With Summer here, a tired body that needs rest, and family and beaches to visit, I was very happy when Santa brought me a spanking new copy of Johnny Dawes’ recently released autobiography ‘Full Of Myself’.
After reading the first few pages, I was totally lost, but pushed on and eventually it made some sense. It was a tactic I used often. Johnny’s fairly eccentric, so sometimes his ramblings are hard to follow and don’t make a lot of sense to me, but I found that by reading on and letting the words wash over me gave me sense of him, even if I didn’t understand what he was on about.
It’s the classic ‘rags to riches’ story in reverse. Johnny goes from being born with a silver spoon in his mouth to working in a fruit and veg store by the end. Along the way his famous routes and his unique perspective on climbing make really interesting reading. Johnny is an ardent traditional climber and, as expected, has a few swipes a sport climbing being only about strength and fitness but he shows great respect for the great sport climbers of his generation (although a somewhat begrudging respect for Ben and Jerry, his main British rivals). Johnny entered one climbing comp with pretty ordinary consequences, his father’s one line response to watching this is a classic, but given his movement skills, his flexibility and mantling ability, I think he would have excelled if the current boulder comp style was around at the time.
But the best thing is that unlike most other climbing and sporting biographies, Johnny loves climbing, and is as keen to climb, as much at the end of the book as at the start. He talks with such passion about his current projects and secret crags, about visiting Buoux in recent years and catching up with Jibe Tribout and Antione LeMenestral and about his personal transformation over recent years.
In my opinion, it’s a must-read. Get a copy!