Book review: Manicdotes



Chris Joseph, Austin Macauley ISBN 9781905609079

This is an autobiography of a man who knows how to make himself known. After walking out of university, he tried joining the Catholic priesthood, worked spells as a nightclub bouncer, and worked in a foundry where – as is graphically recounted in this book – he lost an arm in a machinery accident.

After a second successful attempt at university, he went into advertising, where he made his fortune by founding agency Hook Advertising, named after his false arm.

There is plenty of humour and variety in the many punchy chapters on his creative media campaigns. These include his own media-hyped battles with the big business boys over copyright disputes, interspersed with a few tales of his manic depression and subsequent hospitalisation.

There was little insight into his mental health problems, other than listing spending sprees on homeless folk. And there is no analysis of how he sees the possible interplay between his creativity and his mental health problems. So while he an interesting bloke, this is not a standard text for mental health students.

This is a very unchallenging read. But while the feminist in me baulked at the references to scantily clad women, used as part of his media campaigns and male entertainment, the pictures of his adverts show an advertising man’s genius.

Tina Coldham is a national development consultant at the Health and Social Care Advisory Service

This review is published in the 2 July issue of Community Care magazine

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