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Alone [Reading] ➽ Alone Author Bill Jones – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year awardOne winter's night in 1976 millions of people all over the world watched John Curry skate to Olympic glory on an ice rink in Austria Overn Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year awardOne winter's night in millions of people all over the world watched John Curry skate to Olympic glory on an ice rink in Austria Overnight he became one of the most famous men on the planet and changed ice skating from marginal sport to high artAnd yet the man was – and would always remain – an absolute mystery to a world that was dazzled by his gift Surely men's skating was supposed to be Cossack muscular not sensual and ambiguous like thisCurry himself was an often tortured man of labyrinthine complexity For the first time Alone untangles the extraordinary web of his toxic troubled brilliant – and short – life It is a story of childhood nightmares furious ambition sporting genius lifelong rivalries homophobia Cold War politics financial ruin and deep personal tragedy Alone reveals the restless impatient often dark soul of a man whose words could lacerate whose skating invariably moved audiences to tears and who – after succumbing to AIDS as so many of his fellow artists and friends did – died of a heart attack aged just .

10 thoughts on “Alone

  1. Victoria Sigsworth Victoria Sigsworth says:

    I have to say I'm so grateful to Bill Jones for writing this beautiful book I read the reviews on here first before I actually opened it and all the reviewers have it right I have read many articles and several books on John Curry but this one surpasses them all It really is true that it is un putdownable so often I had to wait several days before picking it up again for this reason to be able to read it fullyHaving had ice skating lessons there are so many names that I recognise in it and it's also lovely to read about Richmond Ice Rink sadly no longer there and ueens Both of these places I had lessons atIt was also very interesting to read about him and his company at the Royal Albert Hall I was lucky to see him on that opening night and it brings it all back to me I feel honoured to have managed this and to have seen him for myselfThe book is most certainly truthful and shows all sides of John but it has to be said John had a vision and he pursued it and it showed that Ice skating could be of an art than just a sport He was like Nijinsky in ballet the first in Ice skating to do this and this takes a certain type of personThe book also educates about the devastation of Aids and while Bill tells us in detail it is done very sensitively but I feel this still has to be said now so the awareness is still thereI shed tears as I got to the end knowing already what that end was but while it was sad it was beautifully and gently writtenThank you Bill A fabulous book

  2. Kay Medcalf Kay Medcalf says:

    I was really surprised by this book in a good way Like most people I knew very little about Curry but ALONE reveals him to be one of the most complex fascinating tortured and brilliant figures I have ever read about Much if this story is deeply sad and it's outcome had me in tears However the author renders the material with sympathetic well balanced humanity and has created a real page turner out of his subjects rials and tribulations Definitely to be recommended

  3. Diane in Australia Diane in Australia says:

    5 Stars Exceptional It made a significant impact

  4. Sophie Sophie says:

    I remember watching John Curry skate in the 1976 Olympics and marveling at him There was an other worldly uality to him that was mesmerizing He seemed so reserved so serene that it was impossible to imagine anyone besting him And of course no one did Maybe I should have left that vague memory of his wondrous skating alone rather than reading this book because now I know that the curly hair I remember was a tragic perm and the serene confidence of his performance was the result of EST training Oh the 70s horror More importantly I now know that John Curry was in many ways not a particularly admirable person He tended to use people for as long as they served his purposes and then drop them as soon as that usefulness ended leaving as the author described it a pile of human discards in his wake That most of those people were devoted to him sacrificed for him and still spoke well of him even after he abandoned them speaks to the magic that John Curry apparently exerted on everyone he met or nearly everyone; Toller Cranston the only person in the book less likable than Curry was apparently immune But as unhappy as Curry often made the people who loved him none of them was as tormented as he often was himself His demons led him down some truly dark paths and it is heartbreaking to read about how it permanently affected his skating He never seemed to understand that he was loved or even worthy of love which makes his a heartbreaking story even before illness strikes him As absorbing as the book is I didn't always find it a smooth read The author apparently had to reconstruct events from disparate and not always reliable sources such as Curry's own letters and that sometimes made the narrative seem scattered or even contradictory I did enjoy the gossipy aspects of it though The seventies name dropping was fun Liza Mikhail Andy and the inside details of the skating world were intriguing The author also does a good job of recreating the atmosphere of fear and panic that accompanied the unfolding AIDS epidemic in the 80s All in all this was an involving story that I'm mostly glad I read One thing I am grateful to learn from the author is that most of Curry's amazing performances are available on YouTube Without this book I would never have thought to look for them

  5. Surreysmum Surreysmum says:

    I'm so glad a solid and well researched biography of John Curry has finally appeared I do have Elva Clairmont Oglanby's highly individualistic opus even though it was withdrawn by the publisher at the reuest of the family but it's difficult having always to take a narrative with a hefty spoonful of salt because the relationship between author and subject was so tortured Jones writes from the distance of time and of his journalistic profession One of the advantages of writing in this century instead of the last is that the fact that John Curry had a strenuous leather sex life can be mentioned without censorship or obfuscation though Jones doesn't go into detail And other than about those lovers who were also close friends and contributed sources like letters there is much less gossip about Curry's succession of romanticsexual partners than you'd expect I assume that part of that is due to that pesky habit that some journalists have of asking permission Unlike Oglanby Jones had the co operation of Curry's surviving family his mother Rita and his brother Andrew He makes it fairly clear that John wasn't the only character in that family and he doesn't gloss over the very very difficult relationship that John had with his deceased father Some of the photos are sheer gold Some of the comments from various people Curry alienated badly over the years are downright painful The comments from Toller Cranston were particularly so in light of Cranston's recent passingThe history of Curry's professional ice shows tells of a series of impossibilities that never should have happened if everyone were being sensible Curry himself refused to be sensible and therefore we have that invaluable legacy not only in memory but on tapeI'm very glad to have this on my shelves

  6. Katherine Hasenauer Katherine Hasenauer says:

    I wish I had not waited two years to read this book Easily one of the best figure skating books and sport biographies I have ever read and I was a figure skating book collector back in the 1990s This author did so much research so many interviews and tried to describe the psyche of an athlete and artist who did not share much with many After reading this you really shake your head at the coverage of the last Olympic Games knowledge and respect of Curry could have leant itself well to coverage of Rippon and Radford as out OlympiansAlso if you grew up thinking Curry's MSG performances were pivotal usually thanks to having read A Very Young Skater as a kid you might be surprised to see them given so little attention here I don't know if that's because the author didn't find them important or because they actually weren't important in the large scheme of things I'm eager to delve into those performances to see which it is

  7. Alexandra Alexandra says:

    I began watching skating and skating myself as a preteen around 1984 Curry was one of several skaters I didn't come to know of until recently because they had already turned professional by the time I began following competitions and there wasn't much opportunity to see them otherwise Enter the YouTube eraCurry certainly had an impact on the sport even though in my opinion he was not as remarkable as Toller Cranston Even though I didn't know anything about him this book was SO well written and knowing the era and the other skaters referenced that I was completely absorbedBut my gosh what an awful person he was Sure a lot of it can be explained by external factors which were tragic Got to say I also really appreciated the look at the world AIDS victims had to navigate in the mid 80s to mid 90s I'm old enough to remember it but too young to have known anyone who was affected by it

  8. Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen says:

    When John Curry skated towards a gold medal for the UK in figure skating at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics he had transformed male figure skating into a new art form and within hours of his win he has become one of the first sports figures to come out as gay Bill Jones' well researched biography succeeds through extensive interviews with Curry's family friends lovers and colleagues as well as Curry's own freuently scathing but piercing archive of letters to craft a portrait of someone who as well as creating beautiful art and inspiring devotion in all who came into contact with him could be utterly ruthless demanding and careless with his own wellbeing and the emotions of others Curry packed a lot into his tragically short life and this is a fascinating look at a true sporting innovater

  9. Patty Patty says:

    Figure skating nerds will enjoy this gossipy but well researched biography of British ground breaking skater John Curry A rival to Canada's Toller Cranston who is uoted extensively Curry did achieve his goal of bringing ice dance theatre to London's and the world's prestigious stages But along the way he enchanted and alienated fellow athletes performers and benefactors dying from AIDS at just 44 The back stage tales of slushy ice lack of control on sky rocketing costs and the clashing personalities of strong willed artistsathletes show the less glamourous side of ice shows And throughout it all looms the enigmatic Curry bursting with talent and work ethic but unable to truly share himself with anyone

  10. Liz Filleul Liz Filleul says:

    45 starsExcellent biography of the brilliant but complex British skater John Curry It's a bit of an eye opener Curry may have been a genius skater but he was not a nice person He used those who could help his career and verbally abused those who couldn't meet his high standards But it's a fascinating insight not only into Curry but also into the world of figure skating in the 1970s And ultimately it's a terribly sad book as it describes Curry's final years when he and too many of his friends died from AIDS Anyone who likes skating whether or not they remember Curry will enjoy this book

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