Barbecuing Dinosaurs and Meeting Your Music Idols: Mark Ellen’s Rock Stars Stole My Life! Review

mark ellen

Barbecuing dinosaurs is an expression Mark Ellen uses in his book to describe moving away from old fashioned music and embracing new music. As a teenager in the Seventies, for young Mark it was all about prog rock and barbecuing (and later, playing clay pigeon shooting with LPs) old fogeys’ music from the previous decade.


He fought all the hard battles so that we don’t have to: being punched by Elvis Costello, just to secure a backstage interview; flying around the world with Rhianna, again so we don’t have to endure that either. Thanks Mark!


He is the hero who gave us the real time BBC commentary to Live Aid in 1985: he was even there at the recording of the charity single Do They Know it’s Christmas, which secured Bob Geldof his KBE title for services to international social justice and peace.


Pop Anecdotes: Pure Gold


Mark met my teenage music idols Duran Duran and rubbed shoulders with 80s big wigs (the term in used in both literal and figurative sense, since these pop acts had massive barnets).


I laughed at musicians’ big egos and commiserated poor Mark when he got the short straw interviewing massive divas and simply unpleasant, over-inflated rock stars.


Why You Should Read This Book


If you are a music fan, this book is packed with great insider stories, but it’s also a love declaration to music.


Personally, I found I learned so much more about music and will make an effort to learn more about Seventies music, which I am not very familiar with.


Having met Mark at his book reading, I must say that he is very personable (well, he has to be due to the nature of his job!) and his writing style is refreshingly direct and amusing. He is a great wordsmith who has perfected his prose over thirty years of music journalism.

Let’s not forget that he played bass for Tony Blair’s band Ugly Rumours! I just wished we had footage of the ex Prime Minister strutting his stuff on stage like Mick Jagger.