What Am I Doing Here?

Martin Bailey mbailey at netsolcq.com
Tue Feb 20 04:57:59 CST 2007

Latest diary entry from Pete's new blog.

Nice mention of Roger's rendition of RGLB.


Monday, February 19, 2007

What Am I Doing Here? 
In 1995 I decided to write an autobiography. By 1996 I had a contract with Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown, negotiated for me by Ed Victor. It was a terrific deal, and I felt safe in the hands of my editor Robert McCrum, who I had commissioned privately. He had been my managing editor (effectively my direct senior) at Faber & Faber when I worked there as a consultant editor for a few years and he edited Horse's Neck (1985) a tight collection of my short stories wrought concisely from a pile of paper several feet tall. During 1997 I began to realize that Michael Pietsch had a different vision to me on the project, and I decided to pay back my advance and finish the book before I made another deal. Ed Victor started an editorial association with the editor Philippa Harrison - who by coincidence had helped build Little, Brown - and asked her to edit my chapters as they came along. She did so until the summer of 2003 when I shifted my attention to completing the novella of The Boy Who Heard Music. I returned to my autobiography for three months at the beginning of 2005, and would have continued had it not been for the interruption of a trip to New York with Roger Daltrey to do a concert for the electronics company Samsung, to benefit Four Seasons of Hope a charity they support.

On that trip Roger sat on stage in an old Manhattan bank converted into a banqueting hall, and I watched as he sang the last song I had written for the Who, Real Good Looking Boy. He sang it solo, accompanying himself on the guitar, eyes closed, not only bringing my song to life in his time-honoured manner, but making it completely his own. It was at that moment I knew the Who - the two of us - could make another decent album. I spent the next eight months or so dedicated to writing the songs for our subsequent CD Endless Wire.

In September of 2005, as part of a process of liberating myself from the weight of delivering The Boy Who Heard Music as a play, a film or even a ballet, I published it as a serial using a Blog. The serialization ran weekly until February 25 2006, and I found the whole process invigorating and inspiring. The input of readers along the way was vital, and I made important changes as I went along.

I am going to do the same thing with my parts of my autobiography. Starting here soon, I begin the serialization of excerpts from Pete Townshend (who he?) my intimate memoirs. This first part covers a period from childhood through to the press launch of Tommy in London in 1968. I will also publish occasional excerpts from chapters of subsequent periods of my life and career up to the present day as and when I feel it appropriate.

The backbone is complete, all the research is in place. And yet, because my creative and professional life is still so active, I feel I will never catch up with the present unless I retire simply to write. To retire, simply to write, when I am already a writer, presents a contradiction. So rather than endlessly write, I am going to publish. 
posted by Pete Townshend at 5:09 PM <http://petetownshend-whohe.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-am-i-doing-here.html>  <http://www2.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=36489831&postID=458139555453802341>

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