Madonna's estranged brother Christopher Ciccone recently released a book about his relationship with his pop superstar sister. You can read an excerpt from the book, "Life With My Sister Madonna," below.
The Lanesborough Hotel, London, England 8:30 A.M., September 25, 1993
The alarm rings in a low-key British way. I get up, peer through a gap in the thick, purple silk drapes, and the sun glimmers back at me. Luckily, the weather's fine. After all, this is the UK, land of rain and fog. The Girlie Show tour, which I designed and directed, opens tonight, and we don't want the crowd getting drenched before the show even begins.
We. The royal we. Madonna and me. My sister and I, she who is still fast asleep in a mahogany four-poster bed in her suite adjoining mine. The royal we, so fitting for a woman who is sometimes a royal pain in my ass. Although Buckingham Palace, the queen of England's residence, is just across the road, in my estimation and that of millions of fans, she is the real queen of the universe—Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, my elder sister by twenty-seven months, who, just eleven years after the release of her first record, is now one of the most famous women in the world.
I eat an orange. No big English breakfast for me, no matter how much I like it. Otherwise, I'll probably throw up when Madonna and I take our scheduled six-mile jog at eleven. Just as we did yesterday, just as we will do tomorrow—and on every other day during the tour.
Schedule, in fact, is my sister's middle name. Up at nine in the morning, in bed by eleven at night, with every hour in between planned by her as rigidly as any military campaign. With her mania for making lists, for running her life according to a timetable, in another incarnation Madonna could easily have run a prison, directed airport traffic, or been a five-star general.
Sadly for her, though, her nights can't be structured or played out according to a strict schedule, because she is an insomniac and rarely sleeps more than t here hours each night.
Madonna's insomnia only became apparent to me when we were living together in downtown Manhattan at the start of her career. Whenever I woke up during the night, she would be in the living room, perched on white futon, which—no matter how many times we washed the floor—was always dirty. She was usually dressed in a white oversize men's T-shirt, baggy, white cowboy-print sweats, sucking Hot Tamales, her favorite cinnamon-flavored candies, and reading poetry—often Anne Sexton whose lines sometimes inspired her lyrics. Or the diaries of Anais Nin, who along with Joan of Arc, is one of her heroines. Anything to get her through those long, hot airless Manhattan nights, nights when her mind didn't switch off, when fantastical candy-colored visions of her future sparkled in her brain. Unbridled desire for fame and fortune, you see, is incompatible with sleep.