Spinning Plates by Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Review

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By Steve Crabtree

Everyone who knows me will testify that I’m a fan of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Put my Spotify on to ‘recommended for you’ and she’ll pop up seven or eight times in the space of a couple of hours.

I’ve liked her since her days as lead singer with The Audience, to her magnificent duet with Manic Street Preachers on their b-side ‘Black Holes For The Young’ in 1998. I was guilty of air-guitaring the solo in the middle of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ in many Yorkshire bars and nightclubs in the early noughties. And when I saw her in Leeds a couple of years ago, I thought her show was stunning. She was also great to speak to during my interview for this magazine at the time of that tour.

So, after being a popular figure during the first lockdown when her Instagram Kitchen Disco shows took the nation by storm, I was looking forward to having a read of her autobiography, Spinning Plates.

“Shiny and glitzy”

I wasn’t long in to the read before I was finding out that behind the shiny and glitzy pop Princess there’s a fascinating personal story. One that’s warm for the most part, and eye-opening in others.

It’s a chronological look at her life, which overlaps in places, revealing much. Motherhood, men, and music are talked about in abundance as Ellis-Bextor delves deep into some of those subjects and discusses some pretty intimate stuff. There were confidence issues in a girl so outgoing on stage, as well as darker experiences with people in the music industry who physically took advantage of her when she was young and starting out.

And then there are the bits you may have forgotten about: Hitting the charts initially as an indie-girl, and later being a hit with viewers on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

spinning plates sophie ellis bextor book review cover“A love-letter”

What I like most about the book is the modesty in which she approaches fame. But there is an exciting journey to stardom that comes through in each chapter, and even if you know where she’s going to end up, you can’t wait to turn the page to find out where she’s going next.

The fateful meeting with her husband Richard Jones is lovely. Indeed, much of her memoir seems like a dedication to him.  Clearly, they were meant to be. In fact, somewhere within the pages of Spinning Plates you might even feel like there’s a love-letter being written.

It’s a book I read very quickly. It’s an enjoyable read – the edgy bits are sprinkled in – but it’s mostly upbeat, written in a warm and humorous way. Spinning Plates is as honest as it is passionate.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor packs a lot in to life. I couldn’t think of a better title for the book, which I can honestly say is well worth the read.

‘Spinning Plates’ by Sophie Ellis-Bextor is published by Coronet, £16.99 hardback

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