Pete Townshend (who he?) - Prologue



Martin Bailey mbailey at netsolcq.com
Mon Feb 26 03:07:08 PST 2007


Pete' has started to post his autobiography.  It's random, incoherent and horrifying.

Made me think of these lines from Who Are You:

I spit out like a sewer hole
Yet still receive your kiss
How can I measure up to anyone now
After such a love as this?

-MB



http://www.petetownshend-whohe.blogspot.com/


Pete Townshend (who he?) - Prologue 

Show business. My very first memory. Someone whistled what sounded like a familiar phrase, a kind of clarion call. The call was answered with an echo. Musicians, calling to musicians with an easily whistled refrain. On the beach near a Butlin's Holiday Camp where my father was in a band, just fifteen months after the end of World War 2, I sat in the care of a friend. I looked up and saw two beautiful young people on enormous horses that were breathing mist into the sea air, dancing from foot to foot, throwing sand in comb-like waves. My parents, waving, turning, riding away into the distance. Music. Laughter.

A later memory. I spewed out water and bile as my head was pulled again from the soapy hot water. Someone had a clump of my hair at the back of my head held so tightly that it felt it would tear away. My eyes were stinging and I tried to rub them, but my torturer held my hands together easily behind my back, and plunged my face into the water again. Again and again, whenever I could take in enough air I gasped and cursed, I hate you, I hate you. After a while my defiance ebbed with the last suds spiralling down the plughole. I lay naked in the bottom of the bathtub, weeping, a pathetic six year old moaning for my mother. Suddenly I was taken up in a warm towel and rubbed so briskly I began to panic again, I vomited one last mixture of soapy water and bile over my captor. With that I was hurled back again into the tub as it was filled with cold water.

Later. I parked my car in the Wardour Street underground car park next to the Intrepid Fox pub. I walked past the Marquee Club towards Brewer Street, and looked up at the beautiful big half-moon windows of my old apartment on the top floor at the corner. I felt comfortable in Soho because I had once lived there; I felt comfortable because the Marquee Club was where the Who finally proved themselves at our residency there at the start of our career five years earlier in 1964. This wasn't Soho, this was my home, my manor. And yet as I turned the corner down Old Compton Street towards Frith Street my heart began to pump. I reminded myself, in a familiar mantra, this is futile. To feel fear is pointless. There is nothing to fear. I am a man now. No one can hurt me any more. In thirty minutes time The Who were to play their new rock opera Tommy to the press at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, our first Live performance before the critics. As I crossed Dean Street I imagined I heard a voice shouting 'Judas'. Did I fancy myself to be Bob Dylan? I realized someone was shouting 'Trousers', one of my nicknames used by insiders. I looked towards the voice and saw a small group of men I knew to be a travelling party of fans of the band from the Marquee days, led as ever by a bombastic music journalist, already a little drunk, who I had always regarded as an ally. He would not catch my eye. I did not want them to join me on the last steps of my journey, carrying my guitar, on my way to face an inquisition of sorts. I didn't want them to catch any scent of fear; fear I could not allow myself to feel. One of them spotted me and ran to catch up with me. Breathless, smelling of alcohol, he asked me how I felt. I said I felt all right. He told me not to worry, even if everyone was saying that Tommy was sick, it was controversial, a little controversy never hurt anyone in show business.

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