That Close, by Suggs
When Madness performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee, their place in the pantheon of essentially British characters seemed confirmed. It was as if they had always been accepted as a symbol of the nation. But if anything these events, with their big production values, highlighted the “otherness” of Madness, which runs alongside their position in British popular musical history.
High-mindedness or ego has no place in Suggs’s autobiography, which overflows with sentimentality for the energy of youth and wonder at the largely unplanned trajectory of his life. From his band finding themselves part of the 1980s antiracist two-tone music movement, off-script appearances on Top of the Pops and brushes with Hollywood, Suggs’s first 50 years have teetered on the edge of spectacular while keeping one foot firmly in the world of a working-class lad.
He is hugely entertaining, by turns irreverent and respectful of the wide variety of people who have influenced his life, ensuring his story is entirely authentic and enjoyable.