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Salford's chief melon groper
Twisting My Melon - Shaun Ryder
Member Name: Stewwydablue
Twisting My Melon - Shaun Ryder
Advantages: Very open, honest and revealing
Disadvantages: I fear he's been too open about his crimes and drug use
I've been waiting for Shaun William Ryder to release an autobiography for years - there have been biographies written about him but there's nothing like hearing a story from the horse's mouth. For those who don't know, Shaun Ryder was the lead singer of the Happy Mondays and Black Grape. Still not sure? - he was in that Gorillaz song called D.A.R.E. Still don't know? - he was on I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here with Stacey Solomon. "Ah, him!" I hear you cry. Well, here's the book review about an important man for Manchester music who the late great Tony Wilson described as a street poet better than Keats.
The cover has a close up photo of Shaun's face which in my opinion isn't very flattering. I've made sure this book is placed spine out on my bookcase as the picture my scare my girls. The edging of the cover is yellow and black stripes - a doff of the cap to the Hacienda night club's décor, a place where Shaun was integral to the Manchester music scene.
As with most autobiographies, it's written in a chronological order. Shaun grew up in Salford, of which he's quite proud. He was what we'd call a scally, and started his wayward activities whilst still in school - robbing or sneaking as he calls it. He never really engaged with school and left at the first available opportunity to work for the Post Office as a messenger, then progressing up to having his own "walk" or round.
He had many scams on the go as a postman, but somehow managed to escape prison. Shaun's drug consumption increases as the book goes on and he's quite open about it all. Eventually, he ends up starting the Happy Mondays with his brother and a few other local lads - but initially there was no Bez (Who's Bez - he was the Happy Monday's "vibe maker" and was a band member who's freaky dancing has often been copied but never bettered).
There's plenty of mad anecdotes of the things he got up to in the Happy Mondays, and he also explains where the famous lyric "You're twisting my melon man" comes from. The Monday's split is documented, as is his brief spell in the limelight with Black Grape. Post Black Grape, he was in a wilderness of heroin and half hearted Happy Mondays comeback tours, all the while being financially ruined by a court order to do with his old management team that he split from.
Shaun's appearance in "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" is covered towards the end of his story and it seems that his life is finally almost on an even keel now. The reason he's never done a book before is that any money he would have made from it would have gone straight to his ex management team - he was well and truly shafted there.
As alluded to above, drugs and Shaun Ryder are like cheese and crackers in that they go together, so you might find some of the druggie aspects of the book a little uncomfortable as he took some pretty serious drugs in large quantities. If you can also overlook his misdemeanours as a thief, you might find the book very rock and roll - it made me think of a Keith Richards quote about living the rock and roll lifestyle so we don't have too.
Although there are some illegal activities in which Shaun participated, rather than judge him negatively I decided to be thankful for his honesty - he could have whitewashed the facts to paint himself in a better light, but what he's done instead is just told it as it is, warts and all. The result is a sometimes painful, quite gritty, always humorous and never dull story about his life as a rock and roll figure. The honesty he exudes about his shortcomings is appealing, and I'd guess that it was the reason he did so well on I'm a celebrity - people don't like fakes and Shaun seems to be very genuine.
Overall, I'd recommend this to Happy Mondays fans but not fans of "Jungle Shaun" as the might be surprised about his former life - the drugs, the crime etc. If you do read it though and aren't a Happy Mondays fan or know about him prior to his jungle appearance, don't judge him and you might be surprised about the life he's led.
Four out of five stars, thanks for reading.
Summary: Shaun Ryder's autobiography
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