This weekend I’m popping over to see a mate who wants me to help him write his autobiography. Or me to write his biography. One or the other, I forget. He’s not famous or anything but he has had a pre-etty interesting life that I think involves running drugs or guns or both or something in LA in the 1980s and being in the French Foreign Legion and stuff.
He’s also old enough to write one. However I had a bit of a revelation. I’ve never actually read an autobiography. Ok, I did read Richard E Grant’s Wah Wah which, to be fair was a bit of back story and a lot of bitching about getting his autobiographical film made, but was good nonetheless and probably doesn’t count because it was About a Thing, rather than All The Things.
And I have read two others because they are so lucricrously outlandish as to be enjoyable and very good lesson on How Not To Write About Your Life / Let Someone Else Write About Your Life 101.
My dear friend Trish buys these for me for birthdays with great hilarity. Namely, the slightly scary fawning Russell Crowe (you know he’salmost totally a real gladiator, don’t you) bio and the absolute GENIUS that is The Hoff’s very own work. It is about him, it was written completely by him (apparently entirely on yellow lined legal paper – of course) and if you read it you would have no doubt either. Whether it’s the chapter dedicated to his random acts of kindness (jumping outr of his car and thrusting signed photos of himself upon unsuspecting passers-by, curing children of cancer…who later die or single-handedly bringing down the Berlin Wall) or the other stuff in between (so my wife gave birth. I wasn’t there, boooorrring) the book is pure unadulterated gold.
I’m not sure if my mate would like to take responsibility for putting out All the Fires in Kuwait that time that Saddam fucked shit up in the Middle East or severely setting back the recovery of seriously ill children in cancer wards so presumably I’ll have to work with what I’ve got.
How does one write a biography. Do we follow the words of Maria in the SOund of Music a la The Hoff and simply begin at the very beginning? Damn. I need to do some research here.
Which brings me to my next point. In the sum of my 30-something (cough) years, I ain’t got much for the old autobiography. Sure, I once went for a ride in a crop-dusting seaplane when I was smashed at the bush races, I met Princess Diana (briefly, reflected glory) and I may yet still become a mediocre romance novelist with my own very small WIkipedia entry. There was that time I may or may not have had it off with a somewhat celebrity-ish person and maybe I’ll invent an app or a thing that makes ladies walk better in heels and change the world and shit. But I’m thinking, right now, the cupboard’s a wee bit bare.
Which starts me seriously considering doing really really stupid / mental things accompanied by the phrase – “Well, that could be one for the autobiography” and shrugging hopefully, wondering if I could make a chapter out of it.
Because my “to do” list (not bucket, for the love of god not bucket list), comprising “swim with dolphins” “go to Japan” “make my own wine” sure as hell is not as good as bringing down the Berlin Wall.