Book reviews: Stars, Cars And Crystal Meth

483942It would take a long time to get from American drag queen RuPaul to Professor John Sutherland, eminent British academic and author of such tomes as The Longman Companion To Victorian Fiction.

However, unlikely as it seems, Professor Sutherland’s son Jack is a close friend of RuPaul. Jack Sutherland did not follow his father into academia – he cheerfully admits that he has read fewer books than his father has written. Instead, he has pursued a variety of careers including personal assistant to the stars, manager of a luxury limo firm and nightclub bouncer.

But many of his jobs have been brought to a premature end – and so, almost, has his life – by drink and drug addiction.

Stars, Cars And Crystal Meth is Jack’s account of his rackety life, as dictated to his father John. By a series of improbable chances, when he was barely out of his teens Jack became PA to the band REM and had the difficult task of trying to keep them on the road during their ill-starred world tour of 1995.

He adored lead singer Michael Stipe despite his peculiarities and Stipe saw Jack’s primary role as keeping “people he didn’t know from getting physically close to him”.

Most of the people Jack worked for turned out to be incredibly nice and many readers will long for something a bit spicier when it comes to the celebrity anecdotes. The only celebs who really come alive in these pages are RuPaul and actor Mickey Rourke, who Jack depicts as sweet but bonkers.

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