IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 24 Tuesday, 11 August 2009 London Lite Y ou got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs, and right here is where you start paying... in sweat! These were the words that opened the Eighties television show Fame each week, in which kids were taught that the only criteria for stardom was the ability to scissor kick and look good in a leotard. Ah, simpler times. Now you dont even need to sweat or look good in Lycra. Being famous is apparently a career choice. Just invest in the right wardrobe, boyfriend or surgeon, and, in S Club 7- speak, reach for the stars. According to a survey carried out last year, one in six teenagers actually believe they are going to make it -- although whether it would be for snog- ging Peaches Geldof, or beating up a loved one on The Jeremy Kyle Show wasnt clear. Aimed at this demographic is the desperately depressing How To Be Famous. In exchange for just 6.99 and your dignity, its yours. It starts comfortingly. Fame is there for the taking, so long as you know how to go about it. So what if youre as thick as a box of hair? Dont give up. Everyone on this planet has something to offer. Many celebrities dont have clear-cut talents, and yet theyre household names. If you cant be bothered to get good at difficult stuff like acting, singing or dancing, thats fine. Just go on Big Brother where you can get drunk, strip off and humiliate yourself in public -- sorry, celebrate your uniqueness as a human being. Want to know how to get their attention? Be economical with the truth, like south London It girl (and lapdancer) Charley uchea did two years ago. Yes, shes in here. There are celebrity beauty tips it would better to ignore -- Nicole Kidman apparently washes her hair in cranberry juice to bring out the red highlights (highlights?) while Catherine Zeta-Jones uses beer. The style section says: You should create a wish list of your ulti- mate designer, be it Chlo, Chanel or whatever, which will certainly make your next visit to Peacocks a delight. Its hard to know who would buy this book -- maybe the sort of mothers who have always told their little darlings theyre more special than most. Certainly, anyone who believes that GCSEs are worth revising for will find Jimmy Lee Shreeves guide to instant stardom wrong on every level. Although perhaps the fact youve just asked: Who? says it all. REVIEWSBOOKS Fameisthere forthefaking Bowlesdinesoutonposhpals towaffleonaboutBritishfood Gaining exposure: BBs Charley Uchea MUSIC The Ballad Of Britain ByWillHodgkinson(Portico,12.99) HHHHI HoW might you define the sonic landscape of Britain? I dont mean the sound of pigeons, but the musical creations of its people. Journalist Will Hodgkinson decided to identify, record and map out our little islands ruckus. Pete Townshend and Jarvis Cocker, as well as gaggles of gipsies, Morris dancers, street buskers and eccentrics, share their views on the folk ballads of Britain and the originality of common peoples music in the days before the Spice Girls and Spotify. Hodgkinsons argument is that different regions generate contrasting musical styles, steered in one direction or another by environment, social structure and cultural variations. In other words, its the reason the French could never have produced The Beatles, and why we had The Magic Roundabout while Americans had to contend with Barney the purple dinosaur. Hodgkinsons style is affably colloquial and he weaves chirpy anecdotes into the fabric of the bigger, more serious picture -- that the best, most original music in Britain is the stuff we seldom get to hear. His accompanying field recordings are available on Heron records. MARTHA DE LACEY Brookmyre has long been the kind of Zeitgeist- capturing comic thriller writer Ben elton thinks he is. That said, his form is starting to dip alarmingly. At a secret military installation in the Scottish Highlands, a strange alliance of scientists, military types and religious leaders discover what appears to be the gateway to Hell, which issues forth a veritable smorgasbord of vile beasts that swiftly deal with the soldiers detailed to guard them. Then the hellacious creatures, in search of fresh prey, make a terrible mistake. They take on a group of feisty Scottish teenagers ensconced at an outdoors centre undergoing grief counselling after a school stabbing. There can only be one winner and it aint gonna be the beasties. Pandaemonium isnt terrible but the writing often careers into hackneyed clich. readable but must do better next time. PAUL CONNOLLY THE second instalment in Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy again features seediness in modern-day Sweden. A journalist investigating sex trafficking winds up murdered, along with his girlfriend. The finger of suspicion points to Lisbeth Salander, enigmatic heroine of Larssons first bestseller, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The plot hinges on coincidences, but the late Larsson was such a talented storyteller it scarcely matters. SIMON SHAW The Girl Who Played With Fire ByStiegLarsson (Quercus,7.99) Newpaperbacks FOOD Full English ByTomParkerBowles(Ebury,12.99) HHHII mArCUS meSSNer is a classic roth hero, brilliant, intense, horny and a Jewish son of New Jersey. Its the Fifties, and marcus must stay in college to avoid the korean war. Theres a plot twist here thats so outrageously roth-ian I wanted to cheer. Terrible forces are set in motion. on a date, in a car, with a beautiful, messed-up girl, he receives extreme sexual pleasure and, instead of feeling lucky, feels cursed -- and is right to. Terrific. WILLIAM LEITH Indignation ByPhilipRoth (Vintage,7.99) THIS book reminded me of Stephen King. Were in Normalsville, uS, then something deeply odd happens. Peter Ferry -- the protagonist has the same name as the author -- is a high school English teacher. one day, he tells his class that he witnessed a car crash in which a beautiful woman died. Then he says its not true. But if its not true, why is he obsessed with the dead woman? Why does he stalk her beyond the grave? A very neat piece of storytelling. WL None Of This Ever Really Happened ByPeterFerry (Vintage,7.99) THE BIG READ How To Be Famous ByJimmyLeeShreeve(Orion,6.99) HIIII AMBER COWAN SCI-FI Pandaemonium ByChristopherBrookmyre (Little,Brown,17.99) HHHII THIS is a book for grazing rather than dining out on. Its the sort of book posh people keep in the lavatory. Its not really about food, either -- rather, its an exercise in showing how lyrically TPB can wax about a hunk of cheddar, pontificate on a pork scratching, intellectualise an Eccles cake and overuse the word ersatz. He devotes chapters to the traditional local cuisines of five British regions with a few recipes at the end of each. But although he braves a Birmingham Balti house and an East End pienmash joint, no amount of eulogising about childhood birthday trips to Wimpy can disguise the fact hes a posh bloke off on a jolly to visit his posh mates (Alice Temperleys dad makes lovely cider, apparently). He questions why traditional British food is considered a bit rubbish, citing the Industrial Revolution, working women, wartime rationing and our aspirations to exotic foreign fare. Were in thrall to value, which is exploited by the supermarkets -- not that theyre really the bad guys (lets not jeopardise a Jamie- esque product range, now). While theres no doubt that TPB is a frightfully erudite chap -- the book is peppered with literary quotes and boasts a six-page bibliography -- this is just ersatz porn for the Waitrose classes. STEPHANIE HIRSCHMILLER Frightfully erudite chap: Tom Parker Bowles index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html