Did I fail someone ?


 [In reply to a mail to Brian – see in LETTERS HERE]

Ah Henry … first let me say I’m sorry.

We do our best to sign everything we can, and keep everybody happy. But in the end, when you’ve given your heart and soul and every last bit of energy in the show, and you’re tired, and come out to go back to a hotel, and you notice that most of the people waiting to have things signed are the same people you signed stuff for yesterday, and the day before that, and the week before that, I can tell you, your heart sinks. And just sometimes you feel you must exercise the choice of just going off to get some rest time. If I signed everything for everyone every time they asked, and did everything people ask me to do, pose for pictures, phone their Mums, send messages to their friends, or visit their ailing uncles, I would never do anything else … there would be no time or energy left – no music, no astronomy, no stereoscopy, no saving animals, no time for my wife or my kids or my grandchildren. In the end, no time even to go to the toilet. You think I’m exaggerating ? Well, you would be surprised.

I can promise you I would not have anything personal against Pat, and would not consciously refuse her. It would just be one of those moments when I’m out of gas, and in need of reminding myself that I have a choice. My job out there, if I have one, is giving the best I can in that hour and a half on stage, every night on tour. Is that not enough ?

Anyway … all this doesn’t mean I’m not really sad to hear Pat was upset. I am … and hopefully I can try to make it up to her. There is always a casualty, and generally it’s the shy people who don’t get taken care of. We’re well aware of that and try to take that into account, believe me. If someone is around a lot, and has never had anything signed, we will always make an extra effort if we can

. But Pat is evidently not one of those. You say your house is adorned with loads of stuff I have signed. So why – oh why – do you need more ? ! To my mind, signing endless bits of memorabilia and scraps of paper is not part of my job. I can offer it occasionally when it seems like a deserving cause, but it’s not in my job specification. It’s a pain in the neck. It’s great if people want to say hello, and shake my hand and say ‘how are you’, but mostly all is see is people shoving stuff in my face and insisting that I sign it. In the last 40 years I must have signed a million things, and …. for what ? I’m not sure, really. Sometimes the items make money for charity, which makes it worth-while. But where does all the other stuff end up ? Well, I see a lot of it on E-bay, and then I wonder why I spending moments of my life doing this. We all only have a certain number of breaths in our life … a certain number of heart-beats. I try to do a great job in everything I take on, I try to help the needy and sick, and children and animals who have no voice, and I try to make as many people as possible happy by acceding to their requests.

But I HAVE to keep a tiny scrap of territory just for me, just to recharge, just to LIVE, for its own sake. Or I will peg out.

Please send my love to Pat, and tell her I’m sorry she was upset. But could we not try to enter a new place now, where, if we see each other, we greet each other as friends … not as fan and rock star ? Just a hand shake, or a hug and a ‘moment’ of eyes meeting is so much more meaningful than me endlessly scrawling over stuff.

Writing this letter has taken about 20 minutes of my precious time at home on a rare day off, which I think I ought to be devoting to my loved ones. Forgive me if I stop there.

All the very best



(we have changed the names in this correspondence)

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