So Here It Is – The Autobiography
By Dave Hill
Unbound – £20.00
There’s something exquisitely humbling about this book.
Tender even, which in all honesty, I found somewhat surprising.
Reason being, when one thinks of Slade’s idiosyncratically incongruous guitar player, Dave Hill, one cannot help but think of he with the rather elongated, beaming smile. He with the ludicrous outfits – all colourfully fraught and undeniably flippant – replete with a seemingly inadvertent ideology which subscribed to that of water off a duck’s back.
So to read about Hill’s recent struggles with depression, not to mention the altogether poignant openness with which he writes about his mother, is both endearing and commendable.
Endearing and commendable for all the right reasons might I add.
Primarily, that of the degree to which he doesn’t hold back throughout So Here It Is – The Autobiography, the following being a prime example: ”Looking back on it, it seems to me that she was controlled by guilt, and anything that disturbed her life, however trivial it might have been, she saw as a punishment. It was like the world only existed to get her back. She didn’t feel as if she could enjoy anything because she felt she didn’t deserve it.”
Such words, really aren’t the sort one would expect to read by someone who regularly shook their arse in front of millions of viewers on TV. Could you imagine Sting being anywhere near as frank or as open?
The likes of Shane McGowan would undoubtedly be as open out of sheer necessity. As would the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave. But these are all terrific songwriters. Songwriters, with a story to tell.
But Dave Hill? The Super Yob?
Each of these twenty-two chapters are written in such a way that one cannot help but want to delve further and continue reading; a facet, which, so far as rock’n’roll (auto)biographies are concerned, is exceedingly slim on the ground.
For instance, I found Rod Stewart’s Rod – The Autobiography (2012) embarrassingly heinous. Other than inexorable bravado, it contained nothing along such regal lines as: ”Just as my life has been a journey that’s unfolded in these pages, so writing this book was a journey of its own. I approached it by wanting to answer a few questions I had about my life, my parents, my health, Slade, about how I got where I am now. What was the real story of my mom and dad?Why were Slade such a huge success and why didn’t we emulate that in the States? Where did my depression come from, and how did I survive that and my stroke? Those were all things I wanted to think more deeply about and, in doing that, in researching, in talking to people who have been involved in my life along the way, things have become clearer. As you’ll have discovered by reading this book, I haven’t got all the answers – I don’t think anybody ever has – but a lot of things have come into sharper focus for me” (‘So Far, So Good’).
He’s right, in that nobody ever has all the answers – unless of course, you’re Bono – which, when aligned with much of Dave Hill’s reflection throughout these 253 pages (excluding a Foreword by Noddy Holder, Acknowledgements, Index and a List of Supporters), accounts for So Here It Is – The Autobiography being such a candid and top-quality read.