It’s nice to read about a rock star who is down-to-earth, kind, shy and generous. Mick Ronson, guitarist extraordinaire, was all of these things according to his friends and family – just a northern boy from Hull who happened to have a great talent and was in the right place at the right time.
Weird and Gilly took 5 years to interview Mick’s family, friends and ex band members. The book is a bit tedious in places with copious details about band break-ups and gigs performed, and I’d rather have read more about Mick’s life as a son, father, husband and brother. However, there were a few funny stories, especially the time when Mick, sunburnt and sore, decided to go for a swim in a chlorine-filled pool. He’d just dyed his hair platinum blond, but the chlorine reacted with the dye and turned his hair green. That coupled with his red sunburnt body caused must have caused many strange looks at the time!
The common denominator to all these successful musicians is obviously an exceptional talent, and much motivation and desire to make music their chosen career. Mick’s mother noticed his talent even at the age of 2, but as with many families his strict father wanted him to get a ‘proper job’, causing much bad feeling between them. Having raised two sons myself, I realised some time ago that we have to let our children seek their own paths in life. Mick tried his hand at being a mobile grocer and also a gardener to try and please his father, but it was inevitably to music that he would eventually turn.
I never did get to see Mick play live with David Bowie, and he died too early from liver cancer in 1993 at the age of only 46. However, friends and family paid tribute to his positive outlook, lack of complaining, and his certainty that he would beat the illness. His wife is also writing a book about him, and I look forward to reading it.
I’ve given this book 3 stars.