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October 28, 2013

Storms and people passing


The big storm passed through, not too bad where I live in London, but Rob Lee our webmaster lives by the sea on the south coast and I was worried for him. The storm ended a tumultous few weeks. 


Several people important to me have passed away. Peter Kay, a friend and chef who designed my kitchen passed away a few weeks ago leaving three daughters. He worked for the footballer Tony Adams charity Sporting Chance for many years. He was a lovely man who had health problems all his life. He passed peacefully. 


Then it was Phoebe, the Irish woman who was one of the first group to come to Erin Pizzey’s Chiswick Women’s Aid – the Richmond house that Keith Moon visited, and that helped kick off Double O, the Who’s charity. Erin came from Ireland with eleven children, and was regarded as something of a saint in Brentford where she lived and died. 


Then David Hooper passed away. He was the caretaker and watchman at Eel Pie Oceanic for many years; he had to stop work when he was hit by a truck on a pedestrian crossing and lost his leg. He managed to end a life of hard drinking in time to be a support to his estranged daughter when she was taken seriously ill ten years ago. 


Yesterday I heard about the passing of Lou Reed. I’d been thinking about him after meeting Jean Michel Jarre last Saturday. He is a friend of Lou and Laurie Anderson. My heart goes out to Laurie whom I met briefly when Lou played with me at Rachel Fuller’s ATTIC JAM at Joe’s Pub in NYC. Lou seemed to have fun that night, and it was wonderful and easy for me to perform with this clear-sighted musician who I had expected to be so difficult. 


Finally, yesterday, I learned than Bhau Kalchuri, the Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India, had passed away on Wednesday. Bhau was a good friend to me, and this week has been a strange one for me, with many swerves and ups and downs, and it didn’t surprise me when I heard he had died. Many Who fans will know I have been a follower of Meher Baba since 1967. Sometimes I am unsure of the sanity of believing that Meher Baba is God in human form, as he claimed. But Anita Viellard, a light-hearted and glamorous Parisian artist I knew very well, told Baba “We don’t mind you thinking you are God, we just love you anyway.” 


So we had our little storm here in the UK. Nothing like Hurricane Sandy, but we know you are thinking about us just as we thought of you on the East Coast. I am very much alive. I hope Rob Lee still has a roof on his house, it is just 25 yards from the beach.

28 Responses to Storms and people passing

Matt Martin says: January 6, 2014 at 1:49 am

Yup. One of the not-so-fun things about getting old – friends start passing away. About the only good thing about getting old is that you finally start to know yourself… but, damnit… it’s too late!!

Larry Stoltenberg says: January 5, 2014 at 4:29 am


Sorry to hear of you losing more friends. I just finished your book, “Who I Am.” I loved it and found it a great read. Thanks for your music all these years. I’ve been a follower since I heard “Happy Jack” on the radio at my grandparents’ house and I think I have about everything the Who (and you) have released. I’m also a guitar player and have played several of your songs with bands. Your style influenced mine in so many ways. Peace and Love to you!

Leo Ward says: January 3, 2014 at 4:08 am

Hi Pete,

I live in New Jersey where he storm is upon us now. We are in a State Of Emergency.

So, I finished reading your book last night. It was enjoyable and entertaining. I found it interesting that Roger was the Leader of the band. Without your creative genius The Who would never have lasted as long as they did.

Your book lead me to explore youtube videos of Woodstock, JJ Cale, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Joanie Mitchell, Neil Young and a plethora of other great songwriters.

Like you, I studied visual arts in school but always had a passion for songwriting. At fifty five I still learn every day. Music does not come natural to my ears but I have written countless stream of conscious songs, some good some horrible. To me it is the journey not the prize. Being recognized for ones talent is more satisfying than fame. Would you agree?

Feel free to email me. I’d love to chat with you.

Always a fan
Leo Ward

Ron beasley says: December 24, 2013 at 3:41 am

Mr. Townshend. I’m a huge fan of the who and your solo projects. I was a bass player for a band which included Gary Stuchell who I believe you met in England in the 80s. He interviewed you while in high school here. Just wanted to say thanks for the music (particularly Quadrophenia). I’ve seen the who twice now and look forward to another tour. Thanks again.

Sean Tully says: December 11, 2013 at 5:20 am


I really enjoy hearing your thoughts in your writings and your videos (Rachel Fuller’s ATTIC). I love hearing you play solo acoustic guitar too. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.


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