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Full of Myself [Hardcover]

Johnny Dawes
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 21.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2011
Praise for the man and book from Leo Houlding..."Johnny Dawes is the enigmatic front man of an eclectic band of British climbers who in the mid 1980's redefined the standards of difficulty and danger in traditional climbing. Introducing the world to the impossible grades of E8 & E9, and laying the foundations of the modern scene, Johnny's unique style and character have become legend. This long awaited book gives his take on a highly influential period of climbing history and a look inside the mind of a tormented genius. Written with devoted passion and brutal honesty, "Full of Myself" lays bare Johnny's bipolar mix of privilege and pain, wizardry and dysfunction. Master of friction and maestro of momentum on rock and road, orchestrator of contemporary climbing techniques such as the dead-point and dyno, the living embodiment of poetry in motion turns his hand to the pen with great effect." Ed Douglas adds..."Johnny Dawes is a legend in British climbing. In 1986, he was responsible for the most inspired new route in a generation, when he climbed Indian Face on Clogwyn d'ur Arddu in Snowdonia. Difficult and tenuous, a fall from its hardest move would most likely be fatal. But Dawes is much more than a risk-taker. His rich imagination has left a legacy of outstanding new routes all over the country, not least on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire where his bold and fluid style reached its fullest expression. He's an artist really, a choreographer with a warrior spirit." And from Simon Beaufoy (Academy Award winning screenwriter of "The Full Monty" and "Slumdog Millionaire")..."Each generation produces a handful of visionaries, people who can see beyond the possible. Whether he likes it or not, Johnny is climbing's visionary. There are accounts of terrifying first-ascents on crumbling sea cliffs and even more terrifying accounts of van-driving around Wales. At the heart of the book is a man traversing on crystals towards some kind of understanding of who he is, a man less earth-bound than us climbing mortals, but who cannot, quite, fly. Much like his climbing, his imagination leaps - this is a beautiful book about an extraordinary person. William Blake with sticky boots."

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Johnny Dawes Books; 1st edition (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957030800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957030800
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"It's brilliant - frank, funny, telling his full life story and not just the climbing. And the climbing accounts are riveting as well. A great read from cover to cover." (Sir Chris Bonington) "An insight into the mind of one of the greatest and most daring rock climbers of the 20th century - sometimes very funny, sometimes very scary." (Joe Brown, MBE) "I don't climb, I ride bikes, but this book got me by the balls!!!" (Steve Peat, World Downhill Mountainbike Champion.) "Johnny always seemed some kind of freak from the very first picture of him I ever saw. I could see positive freakiness that made him go out of the ordinary, to climb with ease things that must be admired and that should inspire many to come." (Adam Ondra) "Like a Terry Pratchett novel it gives an insight into the many dimensions of Johnny's life which left me in stitches." (James McHaffie) "I've been fortunate to climb with some of the best climbers of the last 30 years, Fawcett, Moon, Moffat, McClure, but only when climbing with Johnny have I been baffled and bemused. To watch him climb in his prime was something special, so special that some dismissed it as an oddity, don't be fooled, the term great is rarely bestowed on anyone in climbing but Johnny is one of the greats." (Zippy)"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Dawes In His Own Write 3 Dec 2011
By Martian
If you've got any interest in British rock climbing (or climbing full stop), then you know -- or should know -- who Johnny Dawes is.

Dawes (The Dawes, the Stone Monkey, the Cosmic Rascal ...) is one of the great climbers of the 20th century. In the 80s, he pushed the grades with routes like Gaia, Indian Face, Braille Trail and the Quarryman that were not only harder than anything anyone else was climbing, they were bolder, stranger, more visionary. While his peers were getting into sport climbing, regimented training and athleticism, Dawes seemed to be imagining new ways of moving on rock, finding ways to stand on nothingness or use dynamism to flow through a series of inadequate holds.

It's no surprise that this is anything but a standard climbing autobiography, and it shouldn't be: instead, it feels like a download direct from Johnny's brain, raw and unfiltered, a glimpse into what it feels like to have the kind of mind that could envision those routes. It skips over what a ghostwriter would have added, the bland and factual over-elaboration of who and what and where, in favour of wonky lyricism and move-by-move descriptions of climbs, the textures and subtleties of holds and moves recalled in microscopic and impassioned detail. More than any other book I've read, it communicates the way in which climbing can transcend "sport" to become a deep engagement of the heart and the world.

Oh, and there's a very important existential encounter with a bee.

Baffling, brilliant, heart-breaking, slyly hilarious when you least expect it; it will make you believe that if you could understand all of it, you could climb a good five grades harder. Essential reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Expectations 30 Dec 2011
Johnny Dawes commenced climbing as a schoolboy on various structures in addition to rock, and in the 1980s he transformed climbing techniques with introduction of the dyno using momentum to convert unusable features into holds, and he raised standards to E8 and E9. Revolutionary performances on gritstone and in North Wales culminated at age 22 years in his mesmerizing ascent of Indian Face on Cloggy. Together with accounts of climbs and the climbing scene on grit, Welsh slate, Gogarth, Strone Ulladale, abroad etc. the outlandish build up to this seismic event, including his obsessional attention to controlled falling, is quirkily told in `Full of Myself'. With honesty and self-deprecation his approach is wacky, humorous and original, but behind this imaginative, multi-dimensional rock-climbing genius is a deep thinker whose choice of subjects is an eclectic mixture stirred by a style of writing embracing both move by move portrayals and throwaway quips. In addition to climbing stories there is brief mention of his filming activities which endorse him as having an artistic inclination, and this is readily appreciated via his self-published book with its neat binding, attractive endpapers and dust wrapper as well as delightful illustrations and stunning photographs. Though somewhat disjointed there are also tales of political stunts, American escapades, motor racing, personal considerations etc.

Like a Dickens `Great Expectations' character described as "different and extraordinary" the idiosyncratic `Full of Myself' confirms Johnny Dawes as unique and incredible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just what you'd hope for from the Stone Monkey 17 Jan 2012
I knew it'd be weird. It was. Avantgarde in its style it conveys convincingly a sense of the uniqueness of Dawes wild talent, and panders to those (like me) who view the rise of monochrome sportclimbing as an aberration.
Good pictures of rare routes too.
After George Smith's suspiciously apologetic preface, the first chapter almost overwhelms you with strange, but stick with it. You'll like it.
Better than Moffat's one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt, open AUTOBIOGRAPHY 6 Mar 2014
By Jim T
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book from cover to cover. As a climber, having read many 'climbing' books, it's refreshing change to read a full and open expose of a very talented, unique man who many climbers desrvedly call a hero. Obviously the outstanding feats, pioneering first ascents, accounts of death defying occurences form a huge part of the narrative, but for me the life, history and events leading up to those during the golden age are the real beauty in the book. It's very easy to pint the 'overprivileged' finger at a person who grew up in a wealthy environment and what was in some ways a wonderful period of growing up through childhood, yet here we see the reality of public school for a sensitive, 'different' soul spending weeks away from the comforts of home and having the spine to find a release and a challenge, and to continue to forge a path to define his own sense of self without succumbing to the 'norm' of greed and privilege. The world may be a nicer place if some our 'senior figures' in politics et al had followed a similar path.
There's some raw emotion laid bare here, humility and humour, and again it's refreshing to see a hero figure climb down from a pedestal built around him and lay it all out. I suspect even now many headpointers and young aspirants stand in awe of Johnny, and the wish to repeat routes and emulate similar feats of first ascensionism may not have the same meaning and drive that we see in the book. Is it really arrogant to admit to being arrogant (and to my mind in climbing there are few with similar bragging rights) yet admit to seeking therapy for one's emotional hurdles in not so many chapters? That's strength of character and conviction to actually do it. Admittedly not everyone would have the luxury of spare time and resources with which to seek it out in LA etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars What a man!
Enlightening book about the climbing demigod. Well written and fascinating. A must read for anyone with an interest in climbing.
Published 2 months ago by Firmin's Whiskers
5.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional and gripping account of life on the edge
An absolutely unique autobiography from a climber who has constantly pushed the limits. Borderline self indulgent as the book kicks off, the writing style settles down and matures... Read more
Published 15 months ago by El Cabra
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of myself Kindle Edition
First of all the kindle version- a bit disappointed that cartoon was un-readable and cannot be zoomed it. I will have to read on a computer with a big scree. Read more
Published 19 months ago by peteswiftuk
3.0 out of 5 stars A struggle in parts.
There is little point judging this book on the climbing ability and feats of the author - he must in this context be judged as an author, and this book as just that. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JB-One
5.0 out of 5 stars daredevil poet genius
I met Johnny Dawes just after he had climbed the legendary Indian Face on Snowdon.
He did a boulder problem in training shoes I had struggled on in rubber climbing... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, candid, but a bit patchy
I started climbing in the 80s when Dawes was at the height of his powers, so he was and is a huge hero for me. I must have watched Stone Monkey a hundred times. Read more
Published on 10 July 2012 by concerned
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfect title
A very disappointing read. The book is written in a very disjointed way with a need on occasions to go back to ealier chapters to find who or what events is being referred to. Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2012 by Colin Winship
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Myself
If you've climbed (or tried to climb) any of his routes, you wouldn't expect Johnny's autobiography to be easy; you'd expect it to be hard. Read more
Published on 7 April 2012 by Chris H
1.0 out of 5 stars Mumbo jumbo
I was very disappointed with this book as I've bought it early on, so I've had to endure the high cost and instantly found out the crappy writing style, I should have waited a... Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by Dave Bulley
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing and impossible to follow.
Ignore the hype and the lengthy reviews which look like they have been written by the publisher, I didn't even finish this book. Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by P. Williams
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