I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
No reproduction on other media without the photographer's permission.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Andy Pollitt biography, by Stevie Haston.

It's called Punk in the Gym, it's published by Vertebrate Publishing, it's author is Andy Pollitt, and I very much recommend you buy it. In fact if you bought just one book, and your just a rock climber, it would have to be this one, just for the tons of joy de vivre. I absolutely adore this book. 

 the stupendous cover of an anorexic mega rock star who used to floss his teeth with 10mm.

There have been a shed full of biographies lately and in some ways that's where most of them should have stayed, it's only in the stupidly overblown world of climbing that you can have a book about the ascent of not very much, and the life of the fairly boring. This book is full of daring do, because although it's not about alpine climbing, it is about knecky balls to the wall kindda climbing, not sport climbing, and in some cases it's about balls to the loose, shaky holds kinda wall of doom stuff of legends climbing. There is also so much left unsaid in this book, I am sure Vertebrate Press had to use the red pen lots. The true story will never ever be written, and it is with much thanks that we owe Andy Pollitt for being so honest, and remembering so much. Hey, and lets face it, it is a wonder he remembered much of this, he left climbing two decades ago, cold turkey, and lots of beer a go.

 there is much superb photography in this great book,  some of it by Glen Robbins the cover being one of his. But there is much else like this one with the steely Criss Gore in the background. How many faces from the corners of sweet memory come floating back by grace of this wonderful book.

Andy tells the story of how he received Jerry Moffats bio, but what he doesn't say is it gave him a competitive kick up the ass, and hit him like lightning bolt, and shook his memory. Anyway I should have written some pages for this book, sorry Andy I was busy as you know, but I never believed it would be so good. Well done young man, and thank you for all those great routes. 
this is how I remember Andy he was such a noob or nob like we used to say in "dem lost days".

If you had anything to do with the rock climbing scene in the 8Os this is essential reading, if you had anything to do with the North Wales scene it's probably required reading in some schools along the coast there. I remember Andy, and Jerry for that matter as two terribly keen, but fairly inept kids, who some how made good despite being green as spring. The rest is history except for the friendships, the climbing partnerships, and the happenings, much of which went on in North Wales. People like Paul Whilliams a friend of mine, who was like a dad to Andy, pop through the pages, alive, born again, out of death for the space of some lively pages. Andy's sprog moustache, and penchant for looking dumb, very slowly changed into one of the more adventurous of the UKs top performers, leaving a legacy of star spangles routes, and repeats of gnarly head gaming rock that is hard to match. I can see him now sitting in the Padarn Lake hotel drinking beer, and smoking, the smiling, and that's when you knew he had done something really good, or really f...ecking good. There is a terrible page in the book which has a certain macabre interest for some, but one I don't really like where there is a list of dead mates. The seriousness of the rock climbing or climbing scene in the UK is not to be dismissed. I expect many of my friends will have looked at this page, and said, there but for the grace of god go I. I'am very glad that the young noob out grew his tach, and some how had the balls to write this wonderful book. I well remember him and I, bouldering once on the Crochan, and him doing one of my little problems with a small sac on his back and him giving me a nice wicked side long smile.  Thanks Andy, and you lot out there in Na Na land, understand that climbing is sometimes fixed in time, and this time, this span of a book was a very special time.