I recently dug out some old papers to share with a friend, regarding a mutual love of a particular recording artist who goes by the name of Peter Gabriel.
If you’ve been with me over the years, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m a bit of a fan girl when it comes to all things PG.
I became a PG convert during his “So” album period. Oh sure, I was familiar with some of his earlier work, but at the time I was also very immersed in the musical stylings of Steve “Mom Jeans” Perry. PG in the early 80s was far too esoteric for this mainstream, arena rock-lovin’ girl.
But once to PG to you never go back, or so they say, and my fandemonium culminated in seeing him in concert in 1986 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. Long story short? The concert changed my life. Changed. My. Life.
As in, my life was changed, like, forever.
I liken it to a religious experience; a 3-day stay in a sweat lodge; a visit to the other side—you know, the place where little Carol Ann in Poltergeist went—and back.
In other words, it was a really good concert.
My story actually begins here, as the local music critic for the Dallas Times Herald deemed PG’s show as being “swallowed by” and too “subtle” for the venue and the times.
Imagine you’re 19, a bit high strung and you’ve just had a soul changing experience, one that has left you seeing the world anew and you find out that some douchebag critic calls your sweat lodge experience ‘flat.’
Oh, I was pissed. And an English major.
I let my pen right with might. I crafted a scathing tome of a letter, pouring my heart into each sentence, filling no less than four pages (typed and single spaced) with facts, figures and just the right amount of stinging sarcasm.
Then I sent it off to the paper.
Turns out, they could not deny me. (Okay, they denied me roughly 22 paragraphs, but they did include a choice few, as evidenced for all time here:)
I am still saddened that they left of the final sentence of the original letter, my coup de grace, if you will, where I wrote: “If anyone sheds a less than heavenly light on the avant-guardian angel Gabriel, there’d better be hell to pay.”
I was so buoyed by defending my idol’s honor that I decided to make copies of the review, my original letter, my unedited letter (I’d be damned if PG wasn’t going to get to hear that line about the avant-guardian angel), and I’d send them off to Peter’s offices in Bath, England.
And while I was at it, I’d just happen to toss in a poem I wrote for him, inspired by this song.
(Remember, English major = Yes, I really AM that deep):
Little hands with big intentions indeed!
I can’t even begin to count the number of Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra Light Menthols that fueled the creation of that one.
So I sealed it all up with a kiss and sent it off.
Imagine my utter and complete freak out when, a few months later, I got a letter in the mail with a return postage mark that looked like this:
Okay, I realize you can’t make it out so I’ll help out: Bath, England.
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
Turns out, Peter’s assistant wrote me back. This is what she wrote:
I know this post is a bit of a ride down a particularly indulgent memory lane that may or may not be of interest to a single blog reader out there on the internet (except for Sarah and Chalkley), but at the end of my life, I’m going to know that Peter Gabriel’s assistant passed all of my papers over to him personally and he got to see how a brilliant young writer from Grapevine, Texas, defended his honor against the tyranny of the unenlightened, bourgeois American free press.
And like Bill Murray once said in Caddyshack, “So I got that goin’ for me…which is nice.”
And that, dear blog readers, is also part of the story entitled, “Why I became a graphic designer.”