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December 9, 2012

TOUR DIARY – December 9th, 2012

The Clown who plays Ukelele.


It occurs to me that Roger’s first TCA ‘ambassador’ Sarah Sterner, who tells a funny story about being entertained by a clown playing ukelele when she was recovering from cancer treatment, might not be so funny for the clown in question. She did not sneer at this clown. She used him as an example to make a distinction between what little kids enjoy in hospital, and what teenagers prefer.


I have repeated the story a few times, playing it for laughs. Then I suddenly remembered that once or twice in my life I have portrayed myself as that very clown, pounding stages.


The volunteer, dressing up and going to paediatric wards to entertain children, does so out of love and duty, and I must be careful to make very sure here that I do not sneer at what this clown, who volunteers to entertain and nurture young people in hospital, is doing. It is a high calling.


Roger’s pitch is that Sarah says she needed something different, more grown up, more TEENAGED.  Sarah agrees, so we must accept their mission.


A young woman recovering from cancer might prefer the clown to go in without the costume, dressed in his street clothes, with a guitar rather than a ukelele, reveal himself as a bit of handsome dude, gaze in her eyes, and sing her some of his coolest love songs……..Sarah is certainly beautiful enough to merit the music.


You know what I mean. But if you’re a little kid, a clown with uke is very cool. If you’re a teenager God only knows what you’ll think is cool.


- Pete Townshend. December 9th, 2012

For www.thewho.com






53 Responses to TOUR DIARY – December 9th, 2012

Robert McLemore says: May 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Pete, just a ‘quite note’ on SCOOP. I’ve fallen in love with this album and find it a fountain of fresh inspiration as an artist. What a treasure.

P.S. I was the crazy bloke in Denver on your side of the stage yelling “Alan!”. Yes, I’m a Pete fanatic (and think Alan is the coolest tech/minder ever).

Thanks for the joy.

melanie fallon says: April 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

Hello, I’ve just read your book Pete. I would love to send you a note, probably by computer because I’m terrible with longhand, in that I tend to doubt my clever writing skill when doing so, I’ll only end up squashing the paper up, putting it into the trash can, and then the never-ending self-loathing begins again. Oh, I’m joking, really I am. I would join your fan site but it’s a bit dear for me at the moment. So, if you or someone could tell me where to send a letter to you that you might read that would be lovely. Cheers from an American person who lives in Ireland.

Jeff H says: April 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

Here in Detroit is Karmanos Cancer center they have a musical therapy program. As part of this, they bring in guitarists to play for patients – me being one of them. I’ve played for children, teenagers, and older people. Guess what – they could care what style of music you play for them as long as it is upbeat – in my case jazz, classical, and Chet style guitar. I try to adjust to the age of the patient or ask what they’d like to hear. More often than not, they couldn’t care about age appropriate entertainment – they want to talk. I’ll admit, a clown is a bit cheesy for a teenager, but just having someone come in and talk, smile or laugh and take their mind off their situation is enough. You’d be surprised how many never receive visits. Hats off to this clown.


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