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A bit of a book review: Carl Stanley’s Kiss & Make Up

“Carl sets his own soundtrack to this vivid and colourful book. I’m thrilled to have been part of that soundtrack. Wonderful, captures the time perfectly.” – Marc Almond

Thanks to Carl Stanley, make-up and hair extraordinaire, for personally sending me a review copy of his esoterically entertaining new book Kiss & Make Up.

Always making sure he gets their good side, Carl’s slapped the pan stick on everyone from Joanna Lumley to Helen Mirren to Kim Wilde.

Carl and I were born in 1969, six months apart – he in Birmingham, me in London – so many of the reference points, often raw, occasionally reverential, hit home like Peter Gabriel’s ubiquitous sledgehammer. 

At the moment I’m about half way through a riotous rollercoaster of 1980s peacock popsters and gender bending glamour pusses clawing their way through Thatcher’s Britain.

Most notably there’s a very pertinent conversation recounted on page 121 where Carl and chums lament the lack of gender benders and pop stars in general who publicly came out at the time.

Just why weren’t Boy George O’Dowd, Pete Burns or Marc Almond more vocal in the sexual preferences department back then? Were they afraid Thatch would have them incarcerated in the Tower of London, or did they assume the false eyelashes, blusher and lippy did the talking for them?

Carl’s celebrity clients have included the indomitable Iron Lady herself. Respect

Anyway, Kiss & Make Up is an eloquent and wittily written personal memoir about a misspent youth as a club-going New Romantic. There are innumerable wild tales in there that had me feel a whole gamut of emotions. I laughed out loud disconcertingly often, and you will too.

(NB See Emma Coray, if you want journalists to plug your tomes it’s probably a good idea to actually send them to said scribe. Well, it is if youre just kissing to be clever.)

Steve Pafford


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