Ben Winch's Reviews > Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Cured by Lol Tolhurst
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really liked it
bookshelves: music

Cheesy as it may appear, this book moved me: there’s something elegiac about it, and it’s a poignant love letter to Robert Smith. I don’t think I’ve read such a positive portrayal of a musical collaborator (Robert Forster’s Grant and I comes close). So we have the ostensibly jilted Tolhurst, who suffered from full-blown alcoholism and infamously took his childhood friend to court, offering his memoir as a virtual 12-step style apology. It’s as if he’d siphoned off all the bile early on with that misguided court case; only the sweet stuff remains. From Robert taking him under his wing as a child through their steady unwavering rise as the Cure, a picture emerges of Smith as both an emotional rock and a canny operator, practical with money, affectionate and charming with fans, stubbornly artistic, and physically tough. Best of all for fans, Tolhurst manages just enough insider observations of studio time and the band’s early days to give an impression of the Cure that I doubt has been glimpsed before. Not that it’s heavy on facts, but you can find facts elsewhere. As a young fan I read the first serious Cure biography, Ten Imaginary Years, and never gained this perspective, despite that many details overlap. Later I read the woeful Never Enough, and got the impression that Smith was retreating ever further from his public, and that possibly no biographer would ever get near him. Only after reading Tolhurst’s book did it strike me how adept Smith is at maintaining his enigma, because only Tolhurst has shown a glimpse beyond that facade.

As to literary quality, as these things go, it ain’t bad. Sure it’s kind of slight and tends to purple in places, but in a way I like Tolhurst’s style: it’s wry yet earnest, doesn’t take itself too seriously but doesn’t have to, because the sense of loss it conveys is palpable. I thank you, Lol Tolhurst, for being a true gentleman. This is how a Cure memoir should be! A work of love and deep regret by a man who, almost by accident, lived the dream.
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