As partner and manager of Erasure front man, Andy Bell, Paul Hickey was living life too fast and in the wrong lane when he was struck down in a luxurious LA hotel suite by a crippling series of strokes that left him irreparably brain damaged. It was the start of a long, painful and exciting personal journal.
Awakening from a coma to discover he was unable to move, swallow or communicate, he was suddenly forced to take stock of his life of sex, drugs and rock and roll and to rebuild it from scratch. The only way he could communicate in the early stages of his recovery was by writing, and this is his story.
In this life-affirming true story, with echoes of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby and The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp, Paul gives a heartrending account of how it feels to be struck down in the prime of life. From the prison of his hospital bed he looks back on how it felt to grow up poor in California, coming to terms with being gay, becoming a heavy drug user, arriving in London and falling in love with Andy. As he looks back he realises his life has been blessed and that he has been recklessly gambling with it. He also realises he has been given a final chance to put things right.
The book gives powerful insights into how his and Andy’s lives together changed with the phenomenal success of Erasure in the late eighties and early nineties, with all the money, drugs and fast living that followed. In telling how their love story survived the pressures of fame, he realises just how powerful the bond between them is. As he struggles to return to a normal life, Paul is able to appreciate the extraordinary depth of Andy’s love and support.
He paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to suffer a stroke and to suddenly find that everything in your life has changed forever; that even the simplest tasks like swallowing and speaking are suddenly beyond your control. In the telling of the story he provides hope and inspiration for anyone who has ever suffered such a problem, or knows someone who has. He shows how, with tenacity, courage and love, you can overcome almost any adversity and end up a better and stronger person for the experience.
In the end it is a love story, and an uplifting and inspiring lesson in how seemingly impossible obstacles can still be overcome if you have enough determination – it is a gay Sid & Nancy, but with a happy ending.