Book Review: Mark Holden’s My Idol Years is a rollicking read about popstars, idols & barristers

The majority of us know Mark Holden thanks to reality television. He was the touchdown-loving judge of Australian Idol and he made a number of infamous performances on Dancing With The Stars. But there are many feathers to Messer Holden’s cap and his memoir, My Idol Years touches on all of this and more, including the pop star, law, popular TV and everything in between.

The main arc of this book is the year 2007. Mark Holden had a premonition that this was going to be his last year on Australian Idol, even though the show had been a resounding success to that point. He decided to keep a diary to chronicle the year and – for better or worse – this is what forms the story.

This book shares a few things in common with Molly Meldrum’s recent memoirs in that there are some good yarns or anecdotes on offer. In Holden’s case he talks about different episodes like being the Carnation Kid and seventies pop stardom to the tragic day he tried to make a bad joke about Elton John and this wasn’t appreciated by the bespectacled legend.

Over the years Holden would go on to write pop songs in LA and work with the likes of David Hasselhoff, Vanessa Amorosi and Delta Goodrem, to name a few. The name-dropping here is not as fun or funny as Molly’s book because you get the sense that the man in the hat was better connected than Holden and that Molly lived a more outrageous and flamboyant life. Mark’s book is also more episodic in nature and this is on account of the diarised nature of the work.

Mark Holden’s book may not be perfect but it does have incredible heart. He describes the cancer that tragically struck his father and sister as well as his own battle with the dreaded c-word. There is also some disarmingly honest talk about addiction, love and family. He talks lovingly about his wife Anna and daughter Katie and you get a sense that the bond in this family is quite a close one.

My Idol Years is ultimately an interesting book for people who may want to know more about the entertainment business and Holden’s perspectives on different things including his spat with Ian “Dicko” Dickson. These days Mark Holden earns a crust as a barrister, which is yet another example of his ability to reinvent and do different things. This book doesn’t hold back in some respects and it is ultimately a rollicking little read from a man that proves he is much more than a one trick pony.

Mark Holden’s My Idol Years is now available through Transit Lounge.