REVIEW: James Brown – Animal House autobiography

REVIEW: James Brown – Animal House autobiography

If you were an eagle-eyed reader of the weekly music papers back in the late 80’s/early 90’s such as NME the name James Brown was synonymous with some of the most captivating articles that featured artists such as The Happy Mondays in its pages. Fast forward a few years Brown launched the ‘lad’s’ magazine Loaded featuring everything from top musicians, elite fashion plus world renowned models fronting it’s covers.

This is my relatively small knowledge of Brown up until now having written a brutely honest, sometimes lighthearted and lessons in life book entitled Animal House published via Quercus books. Whilst there was debauchery a plenty around Brown’s life being an editor and creator of 2 of the most popular publications of the period, it’s understandable now that Brown has taken the time to look back and describe some of the patterns of his personal life that many probably knew nothing about, no doubt influencing his outlandish behaviour of the time.

Brown describes his journey from being born and raised into humble circumstances in the northern quarters of Leeds, his Mother having lived a life full of mental health struggles, sadly dying in 1992, in the weeks leading up to Loaded becoming a physical reality. One of Browns traits was being a tad cocky, which probably helped him get the gigs and into gigs he was employed to earn his keep. But this attitude appears to be a self-defense mechanism that triggered inside Brown to help disguise the pain he was secretly holding back.

Whilst his time at the NME saw him taking substances with the likes of The Happy Mondays, becoming their youngest features editor at the age of 22, Loaded magazine which is probably seen by many as a top shelf kinda publication, when first published was a lavish new magazine that featured great concise articles on the likes of Paul Weller, some of the best fashion for lads and ladettes, whilst interviewees included Miranda Sawyer and Mary Anne Hobbs, it was a decent magazine that was probably tarnished when Brown ultimately left in 1997 to pursue being an editor of high bro magazine GQ.

It was at this period where he was offered professional help regarding this addictions, something that was a turning point to cleaner living and most probably saved his life. Having had my own episodes of addictions and early 20’s partying, the book firmly spoke to me, which will do the same to others who might’ve trodden a similar journey or even those that are starting out to be a warn of what to do and maybe what not to do. An often candid and eye opening account, Animal House certainly delivers the wow factor.

Animal House is available to buy from the following link