Before autumn arrived, I returned to The Temple at Cleve and invited Mum to come and stay in the cottage there. She had drinking problems of her own, and had isolated herself in the villa in Menorca I’d bought for her and Dad many years before. I thought we might help each other. I suppose this attempt at solidarity in alcoholism was as mad as Mum thinking that sending me off to live with her crazy mother Denny might help me – but I found The Temple a peaceful and restorative place, and I imagined it might help Mum too.
It did help us both for a few days, but I quickly became impatient with Mum’s self-obsession. I went to the local bookshop in Wallingford and bought Remembrance of Things Past by Proust. I took long walks while Mum cooked food I couldn’t eat – usually strange Spanish fish dishes – and did endless crosswords in the puzzle magazine she bought in the village when I wasn’t reading.
In September 1981 Chris Thomas and Bill Price started on my solo album Chinese Eyes at Oceanic. We only worked for a week or so before we got stuck. The problem was that the songs I had written were incredibly hard to perform. Chris had to start work on an album in Paris with Elton, so I was forced to face the fact that I wouldn’t make the revised November delivery date Atlantic was hoping for.
Text: Pete Townshend, Who I Am, New York, Harper Collins, 2012