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December 9, 2012

Pete Townshend: Tour Diary – December 10th, 2012

The Clown who plays Ukelele.

 

It occurs to me that Roger’s first Teen Cancer America ‘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

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Pete Townshend: Tour Diary – December 10th, 2012

Dan Vie says: January 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Hi Pete – just read your book Who I Am. Revelatory about your creative process. Thank you for your integrity.

I am passing on the name of an amazing thinker about trauma – Gabor Mate – an author, therapist and child of holocaust survivors who has worked with addicts in the downtown eastside of Vancouver for many years and is now gaining much renown as a deeply articulate speaker. If you haven’t heard of him, check it out! This particular TED Talk by Gabor is a good sample as it talks about how the child’s brain is affected by abuse and is very concise about the intertwining nature of addiction and power. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66cYcSak6nE&feature=share

As a lifelong artist myself, motivated as a child of artists and a survivor of trauma,having grown up surrounded by and giving sanction to creative and unstable people, I am aware of the emotional balancing act for guiding the creative muse. Also, as one dedicated since youth to the art of clowning,and dedicated to the healing arts, I have tried to live by the performer maxim of ‘know your audience’ as your ukulele bit illustrates…

best
dan

Reply
chrisbecker007@icloud.com says: January 5, 2013 at 3:07 am

Sweet. Simple truths are timeless. So many young kids will benefit from your taking the time to see what’s going on in their daily lives. Kind of when we were young and listening to The Who. thank you again.

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