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Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir

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Jake Shears reads his Memoir with a relaxed and tender cadence and brings you into his beginnings in life and with Scissor Sisters. I asked Klaus Biesenbach, the director of the museum, if there was a place away from everyone that Chris and I could go spend a few minutes together. Candid and courageous, Shears's writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Jake Shears is so damn honest about everything, and it makes for an insightful read that leaves little to compare it to. Shears also wrote songs for the “Tales of the City” musical that I loved so much back in 2011; I still nurture a hope that it’ll go on to have a second life someday.

Boys Keep Swinging does a great job of capturing the highs and lows of rock stardom, as well as providing a moving coming-of-age story.The memoir of Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters (born Jason Sellards) is a raw, honest account of finding your identity and your tribe. Before becoming lead singer in the fabulous Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, just a kid with an unfathomable imagination and a love of He-Man dolls. I was obsessed with books and got the hang of reading from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s innocuous prairie tales, the Wizard of Oz books, and Raggedy Ann and Andy’s psychedelic journeys. It was a specific kind of attention that I wanted from them, an informed validation of my idiosyncratic self.

I had a pocketful of MDMA, and even though I was completely spent, the exhilaration from the shows had me floating. Long before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy living a fraught life, resulting in a confusing and confining time in high school as his classmates bullied him and few teachers showed sympathy. We sat in the grass by the stone circle monument, a popular gathering spot at Glastonbury with twenty standing stones, where people play drums and lie about in the grass.But what he has written is splendid: a star-studded memoir, a cultural history of gay millennial New York, and an origin story for one of the most important pop acts of the 2000s. As with all of these kinds of books, it also feels like a cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for and realising that hitting the top doesn’t always mean you’re going to get a smooth ride.

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