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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

Mark Dello Russo says: March 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Ah – Now I understand what you mentioned last night at the show at the theatre at MSG about the clown.
Definitely a higher calling and done out of love, but as any teenager will probably tell you, clowns are a bit downrange for them.

Again, thanks for the show last night guys. 4th time I saw you this tour, and as I mentioned on another post, I sincerely hope I did not witness the final show of the Who in North America. Please, please come back!

Chris Driscoll says: February 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Hey Pete,
Looking forward to see you & the boys tonight in Providence RI!
Look forward to a post letting us whoville people know what’s up!
Hope all is well and I’m so glad you are out and about! Be well & THANKS!

Patrick says: February 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Hello Pete,

Just finished your book. My wife bought it for me for a trip I went to Haiti. Thought I was going to read just another story of a rock n roll group that I enjoy. I wasn’t expecting to do so much introspective thinking about my own sobriety, 24 years 2 months and 8 days, but who’s counting. I usually refer to my drinking as a punchline and proceed to tell tales of drunkenness as if they were the best days of my life, at the time they were. My wife just celebrated 18 months herself. The book was very therapeutic to me and reminded how special sobriety is. Thanks for opening up in the book.

My wife and I will be at the show tonight in Providence, I will be the sober one singing along with every song.

One more thing. I met a man in Haiti who was from Oregon. We were both there building housing for medical personnel who will staff the new hospital when it is completed. I had “Tommy” playing and asked him if he liked The Who. He informed me he didn’t know any Who songs. This man was 50 years old! For the rest of the week he was on a crash course of “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”. I have no idea if he likes the Who now, but he never again can say he doesn’t know who they are.

Have a great rest of the tour.

Ray High says: February 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

What I thought was cool when I was a teen, when I was figuratively hospitalized, was ‘All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes’. Perhaps you have portrayed that clown more often than you realize? Thank you for your music, Mr. Townshend. It has made me extremely happy for decades. My sincere best wishes to you.

Chaz says: February 19, 2013 at 2:23 am

Pete, Roger & Crew: Fantastic show in Columbus (2-17-13). This was my first Who show – and I’m old enough to have missed a lot of tours – and we took our daughter who also really liked the show. Quadrophenia is my favorite Who album for lots of reasons. Last night’s show cemented that – and what a fantastic backing band! Thanks again for your music, your lyrics and place in my life.


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