THE MANY LIVES OF TARANTINO

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The Independent Culture
I dunno, you wait ages for a Quentin Tarantino biography and then three come along at once ... Scarcely had we got our mitts on the HarperCollins warts 'n' all deconstruction job (see Shelf Life p28) when two other lives flopped on to the desk. From Cassell in November comes Jeff Dawson's authorised biog, Tarantino - Inside Story, rejected titles being Tarantino - Black Tie, White Noise and Tarantino - Pop Culture. Do we detect an element of pretension somewhere? Inevitably, Dawson ends his preface "Let's go to work."

From Piatkus comes Wensley Clarkson's Quentin Tarantino: Shooting from the Hip (pounds 10.99). Mmm, that whiff of pretension is getting overpowering! Divided into three acts (Act I - The Set Up/ Act II - The Confrontation/ Act III - The Resolution), it also features an Epilogue, End Credits and a final Fade to Black. So what's the USP for these jostling titles?

Clarkson was a "struggling scriptwriter" in LA and met his subject in '91. Jeff Dawson ("freelance writer and US editor of Empire magazine") has known the man since '92 and argues that this is the only biog done with his full co-operation. Moreover, Dawson was the only journalist allowed on the set of the recent Destiny Turns on the Radio. Big deal! It stiffed in the West End, with Tarantino himself admitting his performance was mediocre. As all these biographies make clear, Tarantino will gas to just about anybody, authorised or not, and so will his mum Connie. The same quotes, quips and anecdotes are endlessly recycled. Anyway, what do you say about a man who's achieved plenty, but not done much?

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