Again, I find myself apologising for my silence. My spirits have been somewhat down given the hostility I’ve received over the things I’ve been saying about the homeless, the blind, the deaf, polygamists, the people of Warwick, midgets, Tanya Byron, and the nozels on the Electrolux Cyclone Ultra Z7310 Cylinder vacuum cleaner. It seems I can’t say anything that doesn’t upset somebody somewhere. Over the weekend I came very close to closing the blog and never opening my mouth again.
But, you know me. I find it impossible not to speak my mind. I have instead decided that, in the future, I am going to be more sensitive to people and their feelings. No more will I mock people’s ways of life, nor be judgemental about the way they live or look. I said as much this morning when a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses turned up at the door. I’d normally give them directions on the sharp end of my boot, but remembering my new vow to be nice to people, I instead gave them a few moments of my time. I think it demonstrates what a changed Richard you see before you.
‘Sir,’ said the woman (there were two at my door, a man and a woman), ‘do you know why bad things happen?’
That, I thought, was a leading question. I’ve asked enough of those in my time to spot one.
‘Bad things happen,’ I replied, ‘because good people allow them to happen.’
She smiled and her male friend at her elbow began to chuckle in a breathless whisper. His hand reached for his pocket. When it came back, I thought he was about to shave when he pushed something that looked like a Braun Pulsonic shaver to his throat. Turns out it was an electronic voicebox.
‘Bad things happen because people have lost faith in the word of the Lord,’ he buzzed.
‘Wow!’ I replied.
The woman misinterpreted me.
‘You are a man of the Lord?’
‘I’m more of a man who likes a cool looking gadget,’ I replied and turned back to the man and his amazing sound. ‘Can I have a go of that?’
He looked somewhat shocked, not knowing my early years in electronic music when me and Brian Eno did amazing things with noise and created the age of the electronic synthesizer.
‘This is a medical device,’ he returned. 'It's not a toy!'
‘Oh, don’t give me that,’ I laughed. ‘Even Fred the Weatherman used to let me try his truss on for size.’
He looked at me long and hard.
The woman just looked between the pair of us and clearly decided to get the conversation onto more inspired matters.
‘Are you interested in hearing more of the Lord’s words?’ she asked.
‘I am if he uses something like that,’ I replied.
She shrugged. ‘Close enough,’ she said and grabbed her friend by the arm. ‘Come, Morris. This gentleman has invited us inside.’ He started to protest but she shushed him quiet. ‘Beggars can’t be choosers,’ she told him and the turned to me. ‘Two sugars for both of us.’
Well, I made them coffee and then spent an hour listening to God’s words spoken as though the Darleks had joined forces with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the end, we parted with my agreeing to think some more about their message but in reality with an idea for a new album of ambient noises. I’ll be ringing Eno later this afternoon (I got his answerphone when I tried a few minutes ago) and hope to be in the recording studio before Christmas.
Not that you’re interested in any of this. But it does go to show what happens when you begin to be a bit more considerate about people, sensitive to their needs, and not mock them for the beliefs. In fact, I feel quite proud that I’ve started on the long road to make me a kinder, politer, more caring and politically correct man.
Now, some voice box facts. Did you know that the humming bird flaps its wings faster than the human voice box can vibrate? In fact, the first example of an artificial human voice box is that of an ancient South American tribe who used a hummingbird trapped inside a jam jar. So popular was this practise that it is still considered the main cause for the decline in the world’s population of hummingbirds.