This starts with him in a sex addicts camp where he’s had to sign a contract forbidding any sexual activity with others or himself.
Sometimes these autobiographies are a bit dull during the childhood phase. Not Brand. His school reports are scanned as well as his behaviour as a teenager and child. He seems to have always been pretty rebellious. He was at a garden with a friendly old man who had shown him the skills in gardening. The old man left to get something and said, ‘Don’t stand on the flowers.’ To which Brand responded by trampling all over the flowers. It was as if the old man had said, ‘Please jump on the flowers.’
He has a rich vocabulary and beautiful turn of phrase. He describes how we each have different versions of ourselves: ‘I had a sense of formulating a papier machier version of myself to send out in the world, while I sat controlling it remotely, from some snug suburban barracks.’
It’s stuffed full of stories about drunken nights out, drug fuelled partying, sex with hundreds, and probably thousands of women, but even during this his phrases are so beautiful. He describes an orgy he went to in the suburbs, as being like a Mike Leigh film. Another night is ‘...one of those nights when everything feels like it’s broken.’
He lets us into a secret about the ‘To my shame’ technique in Narcotics Anonymous circles. Basically you can get away with any admission, however bad it is, as long as you precede it with ‘to my shame.’
I lost count how many times his belongings are thrown out of bedroom windows in black bin bags by disgusted girlfriends or flatmates.
You’ve heard the stories about Brand’s antics, you may have heard him talking about it on TV, but you haven’t read it in all its detailed colour, as it’s presented in this no holds barred account of his life. I admire his honesty and openness to his previous addictions.
He was a vegetarian, and even during his worst drug addiction phases, he refused to put ‘death into’ his body in the form of meat or fish – he’s a proper vegetarian and proud of it – despite taking crack cocaine, heroin, alcohol and ketamin. He recognises that’s an interesting paradox.
If you want a roller coaster ride through his life, in all its omnishambles richness, expressed in beautiful phrases, I can thoroughly recommend this book.
Guilty pleasures don’t come much guiltier than this.
Have you read this book? Would you not be seen dead reading it?
I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
Liam Livings xx