• That Close

  • By: Suggs
  • Narrated by: Suggs
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 11-07-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Quercus
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

Regular price: $21.31

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Publisher's Summary

Suggs is one of pop music's most enduring and likeable figures. Read by the author himself with the assured style and wit of a natural raconteur, this hugely entertaining and insightful autobiography takes you from his colourful early life on a North London council estate, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade.

Along the way he tells you what it's like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, to make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park.

©2013 Graham McPherson (P)2013 WF Howes Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hey you! Don't read that! Listen to this!

This lively memoir of Graham McPherson, a.k.a. Suggs of British pop legends Madness, is a must-listen for all fans of the band. It's brimming with picaresque anecdotes and against-all-odds success stories engagingly told in Suggs' own distinctive voice. He's a born storyteller, and indeed several of the tales in this book are quite familiar from his interviews and stage chatter over the years. Hearing him spin his yarns in his London accent, peppered with self-deprecating chuckles and groans, is far superior to reading his words in cold print.

Following the opening chapters on his childhood, Suggs gets down to business with the formation of Madness and their wild career as the U.K.'s top singles band of the 1980s. Here it gets a bit disconcerting as Suggs seems to skip past key events of Madness history, but then it turns out he's not going in strict chronological order. He hops back and forth in a stream of consciousness manner, which after all is more like it would be to hear him chatting about the old days over a pint at the pub, instead of proceeding in a strictly organized documentary fashion. Just be patient and eventually he'll hit all the old familiar bits of Madness mythology. He also recounts a number of lesser known experiences, such as a ramshackle bicycle tour of Italy, and a spiritual odyssey up a banyan tree in Jamaica, which is unexpectedly poetic and beautiful.

If you're not aware of or interested in Madness and its lead singer, this is not an audiobook for you. Go listen to One Step Beyond or The Liberty of Norton Folgate first, then come back here if the music catches your fancy. Any fan of Madness "Absolutely" needs to listen to this. I selected That Close with my first free introductory credit on Audible, and I imagine I will re-listen to this many, many times. Cheers to the great man Suggsy!

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pure genius..written and read by a genius

the cool and calm melodical voice of suggs makes listening to this book an absolute pleasure.filled with fun laughter chaos and macness this book takes you back to times of youth and teenage bungling..thank you suggs your a gem

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  • Marion Nash
  • 02-12-14

Time spent with Suggs

Would you consider the audio edition of That Close to be better than the print version?

I've got both - you can hear Suggs' voice in the book and then get closer with the audiobook - it's like listening to the same story you always love to hear from a pal

What other book might you compare That Close to, and why?

Rock autobiographies, social history books - because that is what it is

Which character – as performed by Suggs – was your favourite?

Erm, Suggs

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

It was the cat what made me do it

Any additional comments?

I've always been a fan of Suggs - he's so down to earth and loyal to his roots - and, of course, a great singer/songwriter.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Binky
  • 11-16-13

Fantastic

What did you like most about That Close?

I adored the 'rude boy' charm that came across so well. This is a cheeky, funny, really entertaining book, and Suggs is so humble it's obvious he is a truly, lovely gentleman. It's interesting to listen to, as Suggs has the soul of an urban poet, and a brilliant way of utilising words.

What about Suggs’s performance did you like?

I appreciated that it was narrated by the author, it really made the book come to life.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • 12-23-13

The life of a "National Treasure"

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Having just watched Suggs at the Garrick Theatre delivering a monologue and music, I was slightly disappointed to hear word-for-word the same sections within the book. However, it was entertaining and had me listening to it over a short amount of sittings.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Ending? Not sure an autobiography actually ends but how it finished was slightly disappointing. It was as if he had made it to the promised word count and fired it off to his publisher. The clever circular narrative of the live performance involving the singer's search for his dead father and inner-meaning to life lingered longer in the mind than a quick anecdote about being the last band to play at the BBC Television Centre.

Which character – as performed by Suggs – was your favourite?

Suggs himself. He managed to chart the amazing success of Madness without giving off an air of smug gloating. He came across as genuinely suprised at his achievements. Proud but humble.

Could you see That Close being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Well it did make the Theatre, but it won't be commissioned as a film. I'd much rather see the Richard Curtis penned sitcom - mentioned in the book - in which the prime minister is kidnapped and Madness are installed as interim leaders of the UK.

Any additional comments?

I think Suggs's decision not to use a ghost writer on this autobiography largely paid off. I've read a ton of celebrity biogs and most read like they've been constructed around a couple of interviews recorded onto a dictaphone and then padded out into a book. Suggs is a natural raconteur as he has depicted in his lyrics over the last three decades. It's not clear if he hired the services of an editor, because the chapter on the history of Ska and the singer's recent take up of serious cycling felt like padding and should have been cut. I enjoyed learning that the school his school fought against every term was my school. Listening to Baggy Trousers will never be the same again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. I. Fitzgibbon
  • 12-01-14

Gritty and Funny... Complete Madness

If you could sum up That Close in three words, what would they be?

Its a heart warming, gritty but funny story of one of Britains best loved singers from a true British institution. The story weaves its way from growing up and moving to Wales .. To coming back to London becoming Suggs that we know and love. Weaving its way from the early days of Madness.. Chasing cheese down a hill to earthquakes In Finsbury Park.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Suggs is the obvious favourite, you want him to succeed and sometimes you feel sorry for him

Have you listened to any of Suggs’s other performances? How does this one compare?

None

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Hard - loving and Fun... that's Mad

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • john mcneill
  • 08-03-18

huge suggs fan of nearly 40 years

as a huge suggs fan ive been to many madness concerts and one man show. great insight into a great guy

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-20-18

Loved it

Thanks Suggs really enjoyed your book Dave Clark Sendean Clerkenwell leather Lane maybe maybe one day

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anouska Mac
  • 03-25-18

True Suggs

A book written and read in true Suggsy style..irreverant, funny, insightful and thought provoking. A man who can transport you anywhere and give you a clear picture of exactly what he lived and saw at that moment. A book written in the same style as the lyrics of those songs. Delivered in the same tempo as so many of the Madness songs. Great listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-18

What a softly...

Suggs has a great storytelling voice.. But found this book hard to follow. His story was all over the place hard to keep track of who was who...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ANDREW
  • 01-13-18

Brilliant book for madness fans

Loved this book from start to finish, brought bad so many memories of listening to madness as a kid and made me laugh with some his stories. Saw his one man show a few years ago and bits of that was also in this so it was even better. This is one I would definitely listen to again and recommend it to everyone who likes madness 😀👍🏻❤️

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Colin D.
  • 12-24-17

Entertaining Listen

I enjoyed this history of Suggs and Madness. It was enthusiastically read by Suggs himself and I found it to be an entertaining listen, which had me laughing on many occasions.
A must for any Suggs or Madness fans.