Because they do talk to me...
I am sharing these because they do talk to me.
This was written by me shortly after my 21st birthday
'To Anyone Who Will Listen To My Music'
"I suspect that my self-expression in musical terms is somewhat intangible, introspective and even, in places esoteric. Perhaps then, before listening to what I have to say, it might help to know some of the reasons behind what has happened.
My music is the expression of my life, my fears, my sweetest dreams and my most traumatic nightmares – my passions.
At the age of 7, I realised that all was not right with me – tactful discouragement from bike-riding, cricket balls in the face and the merciless vindictiveness of children soon pointed out that my eyes were in some way unusual.
At 13, I learned that I had a pathological progressive disorder which was blinding me gradually. Adolescence was punctuated by hospital tests, injections, hopes raised and then dashed to the ground, until at twenty, when I was registered as technically blind, I refused any more such hyperbole. At the time, I had my Cambridge degree to finish – a difficult course which my arrogance has led me to take on without any special aids. There was too much to do, at a reading rate of 1 page per hour to worry about my future. Having obtained an honours degree, I set out to do that which I knew I had to.
Music is the way I channel my inner feelings outward. So it is introspective and yet scaringly extrovert. I am screaming at the whole world, as well as at my own dark shadows. The choice is simple, I either bare my soul, or I let it destroy me. No-one who feels anything can utterly escape what i am putting across.
I was given total love, admiration and devotion as I grew up. I had to have it; I still demand it; I can never totally return it – for my hard inner shell is the only thing which lies between me and surrender to a horrible future.
What I do give is a great deal. My power to attract and my demands lead to the kind of love-affair disasters which seem, perhaps, unlikely in my writing, but which are in fact, inevitable.
I have a lot to do, say, and sing, and I feel a sense of great urgency in achieving it. I'm simply saying that I think I'm marvellous - but I have to – and if you were me, so would you."
Thank you for your time.
"If I seem destroyed like a fallen china bird
Will you cherish what you find in the dirt?
And if I feel afraid in the blindness of my night
Will you teach me how to love and not to fight?"
This was written when I was 30 about my parents who were still alive oddly enough. It still makes me cry to sing it.
'Are you living well somewhere'
Where the sun never strays - beyond the moon
Past the notion of days, I hear a tune
Calling me back, welcoming me home
Calling me back To you, my blue eyed dream
We made you for the night
For you my blue eyed dream
Is it right?
When your mama and I Fulfilled our love
Had you started to cry- was that enough?
Did it give life stirring in her womb?
Did it give life to you my blue eyed child?
We made you without fear
Do you my blue eyed child –
Do you hear?
Are you out among the sideshows?
Does the wind still kiss your hair?
Is it easy when the pain goes?
Are you living – well – somewhere?
It is so hard to use the gift of life
Trying not to confuse live from survive
We gave so much – though we had more to give
We gave so much to you my blue eyed son
Your parents wish you joy
To you my blue eyed son
Are you out among the rainbows
Is your face still soft and fair?
Is it easy when the pain goes?
Are you living – well – somewhere?
This was written when I was 45 a year after my divorce and the death of both my parents.
'Where does all my love go?'
Once you are blind you can't help noticing how it seems that everything which turns people on emotionally is, basically the view.
I love southern Italy the red earth, the terra cotta, that special green of the valleys, the way the earth scrapes its way down to the sea.
What is Italy to me? Bad driving, bad drains all the best food gone abroad, nice people but crap at doing simple things. Language barrier.
Vietnam is the most incredible place the most physically beautiful country in the world the faces of the children are so moving.
Vietnam? Some good food, some horrible. Remote, poor, war torn, passive, rugged, dull.
English countryside is so charming, that special greenness, the sheer history, the hedgerows, those special summer late evening sunsets.
Rural England – bigots, narrow minded, self-righteous subsidised farmers, bad food, bad service, smelly, noisy, good clean air?Crap! Too many people, too much dung and far too many vehicles. No pavements, bad drivers. Dead after ten.
TV; here I am really at odds because no one who can see it has ever articulated to me a meaningful response to what they see.
What I hear is of course alienating. Worse than radio in every department, naturally. Interrupted spasmodic descriptions. Public school boys trying to sound yobby, girls all talking too loudly. Fantastically unsexy demeanour to the last one. But apparently their arses, faces and breasts are wonderful.
VWs; uncomfortable, terrible suspension, always smell of the bottom of a pond because they leak. Noisy and prone to develop myriads of small faults. No gadgets. Ridiculous price.
Ford 'Boring Car'; comfortable, quiet, well finished, fast, smooth styling to feel.
People carriers; like being a deliveryman; null points.
Don't I sound fun?
I have as much capacity to love, to admire, to wallow in, to be turned on by anything as anyone else. If these capacities don't die. Where do they get used up?
And where does all that love go?
It cannot be shared like others can share. No reminiscing over photos. No gasping at the interior of a 12 century Byzantine cathedral as we walk through the door. No swooning and comparing superlatives as we see Michele Pfeifer sachay across the screen with her tits out.
I swill the second hand champagne of your descriptions. If I gush at what I cannot see I will appear fatuous and simpering.
If I seem less excited than you this will bring out pity and disappointment and frustration in you, which may then transfer itself onto me, but it will come from you.
If I seem bored or grouchy it will defeat you because there is no way that you can pass on your visual impressions as emotions which translate to me and we both know it. Perhaps your assumption might be that I am somehow poor in sensuality.
Not so. The part of my brain which used to 'see' didn't die. It's still in use. What has happened is not a blank colourless screen preceding me everywhere I 'look' or go. The part of my brain which used to be taken up interpreting the images cast on the retina is now fully and cinematedly occupied by my imagination. I am not conscious that what I 'see' is imaginary…its real its what I see and it's far too brilliant, too morphic and too surreal to possibly explain adequately to you...so we have the same problem, you and I.
Can I ever put over to a seeing person the beauty and intricacy of my secret gardens?. The powerful aphrodisiac of this world of sensitivity not touch, smelling not smells, listening not hearing, tasting not taste, instinct and imagination, and can I ever adequately put across the way that the outside world ruins it for me at every stage because it assumes that the view will make up for the crap.
So where does my love go? Do I have the same capacity to adore anymore?
Yes. A perfect world, created for me and controlled by me and in which I could behave as I like, touch as I like, speak as I like, would be…perfect. I don't NEED to see anything. Anything at all. My poverty is due entirely to the outside world. A world designed for the sighted. Eliminate all the dangers, the images, the visual idolatry, the traffic system, and the whole pace and layout of life which assumes sight and I have no problems at all.
I designed my own house from the ground up, and in it I operate perfectly and with joy and with a full aesthetic and sensual experience. The rest of the world enters, sometimes grudgingly, on my terms and must play to my drum.
There are no pictures on the walls, there are no 'dark corners', there are no sharp edges. There is perfect spacial harmony and textural wonders at every part. And every caller, within an hour, cannot resist the urge to tell me two things.
'this house is so beautiful'…and for once I can wholeheartedly agree with them.
'I'd love to live here'…once again I can happily endorse that they would indeed.
So Southern Italy with all human alterations supervised by me? Easy…great
Vietnam? I'd never get there on foot or mule so irrelevant.
English heritage? That would be meadows woods and streams…no problem. Full of wonder.
You see…I CAN love, after all. You just can't see it.
Today my house, tomorrow the world!
This was written on or around my 50th birthday. The dream was real.
I had a dream last night such as I have never had before.
I was seated in a fireside chair wearing pale trousers a dark jacket and dark shirt. I was seated facing a mirror about 6 feet away.
I saw my self crystal clear and was able to scrutinise my appearance in great detail. The dream stayed focused and stable throughout - in itself bizarre - and I made a careful study of my hair and hairstyle, face, eyebrows, hands, neck, body posture, clothes etc and even devoted some minutes to trying on various pairs of glasses which appeared to improve the sharpness of image. I plumped for a pair with thin uniform dark frames roughly the shape of a TV screen, quite large on the face, and I thought they suited me quite well.
Interestingly and for the first time I did not 'see myself' as young, as in my visual memory, but as I am. The result was not so surprising or horrible as I would have imagined, and I vowed to nuance my hairstyle and clothing.
Interestingly though sharp the dream was not in black and white not in colour either. It was a never seen before kind of iradescent sepia but more blue black and silvery with hints of an ochre colour never seen on earth before.
This particularly fascinates me because i could easily see that this might exactly be what would\will result from high definition but artificial vision. The brain will be receiving entirely original versions of images, and so will interpret them in a way which reflects the memory of vision - itself obviously imperfect in the passage of time - with a 'new way of seeing'.
This dream has had a very profound effect on me. I repeat it is the FIRST time I have experienced 'clear vision', the first time I have 'seen myself as I really am'.
How has it left me? I don't think I will know all the answers to that just
Yet. So far I am exhilarated by what I see as a profound revelation of myself and I think I shall carry forward a much more relaxed feeling about what I am. Secondly I can now visualise what 'seeing artificially' will be like, and it's definitely well worth having and the brain will be able to cope emotionally as well as practically.
On the other hand it has left me a bit wrung out, and probably rather vulnerable because the reality is different. I cannot see and the dream has renewed the loss and pure bloody monotony of what I have because I can now refresh the comparison with fresh data. Yes i am a poor bloody little sod after all. I don't know how the fuck I do anything without the ease and facility of vision. It's much groovier than I remember.
Realising how much information vision gives us and how important to me you are I realise that you know much more about me than i about you. Every day we are together you gather body language, eye movement and all the written and visual information you are empowered to gather about every aspect of my very private [not so private] life.
I realise that you can guard for yourself anything or everything you may with, and where I perceive you use this it makes me jealous and covetous and concerned as to what you are choosing to hide.
I am personally very happy that you have such an intimate knowledge of my life and times, and I know I would strive to keep this open channel even if my sight were restored. I am thinking about how much I don't know about you
And your life and your look and your body language and your secrets. I should like to very much.
Please help me and help us by helping to open these channels from you to me, and especially not to leave unanswered questions and especially the ones you know in your heart that I should know and need to know in order to understand, be a good and true friend, and judge US on even terms. The stuff you know about me and the stuff you think if you were me you ought to know about you is the stuff that matters.
The cat has killed something and brought it in. God knows what, but I keep treading on bits of it. Yuk. She has lost her bell which accounts for her new found success as hunter\gatherer.
I hope to see you soon.
And these I wrote a few months ago and I stand by them
My friends tell me I always seem to end up talking to the most beautiful woman in the room. Maybe they don't really believe I can't see them!
So what is this? Animal magnetism? Sixth sense? Hardly. It presumes that the reason I want to talk to someone is sexual. It probably isn't. So maybe it is assuming that I have found a way of discovering covertly which women in the room are deemed 'beautiful' by the standards of others. As if I would allow myself to be guided in what is such a personal value.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
What does not seem in doubt is that quite often I spend more time with those who intrigue me than with those who have nothing under the skin. Beauty is certainly not only or always skin deep. Beauty can be anywhere. It can be in the skin, in the eyes, in the mouth, in the body, in the bearing, in the heart, in the spirit, in the soul, in the brain, in the aesthetic, in the demeanour, in the compassion, in the voice and even in the adversity.
If I often talk with a beautiful woman it may be that I am intrigued to feel something good, something estimable, something caring or charismatic which lies hidden. It often lies hidden because so much time has been spent by that person dealing with their attractiveness to others that they are rarely given the opportunity to be valued for what they are inside. The predatory or salivating onlooker takes courage in both hands and moves in for the kill. The beautiful person takes standard evasive action – come over dull, uninterested, cool, hostile, having nothing to say, offering no opening. This is no way to get a serious exchange going and no way to find out what makes someone tick.
The truth is that a beautiful person may have just as much depth as anyone else if you are lucky enough not to be beguiled. I am that lucky person.
By the same token, a lack of those characteristics which others deem 'beautiful' in an external sense in no way stops real beauty from existing. If I find it within I will respond to it. Young or old, fat or thin, able or wheellchair-bound, it's all the same to me.
Where does that leave us? Can I sense a beautiful woman near me? Probably yes most times. Can I sense a person who feels inadequate in the physical sense? Probably yes, most times. Does it matter? Well, yes it matters to them probably…. and what matters to them matters to me.
I have worked in an intensely personal way with some of the world's most beautiful women and men. I have had success in drawing out honest, passionate vocal performances by getting under the skin and by not reacting to their beauty at all. And yes, there was a real person under there after all…. often dying to get out.
Many years ago I dated a former Miss World. I got talking to her at a party. After an hour we left together and went to a coffee house to continue our chat. She told me it was the first proper conversation she had had with a man for five years.
I spent an hour some years ago standing between Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeifer at a party. I talked to both of them. I had an arm around each one. All I will say is that one of them was beautiful inside and out – the other was a cold and ugly person whom I was glad to be rid of.
Second thought for September 2011
"To thine own self be true"
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
Polonius to Laertes Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3
I am an unashamed idealist. In my real life this has meant many things. I say 'real life' because a lot of what people think in the still of the night is not reflected in how they act in the day. But for me there is no day or night and there is no schism between what I think and how I act.
At least that is my ideal and I am an idealist. Every record I have made I have tried with every part of me to live up to the artist's highest hopes to communicate their passions and their emotions to touch others. Every time I have gbeen offered an artist and I have met that artist and they want only fame and money I turn them down. My manager Clive found this exasperating but he stuck with me and we are still the closest of friends. Many of the artists on whose work I laboured did not find success but they are all still my friends and they all still love and cherish what we did together.
Every time I have made money it has been incidental not planned. Every time I have this money I either spend it on an ideal or I give it away in response to my higher self.
This latter is important. We have a higher self which tells us what we ought to do and we have a lower self which lowers our standards and our values and whispers to us about profit, greed, success, money, seduction or esteem and power.
So I never have any money or if I do I never have it for long. There is always someone with a dream or a challenge who can use that money to help them. There is always a need for something to be better. I reopened Sony Whitfield Street in 2004 when Sony had closed it down for economic reasons. I ran at a huge loss for two years, I spent every penny I had on it. Eventually there was no more money and the landlord threw us out.
But in those two years we ran a great studio, great service, looked after all the equipment as if they were our children, looked after the artists and staff as if they were our children, offered all the technical backup needed 24/7. That is not sustainable but for those two years the artists experienced my values and my ideals in a creative studio.I only met Sade because I was approached to help Chileans affected by Pinochet's evil regime and I said yes. We made records to draw attention to their plight and musicians came and played for free. Two of these were from Sade's band. When we recorded Diamond Life we did the best record we could. I found out the band's ideals, their dreams and passions and that's the record we made. The record company tried everything to change it – 'to make it more commercial – but somehow it got past the security and got put out. 27 years later it is still having a positive effect. I get letters every week from all over the world from people still touched by that music.
And I made money from that music and bought a big house and a big car. But then I sold them and gave all the money away to help Mandela, Oxfam, Nimibian Freedom Fighters and others.
I am an idealist. I have no money now. I live simply and make no music for commercial labels now. I help those who need it and who deserve it. I cover my costs if they can afford it. In December I go to Africa again. This time to teach the world's poorest disabled young people how to make music and to provide them with computers, microphones, speakers and the tools to do the job. I am asking companies to provide this equipment not for profit. Some of them will say no. But in the dark hours of the night I hope that their higher self will talk to them and will tell them they are not being true to themselves.