Please do not take this letter personally my Jonathan polyrhythmic syncopation musical genre dislike referencing friends, as I also have similar issues with Cher and R. Kelly.
In your 80s anthemic ballad ''Turn Back The Clock'', you indicate that were you to have the ability to travel to the past you would would put it to use not by perhaps preventing the birth of historical tyrants such as Adolf Hitler, or changing the course of the Titanic by a few degrees, or, controversially, instigating technical problems preventing Kanye West’s Bohemian Rhapsody 'performance' at Glastonbury in 2015, but instead restrict yourself to wanting to be a bit younger because you are holding an old snap of yourself, can’t sleep and are a bit teary after another day is ended.
Also I am sorry to shatter your dreams but must challenge your assertion that life was so much better before in all respects. Rather than having to keep dialing and getting the engaged tone when trying to order a takeaway before scrambling around to find the right change, and waiting half an hour for a tape of ''The Man Would Be King'' to rewind on the VHS before I can watch it again, I now press one button on my mobile phone and another on Netflix and can be tucking into a Chicken Dopiazi and seeing Sean Connery get his watch back on the train within twenty minutes!
I see we are of like-minds, for I pondered the very same questions long before I actually wrote ‘Turn Back The Clock’. I knew full well that, if I could indeed travel back in time, it would be my duty to attempt to avert war, disaster and tragedy. But in so doing, would I not alter the space-time-continuum with uncontrollable consequences?? It was a dilemma that haunted me for the whole weekend before I actually wrote the aforementioned ‘classic anthem’ (journalists’ words, not mine) so beloved by the World (my words). Or at least, quite a lot of people I know (also my words).
Where you completely miss the point is that the song was secretly alluding to the fact that I had already achieved time travel. Yes, yes, go ahead and scoff….but have you ever wondered what happened to that old Leo Sayer mug of yours? Yup, I stole it and gave it to a lowly child born in a manger over 2000 years ago, who in later life copied Leo’s hairstyle and became god. So who’s laughing now?
Think for a minute. I wrote that ‘legendary ballad’ (journalist’s words, not mine) in 1986. Yes, I would have already known about Hitler and the Titanic, but how else would I have known that, in the future, Kanye West would perform ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ so appallingly that it would propel NASA to develop a plan to colonise Mars?
The fact is, I DID change the course of history. There were many terrible events I managed to avert, that the World consequently never had to experience. But alas, I was merely one ‘wonderful songsmith’ (journalists’ words, not mine) faced with a whole Universe of need.
So what exactly did I do upon my time-travelling escapades?
Well, by way of example, Liberace was on course to becoming a maniacal third world despot before I sat him down in front of a diamond-encrusted grand piano and taught him to play ‘Hooray For Hollywood’. The rest, as they say, is history. Again, you think Bruce Forsyth was simply destined to be the great all-round entertainer that we all know and love? You have no idea, do you?! He was about to lead a blood-thirsty crusade in an attempt to convert Eastbourne to Methodism, when I put a microphone in his hand and taught him to tap-dance. Had it not been for my ‘selfless actions’ (possibly my words), many lives would have been lost. No, no, I don’t mean they would have died. I mean they would have got lost because this was before the advent of Sat Nav, and not many people knew where the local Methodist church was. Instead, Brucie brought us more joy on Saturday ight telly than one man has the right to give in a lifetime!
And as for Kanye West? Well, he was planning to tour the World with a show entitled ‘Kanye’s Hip-Hop Homage To British Rock’, which included truly dreadful acapella versions of ‘Stairway To Heaven’, ‘Nights In White Satin’ and ‘Kinky Boots’. This time, I had to be more drastic….more, dare I say, ruthless. I locked him in a bathroom with nothing but a cup of tea and a packet of Custard Creams until he promised to call it off – and it worked, after a whole afternoon which he seemed to actually quite enjoy, cause he asked me for a refill and some chocolate hobnobs. I mean, I couldn’t say no, could I? I’m not a fucking monster, you know!!
Or…am I? Do I feel proud of my methods, you ask? Did it change me? Alas, for I fear my twisted soul will never recover. All I know is, I had to do what I had to do….and damn the consequences. Self-sacrifice is just part of the job of being a ‘rock n’ roll saviour’ (Barnsley Evening News).
However, it was with a heavy heart that I had to allow the one-off performance of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to go ahead. For had I not, a certain child in the audience would have grown up to be naught but a simple waif. Fortunately, she saw the performance and was so disillusioned, she decided to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk….and one day, she will be the most wonderful Dalai Lama the World has ever seen.
So there you have it. I’m not just a ‘100% solid gold entertainer’ (journalists’ words, not mine), am I? And yes, you can harp on about the fact that Netflix is better than VHS tapes, but is that what the measure of a fulfilling life has been reduced to these days? In our insatiable advance toward the omnipresence of technology, haven’t we lost something along the way? Were not the 1980’s more innocent years, when we were not entirely sure if lasagne was from Italy or Greece, and drinking a can of Lilt was seen as a step towards multi-culturalism? And what of the future? Where are we heading?? Does anyone know????
I will leave you with this rather stark warning. Artificial Intelligence will develop to such proportions that it will seek to gain dominion over nation after nation, and nothing can stop it.
All except one man….
And with that, I must bid you adios!
The ‘voice that launched a thousand ships’ (journalists’ words, not mine) of JOHNNY HATES JAZZ
*The author unfortunately forgot to sign his name at the end of his letter.