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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

Gina B says: December 10, 2012 at 4:17 am

Lovely…if my own cancer returns, I would need a man to play the ukelele naked. In this way, I would definitely laugh until we both cry and laugh and cry and laugh and cry and laugh.

D Stenger says: December 10, 2012 at 3:17 am

A very worthy cause. No one can imagine what a teenager has to go through when fighting cancer. Roger and Pete deserve our highest praise and support. God bless you.

Sarah Sterner says: December 10, 2012 at 2:50 am

Hey Pete!
Was having a totally crappy weekend after fighting with a former friend and almost missing a shift at work tonight. Came home frustrated and distraught then I found this post and it totally cheered me up. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my unfortunately true story and that you really understand the overall message. Of course I totally admire what the clowns and all of the great volunteers at the hospital do- a lot of them turned out to be pretty cool too! But yes, I was just a bit out of a comfortable age range by that time. And your volunteer idea sounds much more captivating ;)

Hope you had a great tour, you guys rocked it! I hope to see you again sometime next year.

Thanks so much again for everything.
Sarah Sterner

PS- If you get a few minutes and have ANY desire to do so, maybe read my blog. I wrote a bit about what your music and this charity means to me so I hope you might like it. (sarahtca.blogspot.com) Lots of love! Have a great holiday.


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