Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry Hardcover – 31 Jul 2014
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Alone is more than a sports biography. ...it is a timely reminder of the fine boundary between sport and art and the courage it took, and still takes, to be a gay athlete.
- Sunday Times
a terrific read, filled with juicy detail and driven by sympathy for a man who who was feted as a national hero but was extremely hard to like.
- The Times
A moving and explosive biography of an ice skating genius
- Manchester Evening News
- Choice Magazine
A fascinating exploration of a tragic talent. - Attitude
The previously-untold story of the life and tragic early death of John Curry, one of the most famous ice skaters in history.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
so the young Curry took up skating, which his father considered a sport. Curry’s father committed suicide when the future Olympic champion was sixteen, but as Bill Jones’s fascinating biography of Curry, ‘Alone,” makes clear: Curry senior’s unthinking prejudice was the crucial moment in his son’s life. Curry was a skater who wanted to dance, not like so many skaters, an athlete who had learned how to be graceful – and it was his desire to be the Nureyev of the ice that was both his strength and ultimately his undoing.
Figure skating when Curry was growing up was resolutely athletic. In order to give some objective rigour to the judging, the lion’s share of the marks went to the compulsory figures – hieroglyphs carved out in ice that judges would decipher. Curry was never a big jumper like the Eastern bloc skaters, he just wanted to dance using his whole body. His coaches told him to stop waving his arms around ‘ like a girl, it was unmanly.’ As he said later, “ they just wanted to turn me into a jumping robot.” There was an unspoken homophobic agenda at work, the British Skating Association favoured athletic and obviously heterosexual skaters like the British champion Haig Oundijan, Curry’s ‘effeminacy’ was not a desirable image for the sport. Curry’s grace and musicality were not appreciated by the skating establishment, as he put it, “ I felt like I spent the whole year learning a poem only to recite it to deaf people.Read more ›
This book is particularly meaningful to me, because I helped to launch The John Curry Skating Company, and with my partner, David Spungen, spent several years trying desperately to establish it. In the end we lost the battle, but the world had seen skating's brightest star shining in a universe that only he could create. Bill Jones has written a beautifully crafted book, well balanced, candid and moving. He has painted an extraordinary portrait of a highly complex man, while at the same time managing to set his story in the context of a world which was just awakening to the ravages of AIDS. Bravo!
You can feel the tension screwing upwards, tighter and tighter towards the end as it hurtles towards the inevitable fall. Completely gripping.
You've got to have a friend/relative read it too because you'll be so desperate to talk about him afterwards.
Tom Daly? Ian Thorpe? Michael Sam? All have received such glowing press recently for being openly gay world-class athletes, but this guy did it 30 years ago, and with HIV!
A bit of a great British underdog story with John blighted by the classic Shakespearean fatal character flaw.
Can't remember the name but Bill Jones has written another good book about a runner called John Tarrant - worth checking out if you enjoy this.
This book is clearly a well-researched biography which, due to the secretive nature of the subject, relied greatly on piecing together cohesively all the information from detailed interviews with family, friends and skating opponents who knew him - no mean feat. All credit to the author, as the result is a seamless, and seemingly balanced biography which makes for fascinating and fairly compulsive reading. Such a pity that there is so little documented information from the subject himself - but he apparently didn't keep anything, preferring to guard his privacy (his prerogative, after all). However his letters to his friends do shed some extra light on his character.
You won't necessarily like the man later in life as his hard demands on his company of skaters, and apparent avoidance of facing up to business realities, get him into all sorts of trouble, but there is a picture of someone single-minded and driven, who is always striving for perfection in himself and others. You only have to look at the You-tube videos from those days to see the results (and you should). I can only think that he must have had considerable charm to sustain the loyalty of most of his friends and associates throughout his life. There are also tantalising glimpses of his sexual liaisons to fill out that essential side of his character.
All in all, a fascinating read about a troubled, and at times difficult, man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Vicky S
A really intelligent biography which captures both John Curry's artistic genius as a skater and his troubled personal life. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Y. C. Mooney
The honesty (eventually) and courage of the man can only be admired and for all his apparent faults the loyalty of all of his friends speaks volumes.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am not sure what I was expecting from this book. I only knew about it as a result of hearing Nicky Slater talking about it on Eurosport during the European figure skating... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A wonderful and absorbing insight to a complex and talented man.Published 9 months ago by Mr. A. Taylor
Well written and demonstrates Curry's tortured personality and his highs and many lowsPublished 10 months ago by Roger Davis
I was only 10 when John Curry took over the world of skating. Sometimes when you are young the reality is tarnished by youth. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jambro