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-books
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.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex James really isn't a great writer. Nor is his story all that remarkable. That said, it was a fun, weird, timewarp read.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I LOVE HIM. That's my review.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 '
Magnus Larsson
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara Tilson
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyable read
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
Peter O'Connor
The fact is, I liked Blur a lot more before I read this book. The problem isn't so much that it is badly written (it's not) - it is more about how it made me feel as a reader. We usually read these type of books to gain an insight into the artist - not to have our faces rubbed in their wealth. Alex James chooses to largely glosses over the Blur stuff (I've often suspected the band was more driven by the Albarn and Coxon anyway) and instead continually boasts about the life of luxury that he has ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for fans of Blur. Quite a bit of non Blur topics as well.
The first 200 pages moves pretty quick, the last 70 pages drags a bit.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
2.5 out of 5. Unfortunately this was a bit of a bore for me.
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
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always liked Alex James, Blur's charismatic bass player. He's always a good guest on TV shows, he's quirky, intelligent, well-read, quite opinionated, and because he has such a way with words and is very articulate, he is a naturally talented, unmistakably British in style writer. I have enjoyed reading a good deal of his work over the years in publications such as 'The Spectator' magazine.

In this first volume of autobiography: 'Bit Of A Blur', Alex takes us back to his early years in Bourn
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
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, autobiography
If I’m honest, the only reason I wanted to read this book was to get more insight on the band, music, Damon and the rest of the crew. I did get a few of that, but it’s as minuscule as I would have wanted. But, nonetheless, the book was still an interesting read. It did provide me a glimpse of personalities from Alex’s point of view, but it was just a nibble, and that just made me crave for more.

To be fair, Alex is more aligned with musicianship and so to expect the book to have solid story line
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
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
Apr 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
John Read
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tasha Bibby
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent for reasons I didn't expect. It is an excellent insight into the inside world of a famous 90s Brit Pop band and the japes they get up to. Truly another world and yet also so similar in certain dynamics to the world of those far less wealthy. The smorgasbord of interesting people Alex has befriended over the years was fascinating and his writing is very eloquent and descriptive. You can really mentally immerse yourself in his world through these pages. I must say also, his ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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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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