Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
The insatiable desire to learn, experiment and not stand still, that is the first thought that might run through the mind when reading Bruce Dickinson’s What Does This Button Do? Yet despite all the glory, the incredible dexterity in which he has juggled the almost impossible, lead singer and unmistakeable voice of Iron Maiden, half a dozen solo albums, writer, maker of film, swashbuckling blade for Great Britain, airline pilot and for all we know would make a finer example of Prime Minister than many of the incumbents to hold office. What comes across is the realisation that at times this is a man who has actually lived; he has not taken a single day for granted and that in itself is more powerful, more genuine, than many autobiographies that seek to address a perspective of a life in the limelight.
For many millions of fans there is no other, he is not the Messiah that elevated status is for others to grasp hold of as their place in history is tenuously spoken of. Instead what the reader is presented with is just the image of a person who has strived hard to be the person he is. Crossing swords with serious illness, danger in the skies, the long and perhaps longer exhausting road, these are just tales that make up a life, they go hand in hand with many other stories. The fan doesn’t always to hear those, they are more for the voyeur, the ones that sneak a often intrusive peek behind the story, those who want the sensationalism to either gratify their obtuse personal agenda or to titillate their own dead souls with.
What Does This Button Do? is not a warts and all tale, there is nothing in the book that would cause offence or ridicule, embarrass or seek to destroy, and that is the point, you don’t need to do such a thing in which to captivate a reader, the life lived itself is often enough. You get the frustration of the young boy, you see the integral machine in the man; you see the agility of mind to see that the button can open up a multitude of possibilities and passions. It is perhaps to every young enquiring mind that the book should be presented, let alone the fan who took the lead singer of Iron Maiden to their hearts, for in the young the mind is not moulded by preconceptions and reasons why something cannot be done; it is just another button to press.
Entertaining, honest without going down the road of excess and flippant commentary, What Does This Button Do? is very much an image of Bruce Dickinson himself, theatre personified but elegantly thoughtful and pro-active; a man who was born for the stage but also who could have been as easily at home doing anything he put his mind too. Not a word wasted throughout and one that would, and should make any reader wish to reach for their own personal sky.
Ian D. Hall