Books: GAZZA DAZZA; TV Reporter JONATHAN MAITLAND, the Author of Flop Idol, Sees How Two New Pop Autobiographies Square Up; TALKING POINT by GARETH GATES (Virgin, Pounds 9.99) H SINK OR SWIM by DARIUS DANESH (Headline, Pounds 14.99) HHH

The Mirror (London, England), September 5, 2003 | Go to article overview

Books: GAZZA DAZZA; TV Reporter JONATHAN MAITLAND, the Author of Flop Idol, Sees How Two New Pop Autobiographies Square Up; TALKING POINT by GARETH GATES (Virgin, Pounds 9.99) H SINK OR SWIM by DARIUS DANESH (Headline, Pounds 14.99) HHH


Byline: JONATHAN MAITLAND

Call me a pedant, but when it comes to writing your life story there's one thing you really need to have had before you start Chapter One - a life. Which is why dear old Winston Churchill, arguably the greatest Briton ever, held on 'til he was 56 before reaching for his pen. Gareth and Darius aren't even old enough to rent a car, yet here they are.

Remarkably, this is Gareth's second autobiographical volume. As you'd expect, it's an anorexically thin, cynically cobbled together piece of old tat. Not that I blame him. In an industry where the artists have the shelf-life of a pint of semi-skimmed, you can't have a go at someone who is only trying to milk it while he can.

Even so, Gareth's fans deserve something more than reheated leftovers from old Smash Hits interviews. The problem is that a book can only be as interesting as its subject, and Gareth is as complex as a boiled sweet. The only interesting thing he's done, apart from coming second in Pop Idol, was to mount the south face of Jordan without oxygen, but that's not mentioned. All we get is some guff about his stammer, the fun he had doing a film with S Club 7, and the fact that he sends lots of texts. Oh, and he and Will Young once complained that their hotel rooms "weren't very nice". Phew! Rock 'n' roll, or what!

Compared to this, Darius's book reads like Socrates. In fact, it's surprisingly good. In fact, I enjoyed it more than Unless, the Booker Prize-nominated novel by Carol Shields, which I read last week.

For a start, Darius appears to have written it himself and his story contains everything Gareth's lacks - good anecdotes, a sense of perspective and passion. …

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Books: GAZZA DAZZA; TV Reporter JONATHAN MAITLAND, the Author of Flop Idol, Sees How Two New Pop Autobiographies Square Up; TALKING POINT by GARETH GATES (Virgin, Pounds 9.99) H SINK OR SWIM by DARIUS DANESH (Headline, Pounds 14.99) HHH
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