Dear Friends

DF 26 - It's probably in the detail

December 2002

Dear Friends,


I am writing this in my semi-basement apartment in Los Angeles, from the penumbra of which I travel each day to our cavernous rehearsal studio near Burbank airport, a friendly little place that handles S.W. Airlines and plenty of General Aviation. If you turn right off Hollywood Way into Winona the entrance to the parking lot is just a short way along. There's an old Winnebago backed up against the wall, the sun blinds are down.

We have started the new Deep Purple record and we are in the writing phase. In January we shall commence recording. We are all in a good mood and that's all I'm going to say about this project until it's finished. There will be no progress reports, no hints or clues, no teasers…no details. This time I'm going to wait until it's done. I've been hoist by my own Sergeant Petard before, and this time, No Sir, that's it, the final word on the subject.

However, the only breaks we've had so far have been for eating and sleeping. Roger, conveniently, lives in the apartment next door so occasionally we share some pasta or a laundry basket (?).

Paicey lives across the way, Steve's down the corridor a bit and Don is in the next block.

Enterprise Car Rentals would not rent me a car. I showed them a photo ID credit card style driving licence, with a pretty blue flag and some gold stars; it's a couple of years old and replaces the soggy bit of paper we Brits used to wave under ferners' noses, in the days of empire and marmite. Oh no, says the Enterprise team, we need an international licence. But…this is the very latest, computerised licence. I have used it all over the world…see that? It's a Euro Flag, symbol of magnificence…International? Internazionale? We invented the word.

I am a Hertz-No-1-Gold-Card-Red-Flag-VIP-First-Class-Diplomatique-Status-Presidentially-Equipped(?)-Most-Revered-Customer and European-Citizen (Well I wouldn't go that far)…But Sir, It says here U.K. so that can't be international can it (rhet).

I gave up and five minutes later rented a car from Hertz using the same licence. I found out later that Paicey had rented a vehicle from Enterprise using the old cardboard British licence, which does, I admit, carry a few French words by way of translation under one or two of the more important headings, thereby…making …it…international…oh, I get it!


I received a call from the England Cricket Selectors yesterday. They want me to play as an all rounder in the final test against Australia, in Sydney, January 2nd and 3rd. Open the batting with Vaughan, then bowl fast right arm from one end and spin from the other, whilst fielding second slip to my own bowling (so I won't have to run on the wicket) at the same time as umpiring without the aid of cameras. This is the only way we're going to beat the Aussies, let's face it…unless, of course, we are able to reverse forty years of LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) thinking in English schools…No! You must not run so fast young fella-me-lad, what about poor puffing Billy back there. Can you imagine how traumatised he will be for the rest of his life because he can't keep up…have some consideration won't you and run at his pace…and what about the girls, let them play with you, do you have to be so manly all the time…it's just a game you know…winning isn't everything. And, see that great big field of grass in the middle of the council estate…No Ball Games.

Unfortunately I think I'm going to be tied up in the studio.


When you have lived for a while with your own intelligence it becomes less necessary to analyse each little thing. You make a bank of information in your mind and weigh it with judgement according to the environment in which you have developed.

Every now and then, when some fresh information arrives, you dust down the files and reassess your position. The issue may then be promoted or relegated in the league of importance.

The complexity of human nature can only be appreciated from a distance, and when we do stand back the details become less significant. You can smell the earth and breath the air…think of other things, perhaps more important than the vendetta on your border, the driving idealism, negligence, corruption or plain stupidity and incompetence of your own government, or the rabid fundamentalism of your witchdoctors.

Detailed life is unavoidable but certainly improvable, wouldn't you say.

Details…Mere details.

The British Navy has three aircraft carriers, two are out of action. When they are ready, the health and safety officer for the yard in Scotland…sorry I can't be more specific than that for security reasons…oh, you knew the whereabouts already, it was in the papers, really? Ah…anyway they can't to war because they have the wrong soap on board, thus offering poor submariners the chance of a less than acceptable standard of hygiene (I made that bit up, but the truth is something equally banal). So if anyone's expecting a submarine upalong their coastline in the next few months, don't worry…it's not going to happen until Tesco restocks with Imperial Leather.


Smacking your child, hey it's an issue.

British TV…'here is the result of our poll….95% of parents are in favour of having the right to smack their children.'

The presenter proceeds to quote four e-mail correspondents, three of them are along the lines…'if it's wrong to offer violence to an adult then why should it not be wrong to offer violence to a child?' In other words, no-smack-under-any-circumstances lobbyists.

But!...that is 75% of editorial (powerful stuff) content which reflects the opposite view in response to the voters in their own poll…think about it for a second, before considering the smacking problem, think about the manipulation, the political media. They form our thinking, we must be careful.

Of course parents want the right to smack their children, but they don't think of it that way do they?

No loving parent wants to smack a child, but sometimes you have to. I have a theory that every child needs to be smacked three times in their life.

First, when they are three years old to stop them killing themselves with boiling water or uncontained electricity.

Secondly, the dirty deed should be done at the middle stages of adolescence, to stop them being overly rude and perhaps as a foil to social vandalism.

Thirdly, a year later, just for the crack.

That's it, no problem. I think it's very simple; most, the vast majority of, parents understand quite easily the difference between a slap and a beating.


I have just watched again Robert Downing's excellent 1972 movie called Greaser's Palace, it's a V.I.M.


A new discovery in letter writing…a new etiquette…

At the Japanese Tea Ceremony, your host, after much detailed preparation, will present your cup. You notice there is an indentation facing towards you. This is a humble offering that indicates the giver's respect for you.

It was explained to me that you have two choices…the first is to do nothing and accept the position.

The second is to swivel the cup back through forty five degrees on its axis. This effectively says 'Thank you for the honour, but really, I am no better than you.'

There is a third option that other cultures might consider to be the most correct. It would be to turn the groove ninety degrees back to face your host, thus returning the compliment. This is unacceptable to the Japanese, if I remember correctly from my wise teacher, because it demeans the original gesture.

However with the increased usage of initials in signing in and out of correspondence on the net, I have noticed the developing employment of lower case for hello and lower case for goodbye…is this the third option in a cyber tea ceremony?

Hello rb…goodbye, ig

Hello ig…Cheers, jp.

Details…mere details

Have a wonderful festive season if it's your time of year, and if not then just have a wonderful time.

Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2002

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