I’ve been reading a lot lately. As a slow reader, my TBR list is just an impossible mountain I’ll never ever be able to scale. Adding three books for every one I read has never helped my cause one bit. And every once in a while a book not only sneaks into the pile by serendipitous accident, but gets moved directly to the front of the line once it appears.
Recently, while doing a bit of research for a CURE heavy novel I was contemplating writing (a multi-generational love story that switches from past to present with a soft Cure background soundtrack throughout), I discovered that I had missed the fact that Lol Tolhurst (founding Cure member) wrote a memoir that included the time spent with the band.
I was SO glad to come across it–it was like finding the perfect gift for myself. It turns out it is one of my favourite memoirs I’ve ever read. It’s sharply honest, poignant and self-effacing. It takes the reader on a journey from the excitement of starting the band up in the late 70s to the painful separation Tolhurst experienced when eventually leaving the band. It’s a brutally honest memoir where the autobiographer is unafraid of skewering himself and taking blame and responsibility for his actions during an exciting, yet tumultuous and overwhelming time in his life.
If you’re a Cure fan in passing, or a lifelong one like myself…you owe it to yourself to pick up this memoir. Tolhurst tells a raw and honest story that is at times painful to read and at other times remarkably joyful…much like the music of The Cure itself, which he helped to give birth to.
To be honest, this memoir has an underlying song coursing throughout it like a freight train…a song that makes the book’s subtitle so fitting: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys. This book is as much of a love song to boyhood friendship that endures as it is a tale of self-redemption and self-perseverance.
In the following touching passage, Tolhurst begins by saying The Cure began in 1972 when the boys first jammed together. But he then goes on to tell the reader how it really began on a rainy day way back in 1964:
“…But in my mind The Cure began much earlier than that, on a gloomy rainy day in 1964 with the mists swirling all around. It began the moment the school bus pulled up to the stop at the top of Hevers Avenue and the doors swung open with a hiss. Neither Robert nor I wanted to get on that bus. We didn’t want to leave our mums and go to a strange school in another town where we wouldn’t know a soul. I probably would have started crying if Robert hadn’t been there. I can hear my mother’s voice even now, gently urging me along. “Hold Robert’s hand now and look after each other.”
Robert took me by the hand and led me onto the bus. It was the first of many journeys together. If only in my imagination , we are still those boys.”
I think that passage is a wonderful and fitting example of the lyrical writing that fills this touching memoir. Through all the ups–and the many downs– that Tolhurst experienced through the decades that took him from that 1964 hand-holding moment to the present, the reader is gifted with a hard-hitting often lush and lovely retelling of life with and without one of the most beloved groups of our time.
I have loved The Cure since the moment I first heard their music sometime around 1979-1980. I no longer know when they came into my life, but I know it was close to their beginning. They entered when I needed them the most, and they have been a constant companion throughout. Their music has never ceased to lift me when I was down and comfort me when I didn’t want or need to be lifted. They have brought me endless joy. It’s not often one feels as though music itself has played a part in saving their life…but I feel this way about The Cure‘s music.
It was a magical experience to get this personal and poignant glimpse into the life behind the music. Tolhurst has written a beautiful memoir that is as much an homage to his good friend Robert and the incredible thing they created together, as it is an homage to his own strength, perseverance and redemption arc. He has poured himself into this retelling of an enchanted if at times rocky life.
This book is a must read.
Click the book cover above to visit Amazon