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March 4, 2008

Message To the Outside World

I’ve been asked by our webmaster to communicate with the outside world. Or is this the inside world? It is a beautiful day here in West London, completely clear skies, but cold. Spring is definitely making an entry. Flora, goddess of all that stuff, also has a role in fertility. A kind of ancient Greek Scarlett Johannson. So, you guys feeling fertile? Are you mulching down the compost for the growing season? Well I am. The studio garden here has just been hit by a digger, and the Oceanic building – that for over 30 years has been the location for my spiritual rallying cries, my best and worst drug jags, my wildest acoustic experiments and my most serious recording work – is crawling with developers. It is for sale. It is going, going going…..
 
My studio is by the River Thames, in a pretty spot, though it is not itself a pretty building. I will miss the spot, but not the building.
 
I am hunkered down in my smallish home studio instead. That is both true and false. I have let go of the six creative spaces at Oceanic, but I do still have this wonderful studio in my home. What is true is that I have a home studio. What is false is that the word ‘studio’ suggests a single room. In fact I have a number of rooms devoted to music and recording in my house. One of them is a room that in 1972 was transformed by the then owner Ronnie Wood into a conventional analogue 8 track studio, with the help of a company called Trackplan that I started in 1970 to encourage musicians to have their own studios. I think Trackplan collapsed about halfway through the building project, which was overseen by Ron Nevison who went on to engineer QUADROPHENIA with me and later became a big producer (Heart, Jefferson Starship). Des McAnuff (who directed TOMMY on Broadway and is visiting London to mount JERSEY BOYS here) came to my house for the first time last week and when he saw my studio said that he could understand why I would never want to leave.
 
I never want to leave. But I am trying hard to force myself. I have requested that our manager Bill Curbishley look at a winter Pacific tour, and prior to that we are considering some webcast ideas and a TV thing for VH1. I think most of you will know about some of this, at least as plans. Our recording schedule has been pushed back to the middle of September, or later. For once this has nothing to do with my songwriting output, as we are not recording my songs, nor am I producing the record. Now you skeptics (we Brits say sceptic by the way, which is close to septic, isn’t it?) can see what happens when The Who are completely freed from the evil clutches of Pete Townshend, jealous guardian of the … I am trying to think of what I jealousy guard and it turns out I jealousy guard my craft. Good idea I think.
 
As for The Who, great idea. We now sell peanuts, t-shirts, video games, funny old songs from the funny old days when men were mods and women were mostly very thin, and – a new venture – we help market VW commercial vehicles. VW have just made a car that produces under 100 g/km carbon emissions, and will do 70 mpg. In London such a car does not get spat on by hippies, nor are its windows smashed by hypocrites with inefficient home heating. However, absurdly, it also doesn’t get a reasonable tax break, neither is it released from London’s congestion charge. The latter is because it is not a ‘hybrid’, that is a car that might produce far more carbon, and use far more fuel, but is driven by some Hollywood film star (but only in Rodeo Drive – when they go skiing they take the Hummer). Maybe Ken Livingstone (London’s Mayor) wants to meet Brad Pitt? Don’t we all? We want to ask him – why? You had the girl who invented the JENNIFER for heaven’s sake! (That is, the hairstyle that kind of flicks up and out and in and is short at the front and long at the back or something). Now you have the girl who invented the MY DAD IS AN ARSEHOLE. To be honest, really honest Brad – I think you did good TWICE. And, in my view, you deserve it if only for your work taking drugs so brilliantly in TRUE ROMANCE. (Now men, stand by me here – yes Scarlett is good looking, but too young. Is it not true that the best two women who ever wafted through Hollywood have the same second name? And are sisters? One of them was in True Romance, the other was in that thing with Maddie! And you’re right, I’ve forgotten their names… it’s great being 60-something. You just forget – and fuck it. Arq!)
 
So there it is. The thoughts of the alternative Pete as requested. Please don’t ask again. To borrow from Billy Corgan’s book, what is really going on in my head would burn through your eyes and soul and leave you speechless with fear, rage, ire, disgust and helplessness… etc. Really, I just had a dark night of the soul on Saturday – nightmares probably caused by the fact that my partner watches QUILLS all the time. She’s a Goth. Billy Corgan – another Goth – reminded me the other day that he had been dating Courtney Love when she first met Kurt Cobain). I hear Courtney has been looking at property in my neighbourhood. Courtney, this is where you truly belong. This is where we would understand and welcome you. Truly, we know how to shock, we know how to rock, and we know how to tock-tick-tock grow old disgracefully.
 
Or you could try Essex. I did.
 
Speaking of the amazing Rachel, she is writing songs for her new musical about burning bodies, and she is getting better and better, at IT. It’s going to make JERSEY BOYS look like a Boy Scouts’ Jamboree (in fact, surely that is what it was?). It’s going to make TOMMY look like a Boy Scouts’ Jamboree – as well. See, I’ve run out of metaphors. All my creative juice that could have gone into writing the next great Who hit has gone into trying to make you insiders of the outside world feel your $50 was worth spending here rather than on twelve cups of Starbucks Frappoholica (plus a Macca CD).

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