It begins with a machete in Kenya. I remember when I read it that I admired the great first line. First half page, in actual fact. More so, because I sort of considered Natalie and Roger Whittaker mere amateurs when it came to writing books. I’m talking about So far, so good, which is the autobiography they wrote together.
The book left me exhausted, because the couple seemed never to take a break. I couldn’t understand how they could live so frenetically and for Roger to produce his wonderful music, and for Natalie to do ‘all the rest.’
Because she did. It was home and family and admin for Roger and god knows what else. All over the world. And the pets! They must have had a real zoo at times. An unexpected side effect of reading the book was that for months I was so annoyed with Roger for putting Natalie through all this. I ended up being her fan instead, wondering how she put up with him.
Babe magnet, I suppose we would call him today. I’d had no idea that he was being chased by women all over the world. I mean, not quite like that. But Natalie gave as good as she got, I reckon. Fantastic woman.
And, I realised that he’d ‘lied’ in concerts. Or at least made the truth less obvious. Talking about their children, Roger made out it was really quite easy to end up with five of them. Whereas in reality they had to struggle to become parents, and there was a lot of heart-break involved.
But now, they have five adult children, and countless grandchildren.
Written when Roger was fifty, So far, so good contains all that you want an autobiography to have. It’s got things about which you’d had no idea, as well as the obvious stuff.
It ends with Roger’s appearance on This Is Your Life. I believe they have often intended to write the ‘second half’ of Roger’s life, but today when he is 77, I’m guessing they are too busy to get round to doing that.
That’s how life should be. Live it, rather than write about it. And from a singer, I’m sure we’d all rather have more songs, if we must choose.
Back when I bought the book, we’d searched the early internet for somewhere that would sell it, and found a shop in Canada. (There were other copies, but this one was signed.) I worked out when it would be daytime for both us and them and phoned the lady who ran the shop. She was flabbergasted someone would call from so far away just to buy a book. A paperback.
Today when checking again, I see it’s available from the famously tax-evading online bookshop, for only one penny, plus postage. It’s easier today, but it was more exciting back then.
I have stopped being annoyed with my favourite singer. I enjoy his voice, and I’m glad he’s got such a great wife. Roger probably is too.
Happy 77th Birthday!