Kiss and Tell

Book: Rod: The Autobiography

Author: Rod Stewart

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Price: Rs 1237

Pages: 364

When this generation of rock-n-roll greats like Bono of U2 and Chris Martin of Coldplay write their memoirs, how will they read? Will their biographies include accounts of how they provided mosquito nets to remote corners of Africa or how they reduced their carbon footprint while touring? Not to deny the genius of their music or to speak lightly of their do-gooding; you can only marvel at people who in one lifetime manage to help mankind, the planet and find time to make great music. However, I'm not entirely convinced their life stories would be interesting enough to support a whole book. Much better then, to read an autobiography of an old-fashioned and hedonistic rock star like Rod Stewart, probably one of the last musicians to lead the clichéd rock star lifestyle. In this century, the drug-addled, womanising performer has vanished since guys like Bono have made the excesses of guys like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards seem so uncool. Today, it's far trendier to be saving the world.

Stewart may be the son of a plumber but Rod: The Autobiography is hardly plumbing down to much introspection; despite four decades as a musician there's little insight into the cut-throat music business but there is interesting gossip, mad anecdotes and plenty of self-deprecating humour that makes it an extremely amusing read. Stewart's colourful life has been laid bare in a breezy, almost breathless fashion, it seems, no detail too embarrassing to omit. For example, one entire chapter is devoted to Stewart's hair. Stewart explains his daily routine of back-combing and blow-drying, he even has tips for those of us equally obsessed with our locks: mix sugar with water, pat on hair and then blow-dry, so the locks set in place. He goes on to lament how his hair could never survive the crushing backdrafts from the trains on the London Underground, but eventually, he and best friend Ronnie Wood (of the Rolling Stones) perfected the "just out of bed look after a night of enviable debauchery". Wink, wink.

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