❉ Musician Lol Tolhurst’s memoir charts the creation of The Cure, and his descent into alcohol and substance abuse.
We were in a special situation: Yes, we were bored teens in the suburbs but we were also close enough to London to feel the pulse of punk rock rebellion.
The title really should be renamed Adrian Mole, the alcohol and drug years. This is a memoir of Lol Tolhurst, the ex-drummer and then keyboardist for the cult hit band The Cure.
The book is an easy read, but don’t expect much in the way of exposé, gossip or hidden unknown gems about The Cure. The real tone of this memoir feels as though it’s one of the final steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous process; it feels that the book is an apology to those Lol has upset with his drunken behaviour and exploits over the years.
The Cure was a band that engaged in the feelings, thoughts and zeitgeist of young adults of disenfranchised Britain in the late 70s and 80s, the lyrics, the style, emerging from the swift and brief punctuation of the punk movement. They built a following through relentless touring in the early years, and their message engaged with their fans, with the poetic resonance of The Cure lyrics they went from cult band to part of the mainstream music establishment.
Robert Smith and Lol Tulhurst were childhood friends who were music fan boys and who decided to have a crack at being a band, and they did, in a way that was unexpected and unplanned. The success opened a gateway that fuelled Lol’s demons and created a drunken destructive force. Lol’s descent in alcohol and substance abuse was so strong the childhood friendship fractured and he was ultimately booted out of the band.
From the tone and manner this memoir reads, the talent of The Cure is well and truly with the lead singer and figure head, Robert Smith.
Those who know The Cure history, will know Lol Tolhurst tried to sue The Cure, and lost. I expected more from this book, as a huge Cure fan I wanted more information about the band, the dynamics and creative motivations, what I got was totally different.
At first I was disappointed with this memoir, the book cashes in on The Cure links but doesn’t deliver. The main reason is that the person writing it was pretty much out of it for the bulk of The Cure years, although there were snippets of stories from the bands timeline, there is barely enough for a Sunday supplement article, let alone a full book.
What the book does deliver on is childhood in suburban 1970s Britain, when it was in the most bleak and dark times. This is where music and counter culture inspired a generation to pick up a musical instrument, write some lyrics and explore creativity. This intense magical period is captured well, also a childhood of dealing with parents recovering from the ripples left from the previous traumas of the last world war.
You can tell the book is written by someone who’s been through therapy and addiction, it does become preachy in parts. ‘Cured, The Tale Of Two Imaginary Boys’ does take you through a meandering path of domestic drudgery, family dramas and the decent into addiction and alcoholism. Fortunately Lol did get on a path to redemption, after hitting rock bottom and a symbolic trip set him on a path to making amends.
❉ ‘Cured, The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys’ by Lol Tolhurst was published by Quercus Books on 22 September 2016, RRP £20.00.