New John Curry Biography - 'Alone: the Triumph & Tragedy of John Curry' published.

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by floskate, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,788
    While you can still get the odd very rare copy of Black Ice - Elva Oglanby's 1995 biography of John that was withdrawn shortly after publication after an injunction by the Curry family, this latest book has the support of the Curry's and thus, access to John's letters and effects. Here's a recent article on the book and an amazon link. It was published today (31/07) and I received my copy this morning. I'm saving it for my long flight to Singapore next Wednesday. Anyone else planning to buy the book?

    http://www.amazon.com/Alone-Triumph-Tragedy-John-Curry/dp/1408853434

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2706296/Why-Britain-s-skating-golden-boy-died-lonely-bitter-broke-John-Curry-captivated-world-But-new-biography-reveals-bullying-father-wicked-taunts-sexuality-scarred-life.html
     
  2. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,980
    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Thank you so much for the heads up.

    And may you have a safe and comfortable flight to Singapore.
     
  3. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,649
    I've got it downloaded to Kindle, and it's next on my list.
     
  4. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,908
    I've had it on pre-order for months.
    It won't be published in the US, until January; so I may get it from the UK,
     
  5. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,577
    Thanks so much floskate, for the links and info. I found another article that discusses the biography and a bit about the writer (Bill Jones of Ampleforth):

    http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/113...writes_biography_on_tragic_skater_John_Curry/

    Is there a kindle download available in the U.S. prior to the print publication coming out here in January?


    I'm glad that Curry's story is finally being told by a respected biographer/ documentary filmmaker. I didn't realize that Curry died "lonely, bitter and broke." Perhaps by the full story of his life finally being revealed, there can be some redemption for him in death. IOW, some resolution through greater understanding of the impact/ toll of his suffering viewed against the backdrop of his extraordinary contributions as a master artist/athlete on the ice.

    ETA:

    I wonder who Curry's "wealthy American sponsor" was/ is?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  6. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    17,577
  7. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,649
    From Keith Money's book, in which the text is in Curry's words:

    pp. 28-29

    Mosler offered him financial support, which he really didn't quite believe until it happened. When he had a disastrous competition and dropped from 4th to 7th the following, which at the time was considered a kiss of death, he considered quitting the sport.

    p. 30
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  8. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,174
    Oh yes!
     
  9. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,505
    What kind of treatment did John undergo for his HIV infection, if any? AZT was available in 1987, 7 years before John's death. I was under the impression that early death was not standard, beginning in the late 80's.
    Curry was and is one of my favorite skaters, but I think I probably would rather read BLACK ICE, rather than this latest bio.

    In checking, I find very expensive copies of Black Ice are available through Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ice-Life-Death-Curry/dp/0575059079
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  10. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    17,577
    If I recall correctly, AZT was not widely available and was really expensive. And while I do not know if this was the case for Curry, there were some gay HIV sufferers who were worried about being outed through their medical records, and so they did not want to take any drugs associated (rightly or wrongly) with HIV or AIDS.

    Not sure that "early death was not standard, beginning in the late 80s", though. Dennis Coi (1978 world junior champion) died of AIDS in 1987 when he was 26, and he's not the only person around that age that I remember passing away from HIV/AIDS around that time.
     
  11. NancyG

    NancyG New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Thanks for letting me know about this!
     
  12. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,505
    Of course, azt did not guarantee longevity but it was helpful. Magic Johnson was diagnosed in 1991 and he is, of course, still around. I believe I read somewhere that in the late 80's, a year of treatment with AZT cost around $7,000. My impression is that John sort of gave up, which is understandable in the case of someone who suffers from depression. That picture in the British paper showing the effects of the infection on him was heart wrenching.

    Dennis Coi died in 1987, the year azt was approved for treatment, so, sadly, he was probably too far advanced for even that to help him.
     
  13. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    17,577
    There wasn't much available that could help many AIDS/HIV patients in the long term during the mid-80s/early 90s. Magic Johnson is, sadly, an exception.
     
  14. care bear

    care bear Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Messages:
    645
  15. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,788
    From a little skim reading, this new one does appear to be 'warts and all', but with the family's cooperation. I have a copy of Black Ice which was supposedly based on a series of taped interviews between John and Elva Oglanby which have since been 'lost' and therefore the majority of the book cannot be substantiated. However Bill Jones does stick up for the book to some degree in his acknowledgements and indeed has consulted Oglanby (among many others) for this new book.
     
  16. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,174
    Wasn't all the controversy surrounding Oglanby due to the control over the skaters' earnings that she put into her contracts? Apparently Cranston, Curry, and Cousins (in that order) were enamored of her and then disillusioned when they found out how much control she had over their projects and future earnings. I got the impression she woed them with flattery about what great artists they were, and that they were not very sophisticated when it came to business deals, at least at that point in their lives. At least that was the impression I got from Cranston's books. Cousins doesn't mention her in his bio, but his bio is also less revealing than Cranston's. Given all the AIDS hysteria around the time of John's death I can see why his family wouldn't want his personal life put out for public consumption.
     
  17. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    3,309
    Just musing out loud but why on earth would an author of a skater's biography think they would be entitled to ask for any of the skater's future earnings? I can believe someone trying to take a bigger piece of the pie in relation to the book that will be written, but future earnings/projects? I find that really hard to believe.
     
  18. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,908
    She regarded herself as a sort of "personal manager" to those she wrote about; without evidence to support the claim.
    Both Toller Cranston and John Curry came to regret their association with her, I believe.
     
  19. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,577
    Thanks for everyone's comments, and for pointing out who Curry's benefactor was. I have been wondering whether or not the "lonely, bitter and broke," headline is just a tad bit over-sensationalizing the latter years/ months of Curry's life.

    It does seem from what I have read in the linked articles that Curry was traumatized by his father's treatment of him, and that his father's death freed him to pursue the skating and ballet career path that he craved. However, the fact that he had been taunted and mistreated by his father, and that he lived during an extremely difficult era as a gay person apparently led to him developing some very deep and brutal psychological scars. Contracting AIDS on top of that during a period when there was so much fear and ignorance and denial about the virus was obviously also extremely emotionally (not to mention physically) crippling and isolating for Curry and for many other fine and gifted human beings.

    Based on the described episode from the article, where Curry is visited by friends, it seems that no one (including neither Curry himself nor his mother) were able to fully acknowledge his illness and what was actually happening to him. That's a very sad commentary on the times. And yet, Curry was visited by friends at least, and he died in his mother's house, and it seems that he maintained a sense of himself and exhibited a kind of grace that often comes when death is near. In fact, I believe our spirits remain young and very much whole even trapped inside physically damaged, aged and/ or diseased bodies.

    I believe the diehard community of skating fans and those skating contemporaries who knew him have never forgotten John Curry. And now, with the publication of this book hopefully his life, his artistry, his humanity and his extraordinary talent will be discovered by many more people, and celebrated anew.
     
    Amantide, alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  20. Bonita

    Bonita Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Messages:
    495
    I had a friend who died in the early 90s of AIDs and he took every medication they'd throw at him and he had great health insurance.

    Can't wait to read the book.
     
  21. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,908
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  22. Jaana

    Jaana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,882
  23. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,577
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  24. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,505
    Elva also Worte a bio of Elizabeth Manley, titled Thumbs Up. Wonder if Manley was left with a bad taste in her mouth also.
     
  25. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,505
    Elva also Worte a bio of Elizabeth Manley, titled Thumbs Up. Wonder if Manley was left with a bad taste in her mouth also.

    I never knew curry and Janet Lynn skated together.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCH4ewjlUhA
     
  26. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,649
    Curry also choreographed for Lynn:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrR6nOXaXgA

    It was interesting that he said in the book with photographs by Keith Mooney that he created the "Don Q" program in 20 minutes, and that Fassi changed nothing in it. It was meant to win the OGM and to spoon feed the judges what they wanted: to see the difficulty, to not be challenged. He had until then attempted to rid his programs of the telegraphing he despised, but felt he was not getting credit for technical difficulty, because the seamless programs made the judges think he wasn't doing anything terribly difficult.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  27. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,908
  28. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    17,577
    Manley's second book (As I Am) was co-written with a different author, so possibly she was.
     
  29. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Messages:
    1,616
    I am half-way through Alone... Very well written, honest and fascinating so far. I'll finish it this weekend.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  30. Jubak

    Jubak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,434
    I just watched his wonderful Scherezade. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se19k1ZvLSw Very interesting how much faster he is skating here. I remember Paul Wylie said he worked with John on his artistry. I can definitely see the influence of John Curry in Paul's spiral stretch, hand movements and spread eagles.