When my life is at a point of change, I turn to autobiographies. I find something comforting knowing that people I admire have been through trials and tribulations themselves and come out of them the other end smiling.
I wasn’t however prepared for the autobiography of former Highgate resident, and film star, Nick Frost.
Nick Frost, for those of you who don’t know, is often typecast as ‘Simon Pegg’s friend’. Yet he’s the guy who provides the real comedy value in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and so many more hit TV shows and films.
Truths, Half Truths & Little White Lies follows Frost from birth until the age of 30. As he only really shot to fame in 2004 with the release of Shaun and The Dead, this means that you get the warts and all from his personal life, not his career.
His life has been a challenging one, with a family ravaged by alcoholism and tragedy, and years spent in the doldrums of chain Mexican restaurants dotted around North London. Despite this, Frost ultimately fought his feelings of inadequacy to rise to the occasion when the opportunity presented itself.
Despite this no hole barred approach to telling the story of his life, there are also bright points. Namely his friendship with Simon Pegg and his time living in Highgate.
The Winchester, where Frost and Pegg hide themselves in Shaun of the Dead is actually based on The Boogaloo (formerly The Shepherds Inn), which demonstrates the connection these fine actors have to the area.
The anecdotes come thick and fast, but I think my favourite was when Frost knocked himself unconscious in the bat caves which lead to the disused platforms of Highgate tube station and then had to crawl through the mud home to find Pegg eating a Chinese takeaway. He tells it better than I do…
Frost has, for years, been one of my favourite actors, and this book demonstrates a rare humanity. A man who has lived misfortune and still hasn’t come out of the other side – despite his best efforts. Ravished by depression and anxiety he wouldn’t claim to be the perfect human being, but it is his frailties that makes him all the more loveable as a person.
Change happens, and you’ve got to be brave and jump into the unpredictable. That’s why I read autobiographies because I know that for me to be brave I’ve got to see how others have been brave. Frost demonstrates wholeheartedly what bravery looks like.