I can hardly believe we are almost a third of the way through 2023. It’s scary when I consider what I have or haven’t achieved so far this year. With all that has gone on (nursing and worrying over my 97-year-old mum, looking after Dave pre and post his hip replacement, weeks without a washing machine, and so on) I’ve surprised myself by finally getting back into editing mode with my novel, two successful paintings completed, with another in progress, and one not so complete but will be soon.
What I have had problems with is reading. Considering how much I used to read, even known on Amazon as “AvidReader”, no matter what I started, I could not finish, either losing interest, the story didn’t engage me, or I was too tired to read anything. Most unlike me, normally having 2 if not 3 books on the go: 1 for reading in bed; another when there’s nothing decent on television, which is often; and in the summer, 1 in the garden. But for the past few months I can hold my hand up and say nothing I pick up inspires me to continue.
Truth is, I missed reading and determined to retrieve my lost mojo. Like my music tastes, I enjoy many genres but autobiographies are not ones I generally turn to. I can count on my hand the few that I have read: The Moon’s a Balloon, and Bring on the Empty Horses by David Niven; one about the composer Claude Debussy; and 2 years ago the autobiography of a close childhood friend, Peter Beaven, Director of Music at the Royal Military Chapel, Sandhurst, who sadly passed away suddenly this January.
Chance would have it, good old Amazon flashed up an autobiography on special offer. It was for Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, the singer/songwriter/drummer/actor. I enjoy his music and singing, and knew Phil came from my home town in West London. But apart from his music, that’s all I did know about him. Curious, I bought the book.
Although I am still reading it (I’m half-way through), I am so pleased I did. I learned that Phil, 2 years older than me, grew up a few streets away, his mother worked in a toy shop I knew well (I was probably served by her), and that teenage Phil frequented the same clubs, pubs bars and nightclubs I did. It is quite possible we were there at the same time on occasion.
Reading about familiar places and haunts, streets, cafes, incidents I remember came to life again, going back in time. He talks about the background to many of his songs and albums, the highs and lows of touring, his marriages and divorces, his children including the actress Lily Collins, how the music industry has changed since the 1970s, the concerts, the other bands and musicians he’s played with. His part in the film Buster, about the 1960s Great Train Robbery. His writing style is relaxed and full of humour, wit and sometimes with a sadness. In reading, it is his voice you hear, speaking as he would directly to you in normal conversation. I’m loving it. So much so, each night this week I’ve gone to bed early in order to delve into the world of music and rock&roll and visit memory lane.
My reading mojo has returned. Yay!