Being somewhat of a fan of audio auto-biographies, I have been over the past few years listening to the likes of Roger Moore, Steve martin, Billy Crystal, Chris Evans, Stephen Fry, Morrissey and Arnold Schwarzenegger tell the tales of their lives. It is always preferable to hear the actual author read their own book (Arnold sadly only had time to donate time for his opening and closing chapters for such a lengthy (24 hours!) and detailed biography). But even then sometimes you get someone who just does not have the knack for reading their own life out loud, or even just the knack for reading out liud. Burt Reynold recently did his and all too often his weary voice gives way as if he is falling asleep on the microphone (Not to mention the racket he makes with the pages).
But it’s not going to come as a surprise that the most animated of hosts for reading out the words of their life happens to be one Brian Blessed. The man must be almost 80 years old and he still makes one heck of a racket!
But don’t worry. Anyone who does not want to hear it; can read it. I like to hear it from the horse’s mouth myself though – so this is a description of the audio book: Absolute Pandemonium.
Like some other autobiographies, Blessed does detail his childhood and parents as best he can, but for his adult life he selects chapters to focus on events and people specifically. There is a very long and loving look at actor Peter O’Toole with whom Blessed worked with on many occasions. He also details a close friendship he had with Katharine Hepburn; and goes into heavy detail on the likes of his wife Hildegarde Neil; the subject of boxing; the shooting of Flash Gordon and other glories along the way!
And while he is ecstatic about talking about these things, he does manage to keep the volume level at bay. At least until he gets to all the “Gordon’s Alive!” proclaiming he does later (Personally, I always found that quote to be taken a bit out of context as he never shouts it in the film: he’s actually rather perplexed when he says it. Give me him screaming “DIIIIVE!!!” in the skies any day or “EDMUND!” from the first series of Blackadder.
Blessed is clearly a man keen to observe the Pros in life. Not one to waste too much time focussing on the negatives. Even when he is exploring past conversations or re-observing the behaviour of colleagues and the like, he always find s a way to walk away from the subject with a skip and a bounce in his step, It’s a commendable effort, but one that you suspect (if you have a rough idea of what the man is like as a celebrity) just comes to him naturally.
A naturally loud, big, but positive personality who eschews negativity, pounces on life’s bullies, and rallies his colleagues into shape when they need it. Of course it could all be Bollocks, but what glorious bollocks it all is. In fact I think there we have a rather fitting new title for the book: Glorious Bollocks!