Sunday, 27 February 2011

Holywood Star by Eamon Nancarrow book review

Holywood Star by Eamon Nancarrow

By Phil Allely

Over the years I’ve had the chance to read my fair share of biographies and autobiographies, many of them proving to be a wearing experience on my eyes and once eager mind. Thankfully Northern Irish singer Eamon Nancarrow has given me an opportunity to once again savour such reading/reviewing opportunities. His first foray into the world of literature proving to be a tour-de-force of a well paced lesson in how to write a successful and honest biography piece of work, without turning it into a blatant ‘look at me’ style attempt that so many try and fail with.

Eamon writes from the heart, through his own words and sometimes alcohol hazed memory of events, he gives his readers a look at how he like so many of his peers attempted to live the rock and roll dream by forming a band and making it big in an industry that can use you, abuse you and throw you away all in the same day.

Over the course of three hundred fifty pages (which due to the short chapters, punchy delivery and countless ‘laugh out loud moments’ disappear through your fingers with ease) we follow the young and long-haired style icon (hey we’ve all been there) as he embarks on a globetrotting adventure, to prove himself and become the next big rock star to come out of The Emerald Isle.

Kicking off with an introduction to his family, upbringing, musical heritage and his background, its not long before Eamon has us giggling at his mis-adventures and formation of the first of many bands and line-ups he would become a part of during his career to date. Holywood Star is a rare book, being told warts and all, in a no-holds-barred manner by a man who simply thought why not put all of these tales of gigging, rocking, sleeping on mouldy matresses and much more down on paper for someone else to laugh at, as much as he and his band of fellow rockers did (eventually, after they‘d lived and survived it of course).

There are stories of road trips, both good and bad, successful and failed gigs, fights, tales of love affairs, accounts of some tragic fashion choices and of course the enduring friendship between himself and long-time friend and foil Ken Heaven. Every wannabe Lee Roth, Coverdale, Tyler or Jagger will eat this up as will all those girls who had to suffer their partners ill-fated rock influenced dreams and aspirations, many will recognise the situations, tales, lifestyle and way of life described on each and every page.

The term side-splitting is over used at times in journalism, but perhaps I can squeeze my one genuinely deserved quota (for the year) of it in here. I personally don’t see many readers even those of a morose nature being able to stifle a giggle, or three in each chapter on offer throughout, which to me shows just why a book such as this is not only a necessary addition to your collection. It’s also an appropriate gift for anyone in the family who has ever thought of becoming a rocker or who harbours fond dreams of bygone days when they used to rock out with their mates in a garage, shed, local church hall or even on a stage in a band that simply faded away one day and left them back at square one.

All in all this a superbly told account of a man’s experiences in the world of rock music, his ups, downs, life changing moments and his well deserved place in the Northern Irish music landscape. Eamon thankfully is still strutting his stuff behind the microphone on a regular basis, fronting the ever-popular band Strictly No Ballroom.

To learn more about Eamon, upcoming gigs and where to purchase his book visit

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