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Question: Changeling: your opinions :: Total Votes:33
Poll choices Votes Statistics
Exellent 10  [30.30%]
Good 15  [45.45%]
OK 1  [3.03%]
Bit disappointing 6  [18.18%]
Very disappointing 1  [3.03%]
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Topic: Changeling: your opinions, Poll to evaluate your feelings< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Marky Offline




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Posted: May 29 2007, 14:01

This poll is to check feelings about the book as people conclude reading it - how they rank it against expectations really. I found it interesting but a touch disappointing. My own entry is bit disappointing, despite its many interesting things, that was my feeling at the end. I thought he'd missed out too many things he could have said. I do not knock what he did say: all interesting.

(BTW, admininstrators should we have a category for changeling on MO's works section?) And for upcoming albums maybe we could have a pre-emptive entry under albums?

http://markcslattery.spaces.live.com/
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Marky Offline




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Posted: May 30 2007, 03:36

Just to add this link to the current reviews on Amazon. Current reviews of Changeling
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: May 30 2007, 04:21

I can't make a meaningful vote in this poll. The problem is that Changeling is a book that Mike clearly wanted to write for certain quite specific reasons - to examine the progress of his mental difficulties in the context of the big journey he's been on. So this was only ever going to be a partial autobiography, and I began reading it knowing that it was going to leave a lot out.

Is it the book I want it to be? No - it falls a long way short of that. I'm just as interested in the later half of his life as the first half - perhaps even more so. In particular, when I read the less-than-a-page that covers MusicVR, I was deeply disappointed but not surprised. Mike clearly thought it had little to do with the story he was telling, and it no longer interests him.

The book does what Mike wanted it to do, and I know there's no point in asking him to write about something he doesn't want to deal with. What he does write about doesn't disappoint me; but what he doesn't write about disappoints me a lot.
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Marky Offline




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Posted: May 30 2007, 09:31

You are I are in accord on this Alan, from the sound of it. Mike's autobiography does at least confess to his awareness that he is strong willed, relatively uncompromising, and even stubborn - and this is no doubt a part of his essential character that has reflected in his music and professional choices over his lifetime so far. As you say: here's what I want to write, he says. Nobody will shift me from that, he may well have thought, whatever arguments or persuasion were employed. It is a good book but if anybody ever gets seriously interested in Mike again as public property, there is a minefield left for the biographers to extract all the bangs from. Sometimes its better to do this yourself in anticipation. I think I said elsewhere that if I were to write up my life, I could not do so meaningfully without references to my relationships with those closest to me. Mike has ~ which is disconcerting! But that is where you came in!

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TOBY Offline




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Posted: May 30 2007, 16:32

I voted for a bit disappointing. This book has been a long time in coming and it left me fairly bemused by Mike, well only slightly more bemused than I was already by him and his ways. I don't begrudge the direction of the book at all and to be honest I wasn't expecting him to really go into the nuts and bolts of his music making. I'm sure we've all followed his career long enough to know he's not that sort of an artist, which is fine. But I would have liked for him to talk about it even generally i bit more than he did. A really good artists autobiography can help outsiders reappraise a career which they possibly don't appreciate properly and i would have loved for this to happen for Mike or rather his music. I  guess maybe he thought if people understood him as a person more then maybe they'd get a better grasp of what his music is about but I'm not sure I'm any the wiser and he's made so many artistic contradictions in his career I'm just as baffled by him after reading the book as I was before.

Changeling doesn't alter my perception of Mike that for someone who has been so outspoken and critical of the music industry's obsession with chart success, money and cool he seems just as obsessed as everyone else, he does come across, or has in the past come across as extraordinarily hypocritical in that area.

But criticisms aside its a powerful book from an emotional point of view  and I think it succeeds in its aim of helping others through personal wisdom and insight so in that area it should be applauded.
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bee Offline




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Posted: May 30 2007, 19:58

I had no 'expectations' for this book. I knew I wanted to read it, but had a very open mind with regards to the content. I just wanted to hear what Mike had to say. When you have heard or read so many bits & pieces through the years without ever actually hearing anything of any detail from the person concerned, then it is good to sharpen the focus & get Mike's view on of it all. As he said, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Sure we all feel the same there in our own lives!

My overall impression is that Mike is a survivor. (These are just my own personal feelings & in no way are intended as judgements ). He has come through his life this far as a strong man, self aware, extremely talented and determined. And I still admire him very much, I thought my views may have changed, but it's his honesty that impressed me most and his humour. I think if you can somehow see the daft side of things even in difficult times then that can carry you through the bleakest moments.

I feel that he needed to write this, the attention to those first years, maybe he has just finally felt fully able to look closely at it all. If he had given as much time to the other parts of his life the book would have been very long. He may well write in more depth about the rest, but I doubt it somehow - it's too recent & would mean more being said about his family & previous relationships etc etc & I think he is sensitive to the value of privacy both for others & himself - that comes over in the book.

I loved to hear of his relationship with his father when he was a child, it was wonderfully recalled & it 'seemed' important that he did that. There was a real fondness there. I always wanted to know a bit more about his Dad.

And the thing I wasn't prepared for was an impression the book left me with concerning parents and how very important they are to all of us ~ in terms of what they hand down to the next generation, the many gifts they give unknowingly, the way we repeat our experiences, good and bad. My heart ached for the situation Mike and his family found themselves in when he was so very young. Hope that somewhere, somehow Mike's mother can see how everything has turned out for him, that he's happy and relaxed with life. It's so sad there was so little and inadequate help for her.

I loved to read of his fascincation for taking things apart and putting them back together again even at an early age, all the technical details, making things work and having real patience. And just believing there was a way to do something even if others said it wasn't possible.

So, I guess I really wasn't disappointed at all in Changeling. I would love one day to know more about the recent years but the time's not right now, that's fine. Sometimes you get a better picture the farther back you stand.


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Marky Offline




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Posted: June 12 2007, 03:25

Not many votes.... does that mean not many people saw the thread or not many people have read the book???
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Pendragon Offline




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Posted: June 12 2007, 20:36

I confess that I can't vote because I peeked at the results while waiting for my copy to arrive.  

I'd rate it as excellent.  His narrative is straight forward and unapologetic.  He accepts responsibility for his mistakes and learns from them.  His reflections on the older albums help  make sense of my emotional reactions to each of them.

What I find most fascinating is the study of his character and my favourite bit is when he's talking about what its like on his "home planet".  His obvious difficulties emotionally attaching to people, contrasted with his ability to remember the automobiles of everyone he ever met ...  It's great stuff.

Being what I am I can't help but drift back to my diagnostic manual.  I think our Mike has a touch of Asperger's Syndrome, and if so I'm very glad he found a way through his music to communicate with us all.
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Navaira Offline




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Posted: June 16 2007, 11:55

Is it just me, or is Changeling getting more media attention than any of Mike's albums since about Tubular Bells 3?

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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: June 24 2007, 05:01

I'm pretty much in agreement with bee - nicely said.  :)

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"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
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Marky Offline




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Posted: June 24 2007, 10:20

Quote (Pendragon @ June 13 2007, 01:36)
Being what I am I can't help but drift back to my diagnostic manual.  I think our Mike has a touch of Asperger's Syndrome, and if so I'm very glad he found a way through his music to communicate with us all.

An extremely interesting comment! That really could be true.
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Hifiguru Offline




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Posted: June 28 2007, 00:49

i had this book laying somewhere for a while....havent had time to actually open book yet but cover is nice.

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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: June 28 2007, 20:44

Quote (Marky @ June 24 2007, 12:20)
Quote (Pendragon @ June 13 2007, 01:36)
Being what I am I can't help but drift back to my diagnostic manual.  I think our Mike has a touch of Asperger's Syndrome, and if so I'm very glad he found a way through his music to communicate with us all.

An extremely interesting comment! That really could be true.



I'm sure that Mike still has pyschological problems...after what I saw at NNOTP...no comments at all!


--------------
"But it's always the outsider, the black sheep, that becomes the blockbuster." - Mike Oldfield, 2014

"I remember feeling that I'd been judged unfairly and that I was going to prove them wrong." - Peter Davison, 2011
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qjamesfloyd Offline




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Posted: July 01 2007, 10:51

I have just finished reading it, and i found it a very good read, Mike has been very honest about himself and the people he has met over the years, he has been very open and frank about his problems, and i think that's great, people can say he did'nt go into the music making process i enough detail, like the Voyager album only got 1 line!!but that's not the point of the book, the book is mainly about his mental problems, why he has them and how he has dealt with them, i would loved to have read a chapter on how he made every album, but that would be a huge book, and take a long time to write, as it is, i still learned a lot of new things about certain albums, and also about his personal life, i never knew about his conection to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for instance!!
Yes there was a lot of his musical side left out, but that's fine, because to be honest, most of all that you can read about on this web site, but it would be nice some time in the future to read about that from Mike's point of view.
The best thing about the book though is the last paragraph on the last page, to me it gives real hope for the future of his music.


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TOBY Offline




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Posted: July 01 2007, 12:59

But has he been that honest though? He hasn't been at all honest about his personal relationships, which for most other people would be probably be the most important part of their lives, Mike casually brushes over them like they're almost inconsequential.   I'm not at all sure he's been that honest about his relationship with Branson. That whole period during the late 80's early 90's when he had completely fallen out with him and Virgin is barely touched upon. What about feeling moved enough to spell out 'fuck off RB' in morse code during Amarok? What about all those songs on Heavens Open? He doesn't mention any of it and its a very interesting part of his career. In retrospect he seems realistic enough about Virgin and the fact that they were all about making money, something he didn't appreciate at the time. They wanted hits like Moonlight Shadow and he was prepared to sacrifice his artistic sensibilities to try and give it to them, he seems almost apologetic about that fact. In the mean time Virgin utterly shafted what could have been one of the greatest careers in music. God only knows what a body of work Mike would have now if Virgin had nurtured his considerable talents instead getting him to write music he wasn't comfortable with. What if Discovery were full of music like the Lake and not songs like Crystal Gazing? Perhaps these days Mike would be treated with real reverence by the music industry instead of being utterly forgotten and marginalised.

Its a good book and there's lots of insightful wisdom in it, it just seems strange that certain very important elements in his career are either skimmed over or not mentioned at all.
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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: July 01 2007, 14:14

Quote (qjamesfloyd @ July 01 2007, 10:51)
The best thing about the book though is the last paragraph on the last page, to me it gives real hope for the future of his music.

I really like all of that last chapter. Perhaps it's due to me coming in rather late as a fan, but I was surprised by this passage:

"I have tremendous regrets about the period of my life when I was at my most successful. I still carry around a sense of guilt, that I wasn't able to be the spokesperson or figurehead for real, interesting, progressive music. I just wasn't strong enough to do it; I regret not having the confidence in those days."

That, more than anything else, brought home to me the price of fame and expectation.

Quote (TOBY @ July 01 2007, 12:59)
But has he been that honest though? He hasn't been at all honest about his personal relationships  {EDIT}  it just seems strange that certain very important elements in his career are either skimmed over or not mentioned at all.

That seems like equating 'honest' with 'open'. I don't think a lack of disclosure, here, is dishonest or even that surprising. I have no problem being kept in the dark about some things. Maybe I'm just not hardcore enough, but Mike can keep his secrets.


--------------
"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
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TOBY Offline




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Posted: July 01 2007, 15:33

For me when reading an autobiography there's a fine line between being honest about facts and events and being open about them. Mike was right not to include any scandalous details about himself, but is it being honest to the story of his life to exclude certain important general elements? I think for me it isn't.

But I do agree that the angle of the book is perhaps less about these things than it is about a sharing of wisdom and in doing that it works well.
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AlexS Offline




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Posted: July 11 2007, 04:53

I finished Changeling this morning. I'm actually quite sad to have finished reading it.

It is a shame that the last 20 years are only skimmed over in the last quarter of the book. But maybe he didn't have much to tell. At least nothing as interesting as his stories from the 1970s. He worked pretty much non-stop in the 90s, so maybe there was nothing really to talk about - although personally, I would have liked to have read more about the inspiration and recording process behind certain albums.

At the same time, I guess it's only right (certainly from a sales point of view) to write about the "interesting" stuff - the bits people ant to read, from a commercial aspect. Which in this case is the period surrounding his first few albums.

In a way - and certainly after reading the last chapter - it's almost like a self-help/therapy exercise in itself; putting down all his experiences, memories, thoughts etc in writing. Maybe it helped him come to terms or reflect upon certain aspects of his life.

The main objective of the book does seem to focus on his problem with panic attacks, and the causes and attempted cures for the problem. This has obviously dominated his existence, but also helped fuel his creativity. Overall I found it a very interesting and enjoyable read. I now feel like I know Mike a little, and certainly feel closer to his music. There were many things he described in the book that I can relate to or connect with, and some of it has made me think about a few things. It's fair to say I've gained 'something' personally from reading it, as well as being inspired.

I could happily go back to the beginning and start reading it over again.


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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: July 11 2007, 11:18

Quote (AlexS @ July 11 2007, 06:53)
There were many things he described in the book that I can relate to or connect with, and some of it has made me think about a few things. It's fair to say I've gained 'something' personally from reading it, as well as being inspired.

I could happily go back to the beginning and start reading it over again.

Yeah,that's really true.There are some parts of the book that fits perfectly with me in a some sort of a way I can't describe.

But I think that there were a lot of issues that were missing on the book that deals with his psychological part + relationships in general...


--------------
"But it's always the outsider, the black sheep, that becomes the blockbuster." - Mike Oldfield, 2014

"I remember feeling that I'd been judged unfairly and that I was going to prove them wrong." - Peter Davison, 2011
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AlexS Offline




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Posted: July 12 2007, 09:36

I agree, although I think he probably wanted to keep most information about his relationships and family private, for their sakes.

It is a huge personal task to want to write something like that and if you're going to do it well, then you have to be honest. However I think you can still do that without revealing everything, and I think he managed rather well. Some subjects he just touched on without having to go into detail. Sometimes it's all you need to know.

I was mostly disappointed in the last 15 years being rushed through with little or no background information. Maybe it still feels too recent for him to want to talk about. Maybe there will be more in a future reprint.


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