Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Boy Who Heard Music [UPDATED]

Pete Townshend had announced on his website that he will soon be publishing a novella he wrote a few years ago, 'The Boy Who Heard Music,' on-line in a serialized form. He'll be posting it to the "Diary" section of his website as well as to a new blog he set up especially for this project:

On the Who's American tour of 2000, when we kicked off the second leg, we stayed in Florida for a part of a week to get our bearings and to enjoy a little sun and sea air. On Sunday, September 24th, I began work on the first draft of a radio play called The Boy Who Heard Music.

I subsequently worked on various scripted adaptations of the story for radio, movie and television. I even envisaged a kind of simple webcast theatre event. In February and March of 2002 I spent about six weeks writing it out longhand, as what I suppose might be called a 'Novella' as it is a little longer than a conventional short story.

On Saturday the 24th of September, the fifth anniversary of the day I sketched out the plot by the Atlantic in Florida, I am beginning a serialization of the novella of The Boy Who Heard Music on the internet.

This will be a text only offering posted on my diary pages here, and also on a Blog site at so that comments can be posted by those reading it. Who fans will find the story especially interesting I think. In many ways it is a vanity, it refers to some of my best ideas, but also perhaps to some of my worst.

So return here on 24th September. The posting will go up at 1600 UT. So here in the UK it will appear at 1700 GMT. In New York at 1200 EST. In Japan at 0200 etc.

UPDATE: In the comments section of the first Chapter of The Boy Who Heard Music Pete has posted a little more about his purpose in doing this serialized novella on-line rather than in a more traditional media:
Some comments have asked whether this posting is valid, or whether it attempts to sidestep the usual interactions between author and reader. (And maybe even to sidestep mainstream criticism).

This novella has been designed to illicit response as it travels and unfolds. It is as much a place for others to reflect their own ideas, and to place themselves inside my ideas if they wish, as a good song. Or I hope it is.

I am not trying to write conventional fiction here. I am trying to use the internet in a new way. This novella is ABOUT who I believe we are today and how we choose to reach out to each other. You may not like my approach.

My genre, rock and pop, is always more about the audience than the artist. It just doesn't always seem that way. In this genre the artist is also a part of the audience.

I can do this serialization in this way because I am already famous as an artist in a new and still evolving genre. I can put up this novella and create a dialogue that engages all of our ideas and thoughts as an audience. We, the audience, have massive powers today that we didn't have forty years ago.
You can read his full comments here.

UPDATE: All the chapters and many of the comments from Pete Townshend's The Boy Who Heard Music blog have been removed from the blogspot site and archived at his main website:


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.