Saturday, October 8, 2011

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you (Walt Whitman)

I'm a little obsessed with autobiographies at the moment. A vicarious and voyeuristic thrill.

I blame Keith Richards. And Andre Agassi. Who'd a thought?

Since reading Life, and Open I have been rediscovering the joys associated with reading about someone else's life.

Currently I have Groucho and Me by Groucho Marx as a guide to comedy, brotherhood, and living well and waiting in the wings I have four others:

Ozzy Osbourne - I Am Ozzy
Neil McCormick - Killing Bono
Ronnie Wood - Ronnie
Patti Smith - Just Kids

The Groucho book is remarkable. For one thing - I love his voice, and his voice shines through every sentence. For another - I love the way he loves his family (including the incorrigible Chico). For another - I love the anecdotes he selects.

Groucho And Me (His real name was Julius Marx) was written in 1959 when he was still active as an entertainer.

As a comedian he was a genius and he's right when he says that comedians 'are a much rarer and a far more valuable commodity than all the gold and precious stones in the world. But because we are laughed at, I don't think people really understand how essential we are to their sanity'.

He's also smart. Smart enough to quote the playwright S Behrman (no - I hadn't heard of him either) on how good comic acting trumps straight dramatic acting:
Any playwright who has been up against the agony of casting plays will tell you that the actor who can play comedy is the fellow to shoot for. The comic intuition gets to the heart of a human situation with a precision and a velocity unobtainable in any other way. A great comic actor will do it for you with an inflection of voice as adroit as a flick of the wrist of a virtuoso fencer.
A pretty decent description of the wonderful Groucho!

Love and Peace - Wozza


Greg. said...

Two GREAT biographies both by Bill Bryson; Shakespeare. And, his autobiography, The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid.

And as for Ronnie Woods' - a bit of a yawn for me I'm afraid. Killing Bono - hmmmm - okay.

Marx Brothers - always interesting. Most interesting one was Zeppo who was not really in the movies. He was an engineer and invented and manufactured the clips that held the A-bombs inside the planes that destroyed parts of Japan (not a great claim to fame). His wife left him and married Frank Sinatra. Like I say, an interesting guy.

BUT - if you want to read a REALLY good biography (though it's really for those with a scientific bent) E=MC2 by David Bodanis... one of my favourite all time books!

That's then end of my rave.


Jan and Wayne Thomas said...

5.36am- a lonely soul! Have you not heard of sleep boss :)