Dear Robin…

Dear Robin Williams,

The first time that I saw you, you played Adrian Cronauer in ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’. I couldn’t have been older than eight years old and recall vividly how your manic, upbeat and powerful comedy put a big smile on my face, eventhough I didn’t understand half of what the movie was about. And that wasn’t the point at the age of eight. The point was to laugh and to keep that smile there.

The second time I saw you, I didn’t recognise you. You were Mork for the first time, in an episode of ‘Happy Days’ on TV. When one of my brothers pointed you out, I was so happy to know you did even more amazing characters. I was sold, no matter what you did. ( Although we can both safely agree that Bicentennial Man was a bit shite…)

Time went by and as I grew up, I also became aware of other movies that didn’t star you, until I found out you were playing in amazing ones such as ‘Ms. Doubtfire’, ‘Jumanji’, ‘Awakenings’ ( which is still one of my favorites to date), ‘Hook’ ( where you played with so many of my personal heroes that you couldn’t do wrong at all!’), ‘What Dreams May Come’, ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen’ ( although it was difficult recognising you) and many more gems that coloured and brightened my childhood and along that my writing and comedy styles.

Your comedy went beyond movies and your stand-up shows are my favorite to watch of any foreign comedian by far. You took us on a magic carpet ride and didn’t let go until we safely got to the end. I have lost track as to how many times I broke up in laughter because of you and every time I faced a dark period in my life, I would turn on your shows to lighten th eday and be inspired again to make jokes, to laugh and just be myself again.

Your laughter is one I can still not imitate to this date, despite me knowing a lot of your jokes and voices by heart. I is a unique laugh that displayed a sense of joy and love. And this is where I am sad. Because I recognise your sadness too, the darkness that you fought and struggled with, and not just yourself.

The last time I saw you, I was watching ‘Awakenings’ again. It had been a while since I saw your face and wanted to see you in a different light than just your comedy side. You had a talent I have not seen in anyone else. Maybe some come close, but your star went up farther and shone brighter.

I can only hope that you are now in a better place, Robin. Thank you for making me laugh when I needed it the most and know that, although we have never met, you are a big part of my childhood and you inspired me in so many ways than you could possibly imagine.

Rest well, oh captain my captain.

Good Morning, Vietnam!

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Cause And Effect…

makingnoiselink

A while ago I was asked what caused me to become a musician and I guess I had never really thought about it. In hindsight, one of those reasons was that due to the fact I was bullied badly as a kid in primary- and in highschool, I never worried about it. I had other issues.

When I was a kid of around ten years old, new people moved into the house next door. I was later told by my parents that our neighbour was a drummer. It caused a lot of feedback for me, in the sense that I wanted to know more about drumming and how it worked. Making noise was always fun during musical lessons in primary school, but until that point I had never really focused on it, let alone played something coherent and functional. My father then told me that, apart from being a trumpet player in his navy days, he also played snaredrum. I subsequently received his old drumsticks, which became my first pair to start practice with.

My neighbor liked the fact that I was so interested in drumming and allowed me to occasionally come round their house to play on the kit. He then introduced me to his drum teacher. I was only being taught to play a short amount of time, as my parents were unable to afford it and the teacher was basically doing it in between lessons of my neighbor and also for free. I didn’t mind. I loved the fact I was surrounded by several drumkits and two guys playing them.

When the drum teacher left ( his rundown old farm at the outskirts of Colmschate was scheduled to be demolished as a new shoppingmall and neighborhood was planned for construction), so ended my drum lessons as well, but by this point I was in high school and signed up for the school band on the wednesday night. Regularly playing with other musicians improved my playing and got me working out my own songs, that I had been writing since the age of twelve.  I should point out most of these songs were horrible pop songs that wouldn’t have looked bad on a boyband resume, but at least I started to learn how to write music.

Apart from the aforementioned neighbor and my drum teacher, I was regularly introduced to new music by my brothers and my parents, steadily and carefully shaping my own personal preferences. My biggest inspiration was Phil Collins when I began, learning from him how to set the drumkit up if I had to play again and how to play cross-armed. His songwriting was also a major inspiration on my own work and continues to be till this day. Other inspirations that began at a very early age were Peter Gabriel, Genesis, The Police, Queen, Pink Floyd and The Eagles.

As for inspirations today, there’s too much to mention really. I’m a big fan of Ray Wilson, Steve Hackett, IQ, Marillion, Fish, Sound of Contact but also of Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Frost*, Dec Burke, Threshold, Maria Mena ( surprisingly, I admit but I love her music) Tinyfish and Devin Townsend. And that’s just a glimpse into the collection of music I have! I should point out that, although my favorite bands are on the prog heavy side, I do love pop and rock music as well. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s definitely helped in that respect 🙂