Monday 25 March 2013


My father has just written his memoirs. It’s a feat for anyone really, especially someone looking back at a career that spans over 50 years. I think we all have a memoir in us, public figure or not and it’s a good philosophy to think about on a daily basis, i.e. ‘what would I say in my own memoirs, and would I be proud if this or that episode ended up in there!’ Keeps one honest or at least plants the intention! Ordinarily I do not write or comment about my father in this blog, but with the release of this book it brought up some interesting topics of discussion. And you know me, I like to talk (something he and I have in common).

Let’s just say growing up with a father in the entertainment business taught me a few things: to have a great work ethic; that creativity is a gift and is meant to be honored and not wasted; there is a definite art in telling a good story; ‘normal’ (and growing up ‘normal’) is subjective and open to all interpretations and definitions; and one must have a very thick skin. [That’s the one I was never very good at, hence why I hide behind a laptop and not a microphone]. And so over the years it’s been a balancing act between having a father like any one else, and having a father in the entertainment business, and all that it brings with it. Things were not always traditional, I was exposed to things many people weren’t, and things certainly were never dull whereas my father was concerned; complicated perhaps, but never dull.

It’s a funny thing having a father that others know on a public scale and to which have formed an attachment, if you will. You go through life sharing him (on one level) with a public that believes they know the man as you do. That’s the nature of the audience/artist relationship. Through the music, one builds up experiences, shares memories through that music, and builds up a certain relationship with that artist. Is it based on truth? In some ways, yes, it’s a side of themselves that they decide willingly to give to the public and hence the public embraces (or not). But it is rarely the full picture - hence the terms, public life and private life. However, with that sharing comes the things you can’t control, be it for the public figure or the familial circle that orbits him. The stories you cannot censor, the opinions you cannot change, and the preconceptions that will always come with the territory.

And of course as expected, with the publishing of my father's memoirs there are already those coming out with their criticisms of what is in the book, why he chose to write it, the timing of it, and so on (and ON….his tone, his cover photo, the font used, his hairline etc.). You name it, the media and public will critique it and not always kindly. In fact, that’s putting it mildly. Just visit a forum on any website and you will see how scathing people can be. As far as I’m concerned, ‘comment sections’ are a coward’s way for people to be as mean as snakes without any consequence, covert bullying if you will. And that’s not always easy to read as a child, whether your father is a coal miner or a politician. Humans by nature are protective, but thankfully my father needs no protecting, his skin is MUCH thicker than mine.

So no, I won’t be answering those critics; it’s not worth the effort to lift my fingers to type (although the uninformed genius that said my father stole the song, ‘My Way’ needs to go learn a few things about songwriting and publishing). But what I will say is this, my father is a man that has had a colorful life to say the least. He has included things in his memoirs that may greatly surprise people – and not match the ‘perception’ they always had of him - he may enlighten others, and of course, he may piss a few people off, but then that’s what any good memoir does. I figure if you’ve lived, and I mean really lived, you’re bound to have rubbed a few people the wrong way; not to mention if you have a good publisher, you’ll certainly have people talking about it.

Regrets, does he have a few? I’m sure he’d certainly admit to that. Did he make mistakes? He’s human (as are all our public figures, we simply choose to idolize them instead), not a god. But this is definitely a man that has lived his life 'his way' to the very fullest and that kind of certainty, confidence and drive was always something I found fascinating.

Then again, you may wholeheartedly disagree. And guess what, you’re perfectly entitled to (just don’t email me about it. :-)
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