I went through a phase of reading a lot of biographies, including books on musicians, artists, writers and comedians. After a while, I noticed something happening…I frequently ended up disliking the subject of the biography.
For anyone who reads Harry Thompson’s biography of Peter Cook (and I’m sure there are some on this site who’ve read it), it’s somewhat revelatory to see just what a nasty man ol’ Pete was. And that book was written by a fan.
There really aren’t many people who’ve grown in my estimation; I’m aware this may be a failing in me. I definitely warmed to Leonard Cohen. I like Frank Skinner – and he can be pretty unpleasant – but his autobiography was wonderfully honest (losing his virginity to a prostitute, for example).
So, away from books, who in the world of celebrity generally comes across well? I like Bill Nighy. Richard Osman seems a decent cove. I had a lot of time for Kirsty MacColl. I’m struggling now.