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Mark Ellen: Rock Stars Stole My Life!

Intelligent and witty tale of a life dedicated to music.

Mark Ellen invents rock papers the way David Bowie invents genres – often, and regularly. With David Hepworth, he gave us Smash Hits, Q, Mojo and (The) Word. He’s also been a late-period Whistle Test presenter, and he did bits of Live Aid. And he was in a band called Ugly Rumours with Tony Blair.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Ellen has decided to assemble the jigsaw of his life for public perusal. Rock Stars Stole My Life!, as the title suggests, is unpretentious without being unintelligent, opinionated without being nasty, and funny without being vulgar. As memoirs go, it’s high on self-deprecating anecdotes and low on self-promotion.

Throughout, charm and wit prevail and its only niggle is that you can’t help but hear it in Ellen’s own chummy voice, so you keep thinking you’re listening to the audiobook. A fine, warm read.

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.