Joined: April 2007
||Posted: May 20 2007, 06:17
As far as I can tell, the U.S. doesn't devote much media attention to Mike Oldfield, so - outside of his musical works - I had very little knowledge about him. All I had gleaned was that he was apparently shy and had had an unhappy youth. So, reading his autobiography was an eye-opener, for it portrays much more than a mopey introvert. Considering my own comparatively sheltered life, I was surprised by how much I related to his story. I often felt kinship in regards to the emotions expressed, if not exactly to the circumstances.
At times - due to fascination, sympathy, or laughter - I found myself going over certain passages again and again. Such as working at learning the guitar:
|It wasn't that I just discovered that I was good at it one day - I was practicing very hard, right at the edges of obsession.|
The lone journey through a frightening evening in London:
|Although it was a terrible, horrible experience, it somehow made me grow up. There was nobody to help me; I had to find my own way home, across the center of London in the middle of the night, at the age of thirteen.|
Hauling equipment on the quest to an audition:
|I had to carry this huge cabinet down to the bottom of the escalator, get it off and leave it, then get the up-escalator to pick up the other things. I was worried about the cabinet being stolen, but then I thought to myself, 'Who'd want to steal that?' And even if they had, they wouldn't have got very far. I don't know what I would have done if I'd seen someone walking off with it, but luckily no four-by-twelve cabinet thieves were around that day.|
His stint with "Hair"
|I started playing around with 'Let the Sunshine In' and doing super-complicated bits, but I was playing in the wrong time signatures and it was putting the dancers off. I would mess about with the music and get these dirty looks from other members of the band, especially the brass, they really didn't like me - I've hated brass players ever since. I think eventually, after about six months, they said, 'Either he goes, or we go.'|
|I just put my whole power, committed all my energy to this one guitar solo. I don't know what the hell happened. I started to unleash this guitar solo and, somehow, got it all out. It still raises the skin on my neck to hear that solo. Of course, a sane, happy-go-lucky person wouldn't be able to do that: being so messed up had its advantages. It was hugely cathartic: the feeling of playing like that is just incredible, it's like a mouse suddenly stepping into a lion's body and roaring.|
I'm very glad for Changeling. For the way it shows the human being behind the art. No, not all questions are answered. And If I were to ever run into Mike, I might ask him "What ever happened to that 'flourescent-yellow, grafitti-covered guitar case'?". But I won't ask "Why?". ;)
"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty