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“Irresistible….[Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s] incisive writing and ability to deftly transcribe every dramatic moment that shaped his life makes Luck and Circumstance stand out…[a] marvelous coming-of-age story.”
—Lizzie Crocker, The Daily Beast
“[Luck and Circumstance] is a candid, chatty and enlivened by wonderfully detailed mini-portraits of the famous supporting players in his life.”
—David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
“Sad, funny and intelligent . . . Show-business memoirs are often long on gossip and short on introspection. This one has plenty of entertaining anecdotes about the famous characters who pass through Lindsay-Hogg’s life . . . But Lindsay-Hogg is at his most compelling when trying to make sense of his ambiguous feelings about his parents and his obsession with Welles.”
—Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal
Number 3 on Entertainment Weekly’s Must List: The Top Ten Things We Love This Week: “Fascinating. . . Unconcealed flashes of pride mixed with resentment . . . imbue this memoir with its power.”
“Generous, funny, and often poignant. . .”
—Megan O’Grady, Vogue.com
“Lindsay-Hogg makes every effort to parse the practically Shakespearean drama that shaped his life. Epic love, mistaken identities, letters revealing secrets—they’re all here.”
—Alex Witchel, The New York Times Book Review
“An unusual story of a life lived among a galaxy of stars, told with enough insight and intelligence that even those who dismiss celebrity memoirs should enjoy this jaunt through the glitz.”
“A really good read. It’s interesting, and funny, with a poignancy to it also, and the mystery surrounding the elusive big bear, Orson Welles, is fascinating.”
“A perfect memoir. Filled with exquisite, fascinating portraits of legendary artists at work in the theatre and the movies and rock and roll. The mystery of Orson is a chorus reprised in various corner booths through the years. A sheer pleasure to get to know these people and their vanished worlds, and heartbreaking to lose them one by one.”
"This explains a lot."
“The ambiguity Michael Lindsay-Hogg has been dealing with all his life would have broken many a lesser man and artist. With truth shifting, and objects of love being uncertain, one feels the pain and sadness and confusion he must have felt. But he shows a touching generosity I don't think I could have shown to the culprits in his life.”
“Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s memoir, honest and witty, is also a mystery story with all the surprises of a detective story. Along with intimate and humorous stories of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, as well as Hollywood in the ‘40s, there is a courageous revelation of the deepest fears and desires of family life and individual identity.”
“When—if ever—should a secret be revealed? I’ve puzzled over this for years . . . In this brilliant, compelling memoir of haunting questions you will find the answer.”
He smiled again and closed the door and I sat back to wait and get more nervous when, almost immediately, the door opened again and in came six people, Mal, and Neil Aspinall, who had the hard shiny face of someone who could be an unwelcome foe. He’d started by driving their van in Liverpool, Beatles and instruments crammed in the back. He went on to run their company, Apple Corps, for almost forty years.
And the four of them who looked like the four of them. Their faces had become so famous that it was like being in a room with iconic characters, as from the comics, say— Mickey and Donald, Archie and Jughead.
I had gotten to my feet as they’d all entered, out of politeness I like to think. They took random places around the table as prawn cocktails were served by a maid, with white, rosé, and red wine on offer and Coca-Cola with or without scotch. Everyone started to eat, pour drinks, and continue to talk about whatever they’d been talking about when they’d come in. I stood there wondering what was going to happen next.
Paul was beside Neil, facing my way, and was the first to speak to me.
“Michael, right? Come over and give us your ideas.”
Those with their backs to me did not turn around. I did not think he meant for me, as I gave my ideas, to stand while they sat. But the problem was there was nowhere to sit at the table. The chairs were all taken. The sofa and armchairs were too big to move. So it was to be the hassock. I looked at the hassock. The hassock looked at me, dark leather and fat. I gauged it was too large in circumference and bulk to lift. I put my foot at its base and applied pressure, hoping to seem, until I tested its weight, that I wasn’t doing anything other than just standing there. It did not budge.
Paul and Neil had gone back to eating. The others were talking, backs to me, unconcerned.
I’d have to shove this malignant object, and so I leaned down and initiated a pushing-like activity, ungracefully angled, ass out. The hassock started to move but not as though willing, with the carpet being no friend, fibrous and resistant. It was harder than I’d thought.
Maybe wondering what had become of me, in relation to his invitation to “come over,” Paul lifted his eyes from his prawn cocktail and took in the sight in front of him.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
Sensing something was going on, the others, Mal, John,
George, and Ringo at the head of the table, previously obscured, turned in their chairs toward me.
“I’m fine,” I grunted, in a manner which I hoped conveyed no sense of strain.
Mal started to rise to give me a hand.
“No, don’t get up!” I heard myself shout. “It’s no problem.”
With a final muscle-tensing effort, I maneuvered the hassock the last half dozen feet and slammed it into a space between Mal and George.
“There, I’ve done it.”
Those at the table, including the four most famous people in the world, had stopped eating and were staring at me.
I stood back and smiled as though what had just occurred had been, for me anyway, a pleasant, familiar experience.
I started to sit down and it was at this point that I realized a hassock’s original purpose was to rest weary legs after a long day and consequently it was lower in height than a regular chair and so I’d be sitting somewhat lower than the four most famous people in the world.
My chin was at table level as I wiped the sweat offmy forehead, looked up at The Beatles, and said, “I really like the record.”
What they saw was some white tablecloth and a disembodied, flushed, moist head which had just spoken to them.
I waited for the discussion to begin.
There was silence until George, courteous by nature, asked, in a slightly concerned voice, “Would you like some water?”
Posted October 30, 2011
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