It was, he says, pretty much at the height of his excesses.
It’s certainly as close as he gets to detailing them as this is a book that was almost more interesting in what it didn’t say than in what it did. Oh sure James is pretty up-front about constantly cheating on his long-term girlfriend and his partying ways but the booze and coke consumption is all skated over a bit finely for my liking. Call me morbid but I want to hear about nights spent snorting coke off someone’s boobs, passing out in toilet stalls and attempted interventions by friends. Instead we get vague references to waking up covered in blood in casualty and, only when he estimates he spent about a million pounds on coke and booze do we start to get a picture of just what it is that he’s not saying.
I seem to be reading a lot of autobiographical stuff lately, which isn’t particularly like me, but it’s always fascinating to have a look at someone else’s life.James’ role in the rise and rise of one of the 90s biggest bands certainly makes a compelling read - I romped through it last night with barely a break - and as someone with a soft spot for band boys myself it’s fascinating to see fandom from the other side of the fence.
He’s also a surprisingly deft writer, which I wouldn’t necessarily have expected, and I found his meditations on music and astronomy almost more interesting than his encounters with Johnny Depp, Bjork and Marianne Faithful.
It’s also full of helpful tips for the burgeoning alcoholic, such as eating carrots between glasses of champagne to stop your breath from stinking, or having something fizzy every few glasses of spirits to avoid getting too drunk too quickly. Valuable lessons those.