Simon & Schuster Australia
ISBN: 978 0857205599
Date of Publication: October, 2014
Keywords: Autobiography, Adult,
WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AND DRUG USE
Reviewer: Debbie Berger
Billy Idol tells it how it was in his hey-day as a rock and roll legend of the 1980s. ‘Dancing with Myself’ is an honest and raw account of Billy’s life during his rise to fame. He is likeable, outrageous and at times deep in his insights of growing up in London during the birth of the punk revolution and his life as a rock star. His first hand descriptions about the rampant ’sex, drugs and rock and roll’ are in your face but they give you a real sense of how the rock world worked in that era.
If you are a 70s or 80s child this will have you reminiscing about songs such as ‘Rebel Yell’, ‘Dancing with Myself’ and ‘White Wedding’. Billy describes what inspired these songs and what was happening in the world of music when they were created. It is touching in parts and his descriptive language is intelligent and insightful. Billy describes his battles with trying to repeatedly give up heavy drugs, nearly losing the battle at times. He is honest about his weaknesses and the battles he has faced. The death of his beloved father towards the end of the book is emotional and touching – I even shed a tear or two.
To quote Dennis Hunt, LA Times critic: “Idol, 28, is arrogant, abrasive and often snarlingly sarcastic. But he is still very likable. His intelligence and, believe it or not, sensitivity temper those other qualities, but his most distinguishing characteristic is his smoldering intensity” (page 198). I think this sums up Billy Idol, and “Dancing with Myself” perfectly.
Definitely not for children and not for the easily offended – there is lots of strong language and drug use. It is a wild ride, but worth reading. (Disclosure: I am a 70s child who was a huge fan of Billy Idol when growing up.)