UKC

REVIEW: Johnny Dawes - Full of Myself

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 UKC Gear 04 Nov 2011
Johnny Dawes book review montage image, 5 kbEd Douglas takes a look at the long awaited and much anticipated autobiography by Johnny Dawes.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4205
 Jonny2vests 04 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

Well, after that, you can't really accuse Ed Douglas of being biased.
 Coel Hellier 04 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

> "... but unforgivably nothing on the aftermath of this life-changing event. It made him famous,
> gave him what he thought he wanted, but none of this is explored at all. What's it like to
> achieve your life's dream at 22? What's it like when the money runs out?"

Hmm, not so sure this is fair. To me, the rest of the book did give an exploration of those things.

> "... and there are some unforgivable spelling errors, ..."

Ok, better point, it could have been gone over by an editor (the repeated use of "I" where "me" is correct did grate a bit). Though overall it is very well written, of course in an idiosyncratic style, but all the better and more notable for that.
 Jonny2vests 04 Nov 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to UKC Gear)
>
> Though overall it is very well written, of course in an idiosyncratic style, but all the better and more notable for that.

Yeah, nice to get it first hand, unlike recent efforts by others.
 sheavi07 04 Nov 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:
"Though overall it is very well written, of course in an idiosyncratic style, but all the better and more notable for that."
Agreed nearly finished the book now and it's a joy. Well done Johnny.
I'm about half-way through. Suitably quirky!
 James Oswald 06 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:
I look forward to reading it. Is Cemetery road church still derelict, I could be tempted with a trip?
James
 Jonny2vests 06 Nov 2011
In reply to James Oswald:
> (In reply to UKC Gear)
> I look forward to reading it. Is Cemetery road church still derelict, I could be tempted with a trip?
> James

Its a Baptist Church I think.
 Timmd 07 Nov 2011
In reply to James Oswald:
> (In reply to UKC Gear)
> I look forward to reading it. Is Cemetery road church still derelict, I could be tempted with a trip?
> James

Yes it is, it's in quite a bad state.
 deepsoup 07 Nov 2011
In reply to jonny2vests:
> Its a Baptist Church I think.

Anglican chapel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheffield_General_Cemetery
 Jonny2vests 07 Nov 2011
In reply to deepsoup:

Ahh, the old chapel actually in the Cemetery, that sounds more likely. In which case, yes, it is still disused. The photo says 'On Cemetery Road', which fooled me.
 t_stork 14 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC Gear: He is coming to talk in Aberdeen for those of us stuck north of the border!
http://teclimbing.blogspot.com/2011/11/johnny-dawes-comes-to-te.html
 Chris the Tall 16 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC Gear: I'm currently reading the book, admittedly a bit slowly, generally a couple of chapters a night.

Last night I read just one chapter, one page in fact.

The chapter was entitled "A real buzz"

It is one of the most beautiful pieces of prose I have ever read, so thoroughly uplifting that I just put the book down and went to sleep.

And it wasn't even about climbing !
 Yanis Nayu 16 Nov 2011
In reply to Chris the Tall: I'm currently reading it. I'm sure HE knows what he means...
 Poolie 09 Dec 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:
Great reviews in Climb and Climber magazines as well.
 deepsoup 09 Dec 2011
 Goucho 09 Dec 2011
In reply to deepsoup: Well, I finally finished it about half an hour ago, and unfortunately, If I'm honest, I'm really non the wiser.

This is the trouble with this kind of 'creative' writing style. It leaves me wondering whether the obtuse style is a reflection of a complex mind, or someone deliberately being obtuse in order to maintain the mysticism which surrounds them.

Dawes is unquestionably one of the most brilliant and important figures in the history of British climbing, but like Redhead and 'One for the Crow, I feel the style of writing actually detracts the reader from getting the full picture.

Some people can be both highly creative and original in their writing style, whilst being very accessible. Unfortunately, Dawes, like Redhead before him, is no Ed Drummond!
 Mike Nolan 09 Dec 2011
In reply to Goucho: We may disagree about dry tooling, but I'm with you 100% on this!:-P

I got bored at some point in the book, I can't even remember where. It's under my bed now. I'll pick it up at some point, but the style of writing wasn't for me I'm afraid. It's a shame really because it could have been an unbelievably good book.
 Ramblin dave 09 Dec 2011
In reply to Mike Nolan:

Weird, I didn't think there was anything particularly unusual about the style. I mean, it's fairly informal and loosely written, but it's hardly William Burroughs...

I'm about halfway through and quite liking it - there isn't as much insight into what makes him tick as there might be in a biog by someone else (like The Villain, say) but there's some interesting stuff, and he's also really good at describing individual moves and stuff so you get an idea of what the feel of the climbing is actually like rather than the generic sort of "I pulled up the overhanging headwall on tiny holds" sort of thing you get in a lot of climbing writing.
 Mike Nolan 09 Dec 2011
In reply to Ramblin dave: I can't describe what I don't enjoy about it, I've not looked at it for a few weeks. For example though, the last climbing related book I read was Psycho Vertical by Andy K, and I couldn't put that down, I pretty much read it in 3 days, but Johnny's book didn't hold my interest at all.
In reply to Goucho: Couldn't have put it better than that.
 Yanis Nayu 09 Dec 2011
In reply to UKC Gear: I've just finished reading it and, like others, found much of it perplexing and hard going. It's a mix of beautifully-written and novel turns of phrase (like the sort of stuff Fawksey would come out with at his best) and, for me, utterly unfathomable paragraphs that I didn't really understand even after re-reading. You can't have it all though.

What I would say though is that I did eventually find myself being endeared to him as a person, especially the section where he describes helping the kid with Downs Syndrome climb the boulder at Compton Verney.

I might read it again sometime. You do get a bit "dialled-in" to his style of language.

I'm glad I read it.
In reply to Submit to Gravity:

Yes, it's a wonderfully frank book about himself ... and very beautiful in parts ...
 Steve Clegg 09 Dec 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
I bought Full of Myself when it came out and read it from cover to cover without "dipping in". I then read it again, cover to cover. Interesting and engaging throughout and at times gripping. Always making you think. I'll read it again.
Since then I've read two others, one by a man with a 'tache from Embsay and the other by a occasional motorcyclist. Both with ghost support. Both written in a Janet and John style. Anybody want to buy them?
I know what I prefer, and it's not for sale.
In reply to Steve Clegg:

Yes, it's an exceptional book, unlike any other climbing autobiography that's ever been written. Highly recommended for the keen climber, but it will be much more difficult for the non-climber.
 Goucho 09 Dec 2011
In reply to Steve Clegg: I think your comment about 'a man with a tache from Embsay' is a bit disingenuous.

I know there's a bit of a 'love-in' regarding Johnny Dawes, that's verging on canonisation, but Big Ron is still one of the most significant people in British climbing history.

And just because he hasn't written (ok, ghost written) a biography that spends much of it's time wedged up it's own nether regions, doesn't warrant that kind of dismissive comment!

Personally, i wish someone like Ed Douglas had written the Dawes biography. it would probably have been both a better book, and a better legacy for Dawes astonishing achievements.

I shall now sit back and wait for the backlash to my act of heresy.
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "... and there are some unforgivable spelling errors, ..."

There was a "could of" at one point - made me wince!
 Steve Clegg 11 Dec 2011
In reply to Goucho:
Bump for Groucho:
"I shall now sit back and wait for the backlash to my act of heresy."
Tick, tock, tick, tock ....
Eerrr, what would Delia say?
"Where are you? Where are you? Let's be 'aving you. Come on."

Also, I looked up dizeng..., er difengen..., oh, yes, that's it "disinterested"
Methinks you care too much.
Steve Clegg
 Goucho 11 Dec 2011
In reply to Steve Clegg: Does nurse know you've escaped from your room?
 Steve Clegg 11 Dec 2011
In reply to Goucho:
Bitten ...
In reply to Steve Clegg:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)

> I know what I prefer, and it's not for sale

I like that
 Goucho 11 Dec 2011
In reply to Steve Clegg: Not really - just bored waiting for Mrs Goucho to get back from Oz.

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