Questions - you got 'em; answers - we got 'em

45 - forgiveness, intimidation, Bob Marley, visual bewilderment, cringe makers

From: (Craig Hooper)

Mr Gillan,
I expect you receive many odd and esoteric ramblings from odd and esoteric ramblers. Here's another one.

I do, in fact, have many sensible questions regarding your music and views but it's been one of those days of unmoving interior air which has caramelised the remaining sensible parts of my brain. Sorry.

I feel under pressure now to produce something decidedly odd and esoteric for your consideration. I think I'll allow my fingers to type on their own for a short while and see what happens. Aha. Divine perspiration has come my way. More thought provoking and sad than odd and esoteric, though.

A colleague of mine has just mentioned a rather tragic story she's working on (I'm a journalist, allegedly investigative, but don't hold that against me. I know your generally held views on journos but I only chase bad people. And I'm writing to you because I'm a fan (not only of your music, but also your esoteric rumblings) - not because I want to do a story... however, if you want a writer/tv producer/ reporter/ journalist to chronicle a year in the life of DP around the world, I would consider it... although my wife and child might decry the idea...)

Asides aside, where was I?

Oh yes. She's doing a story (I use the term story in the professional journalistic sense - in real life, we realise it's more than just a story, it's someone's life) about a (very nice, very sensible) girl who's been a quadraplaegic (completely paralyzed from the neck down, for the benefit of non-english speaking readers) since the age of two. She was hit by a man in a car - a complete accident. Now, wracked by years of guilt, and following a similar tragedy to his own daughter (who, I believe, died after being hit by a car), the driver wants to meet this girl, who's fast approaching her 18th birthday, and say sorry.

My colleague mentioned this to the girl. She said that if she could, she'd personally run him down in her car to let him see what it's like to be paralyzed from the neck down.

The question that springs to mind (and I'm not asking you in the search for a definitive answer, because there isn't one. But your musings are often wise, ridiculous, squiffy and inspirational, and I thought the question could use some wisdom and inspiration - squiff and ridicule don't really apply), is: is it ok for thoughts of revenge to overawe forgiveness? Ever? It's easy to say "forgive and forget", but could you?

It's a question that's got me thinking beyond the pain and tragedy of the real-life situation at hand. It applies to many frightening situations around the world. Do you think the thirsty and starving kids under the bridge in Beirut should forgive the Americans? If no, who becomes the bad guy?

I realise this has turned into a bit of a long essay and isn't really odd and esoteric anymore. But I know you answer questions on the Q&A pretty randomly. So if you apply some of your wisdom to it, great. If you don't, it won't have wasted your time and will float for eternity (when's that then?) in the electronic ether. I'll write again with more relevant (and much shorter) Purple/Gillan questions (I have many).

Good luck.
Craig Hooper

PS - Hope to see you at the Bristol show if I can blag a ticket from an unofficial "vendor" outside on the night. Had tickets to the Cardiff gig but missed it due to illness (not mine).

Hello Mr. Hooper,
Thanks for the letter. The complexities of human nature, eh?

Regarding your colleague's story, I remember being in the band car (1969, I think) when we were involved in a fatal accident in West London after returning from a gig in the West Country. I went to the Coroner's Court to give evidence in support of our road manager who was driving the car.

It was a tragic old man returning from a night shift on his bicycle, with no rear light. He pulled out in front of our car in a dark place and was knocked over. He banged his head on the the ground and later died.

During the few days leading up to the inquest I wanted to phone the old man's family and express my sadness and sympathy. Our solicitor told me that I was not, under any circumstances, to make contact. He explained that this would be viewed from a legal position as an admission of guilt.

That really hurt. I could not grasp the value of such inhumanity. It was wrong of course, (bad, rotten advice) but I was too young to stand up to the establishment. How much better it would have been to have had a hug and shared the grief.

As you say, quite rightly, there is no answer to something like this, but shifting perspectives can sometimes help.

Yes, those Palestinian refugees should forgive the Americans, because that bridge in Beirut was not built to give offence, it was only the thoughtless sign (The American Highway) that caused the trouble, and now look where we are.

Forgetting is another story I suppose.Those kids are grown up now and probably know better, but it all gets lost in the red mist doesn't it.

It's often said that these things are too complex for simple solutions, because each party has a different agenda and no one is speaking the same language.

I remember, immediately after the Good Friday agreement in Belfast, when both sides refused to use the same words to articulate a mutually acceptably deal. There was a period of tragi-comic paraphrasing on our TVs, and I thought it would never end; but the corner had been turned,and we've come quite a way since. As a consequence the ever-inflammatory media has turned it's attention to other self serving interests in it's constant effort to create news.

Sorry, I don't mean to hammer on about the media, but all the good it does is outweighed by the mischief making and cant. It's the old story of power and corruption. N. Ireland is now slipping down the divisions of the Hot News League at a time when an altered and positive focus from the pundits could be most beneficial in the healing process. It is sad and wrong.

Incidentally, anyone know what's going in on in Haiti these days? I'll bet THAT is worth 'investigating!'

In answer to your other small question, I would say that Eternity is something that started some time ago, way before the big bang. It's relative to Infinity and they each have a constantly shifting coincidental fulcrum, upon which you alone are standing at this very moment.

Cheers, ig

From: (martyn miller)

Dear Ian,
I have seen you and the band many times over the years and have enjoyed every show I have seen. I was in the garden when you did the channel 4 Big Breakfast show in England a few years back. I was happy to meet you and the rest of the band and even happier when you signed a copy of your autobiography for me, and then took it round the rest of the band to sign.

My questions are,
1. Are there any celebrities, dead or alive, who even with your fame, you would be nervous of approaching with a view to getting their autograph.
2. Do you ever feel intimidated by meeting anyone these days. 3. Do you ever crave some anoniminity
4. Will you ever contemplate putting Garth Rockett back on the road

Many thanks,see you on the next Uk tour

Dear Martyn, Thanks for your letter and questions. I remember the Breakfeast show well. I have sung 'Smoke' in some weird and wonderful places, but that takes some beating for location and time of day (dawn).

1) I wouldn't be nervous, but maybe wary. I have had a couple of bad experiences, when asking for autographs for my daughter when she was little. I mention no names, but I was quite shocked to see how badly some 'so called' celebrities reacted to a simple request like that.

I'm not a collector myself, but if I was, then certainly Mohammed Ali, Nelson Mandela and the late Dusty Springfield would be prized signatures.

2) No, not really. I see the funny side mostly; it does so annoy the threatening types when you smile at their postures.

3) Strangely enough, no.

My self perception may be a bit weird anyway; I don't think of myself as a celebrity. I am surprised when I'm recognised in the street. I have hardly ever had a problem, people are always friendly and polite.

I think if you go out jogging in Hyde Park with ten minders and the corps de filth in train, you can expect a few problems along the line.

4) As far as I know Garth is out there somewhere...still doing it. He is my alter ego and I have no influence over his lunatic ways.

Cheers, ig

From: (Dave)

Hi Ian,
our paths have crossed many times in the past 14 years. You probably don't remember, but I do, and you (and the band) have always been the most pleasant people to be around, thanks for that.

I was curious if you have any stories to tell about Bob Marley. I see that recorded on Island together, did you by chance get to sit in and watch a few rehearsals? If so, that must be an excellent memory because Bob was truly an original musician.

I hope all is well, it looks like the band is doing great, (I heard your new tour manager is a bit tough, but I haven't met him of course), looking forward to new songs,

Dave and Karina in Sarasota

Hello Dave and Karina,

Thanks for your letter.

I played table tennis a few times with Bob Marley, but that's about it. He was a most convivial bloke.

Where did you hear that the new tour manager was a bit tough? It's quite untrue, he's a pussycat.

Cheers, ig

From: "Niforatos,Christopher A." (

Mr. Gillan,
What, if any, are your favorite American sports and corresponding teams?

Christopher A. Niforatos, P.E.
Senior Water Resources Engineer

Mr. Niforatos,

Many thanks for your interesting question.

I spent quite some time in Orlando so I got attached to the Magic, even though I have no idea what I'm watching.

Cheers, ig

From: (Gary Blonder)

Dear Ian,
I am a schoolteacher and I like to think I'm a good one, but not every lesson I have taught has been a good one! Are there any IGB / Gillan / Sabbath / DPmk2 or 7 songs that you cringe at the thought of? (...ending in a preposition??? 4/10 & detention - Steve)

Yours Sincerely
Gary Blonder

Dear Gary,
Yes there are, quite a lot actually, but occasionally I am stunned to hear somebody professing to love a song that I despaired of long ago. Then I realise that, once published, they don't belong to me any more, so I tend to keep quiet about it; I just cringe in private. I believe schoolteachers develop similar habits, or so it would seem after observing my mother for many years.

Cheers, ig

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