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Pete Townsend is hilarious!
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A treat for everyone - and a special treat for those who remember BG's railing against "the rape of the English language" a few years back.....


 


This is not strictly speaking a diary. I'm not sure why features such as this, on the websites of those like me who can afford to run them, are called 'diaries'. 'Wank-offs' might be a better term. And so last week, in New York, Roger Daltrey and myself gathered in Gotham Hall - an old bank - an enormous, echoing oval room with a gilded ceiling as high as Penn station - to play to a gathering of four hundred men and women executives and friends of Samsung. My dressing room was next to the old vault, a massive safe with doors two feet thick, wide enough to allow entry in a Hummer. The fifty-ton doors, appropriately for a charity event I thought, were left open. Samsung created Four Seasons of Hope to support a number of other worthy charities that help children. Arnold Palmer is in there somewhere, and Jon Bon Jovi. This year it was our turn to do our little bit, put up for the job by our manager Bill Curbishley who we suspect may have put the deal together on some golf course - probably one of the twenty thousand designed by our new pal Arnold.

It was a grand and generous gathering of good-hearted, and slightly sceptical business people, some of whom had shelled out $30,000 for a table to be served (but not consume) a beautiful, rare tornado steak and listen to two sixty year old men who call themselves 'The Who'. I enjoyed the event. Roger sang my last published song REAL GOOD LOOKING BOY entirely unaccompanied by me, or Jon Carin who was along for the ride with us on keyboards and memory stick. When Roger plays guitar for his own voice the dynamic is gentler, more intimate, more delicate. It's hard to reconcile that this is the same straining voice that has struggled to be heard over the loudest band in rock for forty years. It was a rare treat, like the Tornado, but better received.

The day before, a jury cleared Michael Jackson and another absurd celebrity trial collapsed. We 'celebrities' live in Reality Shows these days. I was pleased Michael was cleared. My only experience of his dealings with children is that he has unselfishly helped every cause, and individual child, I have sent his way. In one case he hired a circus for the Down's Syndrome children of a special school of the daughter of a friend of mine, and showed up to happily, and - yes - in childlike enthusiasm - watch the show with them. This little girl believed she was Michael's future wife, and he so kindly allowed her to sit next to him, as his future bride. His feathers may be badly burned, and he may be damaged in other ways too, but he is something of an angel.

While we rehearsed in London for the Samsung event, Bob Geldof sent me a mobile text message in teenage-speak (he lives in a house full of young women so he can speak the lingo better than I). It said 'R U doin Live8? LOL Bob g'. I found myself thinking that he should know, surely. I replied 'RH 4 NY charity gig. Will talk 2 Rog. Later. PT' This seemed very teenaged to me, and I was quite proud of my almost incomprehensible texting.

Roger balked at first. Would the money really help in the long term? Would it simply buy more jumbo jets for Robert Mugabe? Does Roger, secretly write for The Spectator or something? God, he's sharp and cynical these days; a proper conservative. But he suddenly put aside all these worries and said 'Fuck em, let's do it!' I feel sure The Spectator only has twelve readers. Me included.

Back to the epillion: Roger and I decided to disregard any cynical journalists who would insist we knew nothing about Africa, and that doubling aid would only make things worse, and we would do the show purely so we could meet The Spice Girls. Then grumpy old Bob G announced he wasn't having them on because they weren't old and distinguished and - well, grumpy - enough. They insisted they'd never been asked in any case and never thought to appear or even to reform. But the tabloids insisted they had dearly wanted to revive their ailing solo careers (in cosmetic surgery?) by reforming, just like we obviously do, and they must be right because more than twelve people buy the tabloids. Our band are spread all over the world so it will be interesting to see whether Roger, singing REAL GOOD LOOKING BOY solo, with me watching admiringly, constitutes a world- shaking, career-reviving act to equal the one we did in 1985 when the BBC accidentally cut us off halfway through WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN.

It may have escaped everyone's attention that in photographs of the 1985 Live Aid concert I am the only man present with a sensible, classic, short haircut. I also look very handsome indeed, especially as photographed by David Bailey and displayed in the Gents at the Caprice. I point this out because, musically on that occasion, we were trounced by Queen, who were in the middle of a tour. This time, no doubt, we'll be trounced by U2 who are in the middle of stadium rock's answer to the ANC revolution. What are we in the middle of? We are in the middle of 'resting'. Again. I have a feeling my haircut will again prevail. I wonder suddenly, is this truly something I should be bragging about?

It will be the only big show we do this year, or at least the only one we do until someone asks us to do another one.


--Pete



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