Why music and art has always been the answer and never the question.
Facilitate the growth of creative social entrepreneurs and enterprise(s); those enterprises who through film, music, art(s) provide a voice and a vehicle for
other social enterprises or not for profits
development opportunities for youth.
The Henry Rollins story project is a great example of how and why musicians and creative people save lives.
Music saved my own young life years ago and today remains integral to my life and the lives of my family.
As a creative person it took me a long time to value my creativity, my very soul, at the top of the priority list. Something I learned perhaps the hard way but glad that I did. The older I get the more creative I seem to get or perhaps it’s more a reflection of caring less and less about the noise around me; the freedom to be.
A creative person not fulfilling their creative mind’s capacity is not just a loss for that artist but for the world around them.
I’ve had extreme anxiety and panic attacks and mild agoraphobia for about 4 years. I watched Henry at Salford this year and his attitude has helped a lot. In all aspects of his work, band, written or spoken word his attitude of, always keep busy, always the next destination, not sitting about has helped inspire me to get out and have since been kicking arse leaving my panic attack ridden days behind. I email Henry today about this, to say thanks, and he mailed back with some kind words. I’d like to contribute those words also.
Sent From: Ian
Watched you at the Lowry in Salford U.K the other week and it was really great man. Just wanted to say thanks for it, I’ve been having a shit time the past 4 years with panic attacks and anxiety and sort of became semi-agoraphobic, not to deal out some bullshit sob story, but yeah, the show really put a lot of things in perspective and have since been going out, on adventures around the U.K and gonna be moving around Europe, then the rest of the world seeing shit, and the one life, next destination, attitude you put across has helped me get the fuck out of the house. So cheers.
Also, you seemed a lot more upbeat and happier then in your Black Coffee Blues days, hope it wasn’t just a good day or a matter of keeping face on stage. Is the woman you spoke of at the Lowry the same girl from Smile, You’re Travelling? I hope stuff is going cool man, in all aspects of life. Hope you’re having a good time on this ball of shit dude.
Ian …and his reply…
“Ian, hey man. I had a good time that night. Now in raining Geneva Switzerland. I have a few more shows out here and then off to America for several weeks. The woman I am going out with is a relationship that’s about seven months old. She’s a very good person, very busy and happening on her own, which is really cool. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by things, I know. I am glad you got out to check out the show. You need to keep building on strengths and get better and better. Sounds like you’re on your way. It’s sometimes difficult having a brain that works, makes ya nuts sometimes. Hang in there. Henry”
Henry’s attitude has helped me make the most out of life and I will keep fighting for a better existence for myself and not settle for mediocrity, just like he says.
Some time in December 2008, I was working in a bookstore here in Sydney. It was a good job I guess, suited me just fine being an arts student. I got on well with the people I worked with, mostly because they thought I was a tad ʻout thereʼ so to speak. I was pissed off all the time. The years since I left school had not been the best, and with full-blown adulthood just around the corner, I didnʼt have much going for me. Multiple failed relationships and a degree that I couldnʼt see getting me anywhere had left me feeling somewhat lost. I responded accordingly – I picked up a set of weights, declared myself straight edge and started writing the most maniacal ʻthe world is a black pitʼ kind of stuff I could. One guy at my work was named Scott. Scott was one of those wannabe hipster types. Thick black rimmed Weezer glasses, a flannelette shirt buttoned all the way up to the top, modest plugs, tight jeans and those stupid slipper-type shoes. Scott was a bass player in a band that played gigs in and around the trendy hipster parts of town. Stanmore. Newtown. Surry Hills. You get the idea. Anyway, Scott one day came to me in the break room as I was sitting around staring off into space. He asked me if Iʼd heard of this guy called Henry Rollins. I said yeah, he was a guy in Jackass and Bad Boys 2. That was all I knew about Hank the Crank at that point. Scott said I should check out his stuff, his spoken word, his books, maybe Iʼd like them, seeing as he thought I was pretty much trying my best to impersonate Henry at the time.
Christmas rolled around soon after and I found in the pile that one of my far-off Aunts had sent me an iTunes gift voucher. Being the kind of guy that loved music and couldnʼt afford to buy CDʼs when there was fuel and car payments to be made, I was quite the downloader at that time, so the idea of paying for music – more or less – was quite alien to me. I thought about what Scott had said and decided to do a search on iTunes for this Henry Rollins guy. Sure enough, I typed it in and well shit. 20 or more albums of spoken word right there. I found the most recent – at the time, ʻTalk is Cheap, Volume 4ʼ. I redeemed the card and proceeded to start listening. Iʼve never looked back.
On December 25th, 2008, I found my idol. I found my role model. I found the person who I think every person on the planet should aspire to at least attempt to be like. And I donʼt mean a heavily tattooed, muscle-bound, former front man for a world-famous band. I mean a person free of prejudice, a person who defines what it means to be ʻtolerantʼ, a person who will never sit down, will never shut up, will never get old, will never get boring, will never become a lousy, complacent drone. A person who questions everything, who wants to know everything, who wants to do everything. I found someone who taught me how to be angry and make it count for something good. I found someone who taught me the meaning of the ʻIron Mindʼ, what it means to move from strength to strength, and to keep moving on and on. To this day I see weightlifting not as a means to attain a perfect body, but a means to challenge myself every day, to achieve a goal every day. I am angry all the time, but like the good Hank says – I donʼt kick dogs, I donʼt shake down pensioners for the sticky quarters at the bottom of their change purses. Iʼm just mad man! And Hank taught me that itʼs a good thing to be mad, to never sit down, to never shut up, to always be moving.
I just hope that at almost-50 I can be even half the man that he is. Henry is larger than life, to me, he means more to me than any sort of god ever could. I have written to him several times and been written back, and each time, even though his replyʼs are only a few lines in length, I feel like heʼs there for me. I feel like heʼs always there if I need him. Thanks to Hank, I am who I am today.
Back in the year 2009, while I was about to be 25, I found myself dealing with loads of pressure. It came in the shape of college works, a few bad experiences and all sorts. Being myself an old warrior, I usually deal with tense situations through music, be in the form of a music listener, or as a music composer. The problem was that my creative motor wasnʼt moving at all, so I decided to start lifting weights because of Henry Rollins, after reading an article he wrote called “The Iron and the Soul”. In this article, Henry talked how lifting weights basically changed his life, because he realized through lifting weights that he was the only one who could build himself into the man he desired, and no one else would do it for him. The concept hit me in the head and, a month after, I signed into a gym inspired by Henry and his concept of Self Building your own self.
A friend of mine says that hearing Henry’s “Black Coffee Blues” on the gym is like hearing Winston Churchill on the World War times, ‘cause it gives you a lot of stamina. It sure does, I can tell. There’s also another thing that had a deep impact in me. I realized that Henry handles himself as some kind of zen master, reminding us constantly that the real thing that matters is the present. It really shocked me at first, but now, that Iʼm 26, I can tell, thatʼs what really matters. Being present somehow means that youʼre alive, and not dead expecting for a future that isnʼt there, or being captive of a past that is already gone.
To me, Henry is a very resilient man… and he has a very solid concept of what is being on your own and how important that is… just like a wolf.
On Henry’s 49th birthday I wrote to him quite a long letter, wishing happy birthday as well as a happy celebration of the 40 years of Black Sabbath’s first album, since he’s an avid Sabbath Fan (I’m also a Sabbath fan as well) and even invited him to come down to my country to do some spoken word shows, so he could inspire young men and women to just kick out the jams, get out and meet the real world, and deal with people just as equals, like it should be. He replied and said that he have actually heard of my country, and even said that maybe someday he would come. That few words, made my day!
PS: Here’s an entry I wrote a month after I joined my college gym, on my personal blog.
“A strong body provides strong thoughts”
As part of a self therapy (I say self because I wanted to do so), a “ month ago I started to lift weights. Usually, the main reasons people ” go to a gym are either,for competition,to impress and meet girls, or just for the sake of being healthy.” The first time I went to a gym I was 19 or something like that, but I’m “ pretty sure that while I went there back then I hadn’t the right focus or “ motivation. I’m gonna be honest, I went there to just gain more “ muscle so I could impress the ladies. Neither of the two things happened, ‘cause later on I dropped the gym, being the main reason an evident lack of motivation.
Not much ago I heard that while you work out, your body liberates this weird thing called endorphins. This chemical compound is responsible for making every single human being to feel “happy” at some point. Realizing my constant situation of being most of the times sad, depressed, and even angry, I decided to join the gym again. I also noticed that I’ve gained some weight and I was feeling flabby. This time the motivation to join the gym was different. The motivation was me, just to compete with me, to see what
I’m made off, to see if I could persevere, or just quit like everyone else does.
I already knew that things that are really valuable are hard to get and go for. The day I wanted to register, I almost didn’t because of some weird rule the gym I wanted to join had back then, but I managed my way to finally getting what I wanted. Join the gym. First week was a pain in the ass. The first day, I couldn’t move my arm at all, and I even couldn’t play the guitar. That sort of worried me. Playing guitar is what keeps me sane. By the end of the week, I had to buy this weird thing athletes use to “relax” the muscles.
Second week was still being a pain in the ass, but I knew that it was part of the process. All the things one learns through life are just like that. At first, painful, but while you master the concept, it becomes part of you. Then I realized that sometimes you need to take a deep breath and take all the weight over you, patiently, and humbly. All what we learn is just like that. This scenario made me remember what I went through my first serious guitar classes. My guitar teacher had a very zen-like input to teach me guitar, and in every single class we had, he always would go and say: In order to learn something, one has to master two things: Patience and Humility.
Yes, being humble. It’s easy to feel like intimidated, or just want to go on “competition” mood while you see the other guys lifting weights heavier than yours, but that’s when ego breaks in, once you managed to somehow control it, you’re you and the pounds you gotta lift. That’s the only thing that matters at the moment. And it reminds me of being present. Henry Rollins once said that sometimes, one visualizes random thoughts while lifting weights. Things like “What I’m gonna do tomorrow”, or thinking in someone,
like the woman you like or youʼre in love with. While this happens, itʼs because youʼre not present and focused on what youʼre doing.
Being the process of lifting weights a challenging “moment”, itʼs quite normal to tend to remember all the things you’ve been through, all the people you’ve met, and of course, all the opportunities you let go. It’s like your mind starts to work like it never worked, trying to either, confuse you or give you more reasons to push your senses out (Quoting Rollinʼs Band song “Starve”).
While I was in my third week, I started to think more about the woman I liked back then. Her name is Ana, sheʼs an angel faced woman. I met her at the local Postal Office, because she worked there back then. Every time the weight bar was over me, and I seemed to implode, her image just appeared in my head. Every time this thing happened, I managed somehow to lift the bar one more time. I think somehow, she inspired me. A month after I started to lift weights, her image started to vanish. We had a silly argument, and we distanced ourselves slowly until we never saw each other again. I don’t blame her for being the way she is. But something weird happened. As her face disappeared from my thoughts, my strength arose. I must admit that some things have changed inside my mind, for good I believe. Some others just became stronger, just like my body got back then. But what’s most important, I’m learning to push my senses out…
“The iron never lies to you… People come and go… but 100 pounds are always 100 pounds” – Henry Rollins.
Carlos W. Murgueitio Roa, 26 Guayaquil, Ecuador
Right from an early age I remember the beatings from who I believed was my father. He didn’t need a reason so I spent most of my time avoiding doing anything that would get me another beating. I wasn’t perfect but never gave any reason for the horrible beatings I got. I remember once getting a beating because his daughter, my sister, had attacked a heavily pregnant colored lady. (I had been sent to the shop) When I got back I was dragged into the house for another beating as the lady’s husband stood there begging my father to stop; shouting at him that it wasn’t me and that I hadn’t even been there, not that it would have stopped him. My sister of course got no such beating or any other time of punishment. again everything was my fault.
Over the years the beatings continued for reasons that still baffle me now. My mother got the beatings as well but was happy to play mind games with me and did anything to deflect any beatings she was going to get to my direction. This continued right up till 1996 at which stage I was now in my mid teens. I had grown and had spent time learning to protect myself. 96 was to prove to be the straw that broke the camels back….. My father’s mother had passed away. She was my guardian angel in life and was the only one to protect me from her son and my mother. After my grandmother had passed away my father’s family started referring to me as the bastard. He allowed them to say this and would join in whilst I would hide away at home wondering what I had done wrong in a previous life to have so many people hate me and make me feel worthless.
At this point I believed that if life was to carry on like this the only way out was to kill myself. In the end I was unsuccessful and believe this was fate or something else stepping in and saying we won’t let you go, its not your time!!!
Around the same time I had discovered Rollins band (The End of Silence) through a friend who had inspired me to.
The years after 96 and previous were bad for me but nothing was going to break me anymore. No beatings, mind games, no name calling or lack of love. Eventually I hit my early 20’s and met my wife which would prove not only to be my saving grace but another turning point for me. My parents didn’t like her…she is strong, independent, loving, intelligent and beautiful. She knew what was going on in my personal life and had seen first hand some of the horrible things that were said and done to me. Eventually our relationship would become serious and we would buy a house together.
But myself I was now out of hell and in my own home safe. One day my parents came over to talk to me over a loan I had signed for them so they could have money to go on holiday. I had phoned my sister and complained that they weren’t paying the loan back like they said they would and now people were at my door asking for money. Legally I had to pay the money back as I had signed for the loans despite the fact the money wasn’t for me and I received none. Whilst discussing this they were again trying to bully me into leaving my wife and going home. The whole purpose of this was so they could continue to control all aspects of my life whilst trying to make money out of me via the loans…….in the end I decided to do what I should have done years before hand and break all contact with them but not before my mother would reveal that the man I had thought was my father actually wasn’t and my sister was only a half sister………this would only serve to explain why I had so many terrible things happen at the hands of these three people.
I have since built myself a great life with my wife and son. My wife’s family and a family that adopted me into their life and treat me like a real son with love and respect despite the fact I’m not.
I can’t explain enough how much of an influence Henry has been on my life but through some of the bad times the music and books helped me escape if even for a short while and who better to look up to than a man able to apply himself to anything he does with a strong work ethic his music and very life have inspired me to be stronger than I ever thought able.
Some people may think that is stupid but for me it helped make the difference between happiness and misery.
“…and ultimately never giving in, all because of a 6 word email from a former ice cream parlor worker turned punk rock artist.” Duncan
My two cents:
Iʼm just going to say it: Upton, Massachusetts sucks if youʼre a teenager. Youʼve got trees, intense and often bored police officers, rednecks, and closet racism and homophobia. Oh yea, and letʼs not forget the drugs. Upton is a small town situated south of Worcester, north of Providence, RI, and about 45 minutes west of Boston.
It was part of the under ground railroad during the civil war and then part of the alcohol smuggling trade during prohibition. These routes left it as a perfect stop for the drug pushers during my high school years in the early 90ʼs. Ask any junkie in New England if he or she knows about Milford (the town next door) or any other towns in the Blackstone valley and you will see that junkie roll their eyes spin yarn after yarn. It looks like a nice and quaint country town at first glance, but underneath itʼs a dead end.
I always felt as though I didnʼt belong, even though later in life I was told I had a certain amount of popularity. Music became my most focused obsession towards the end of my 12th year and continued all the way to today. Punk Rock was my moral compass, my soapbox for adolescent angst, and my community once I discovered the ubiquitous New England hardcore scene of the late 80ʼs and early 90ʼs.
At the end of my senior year in high school, I had no idea of what to do with myself. I was a good student, but Art seemed like the only direction to go in. Science, math, history and all the other subjects were just filler for me, but Art was a wide open field for me to run through for years and years,discovering each and every nook and cranny that it offered. So, I applied to some Art schools, was accepted by all of them, and decided to attend Mass Art in Boston, but first I had to finish my senior year of high school to contend with.
During their last term, every graduating class picked a day where the whole class would ditch school for the day. Being the geniuses that we were, no one took command or laid out any kind of agenda for “Senior Skip Day”. So, my friend Heather and I just went to a Newbury Comics (a comic book, record store) and spent some of our meager earnings from our part time jobs. That day I bought “Get In The Van” by Henry Rollins because I liked the photographs. I just completed a Photography course at school. Later, it would be one of my two majors in college. Yes, I heard Black Flag and The Rollins Band, and the talking records. Yes, I was a fan of that stuff. No, it wasnʼt the thing that ignited me.
The summer between high school and college was a lonely one.
My band, After The Fact, dissolved into a disappointment and being the extrovert that I was, I yearned for some kind of performing outlet. I didnʼt have one. I just sat in my room and read Get In The Van. It moved me like a match to gasoline. Tale after tale of going the hard way in the face of everything being against you: cops, parents, money, the road, shitty vans, shitty promoters, and shitty crowds. Yet through it all Greg Ginn and his band mates persevered. They didnʼt take any shit from anyone and just fucking did it. Any accolades for that band were earned with sweat, blood, diesel, and calloused guitar playing fingers.
The other book that I read that summer was On The Road by Jack Kerouac. A similar story set in a different America, the America right after World War II. Kerouac was after spiritual enlightenment (and fun) all over the American landscape. As a teenager who had only been to New York City twice and down to Florida 3 times to visit my grandparents, I lusted after this sense of adventure and dreamed of escaping from small town fucked up New England, as embodied in these two books.
I moved to Boston to go to Art school. I already gave one or two spoken word performances since I didnʼt have a band to play in. I loved being solo and not having to compromise ideas or business with band mates, but I had no idea what I was doing up on stage by myself. I met some other Art students who also took an interest in the spoken word medium and performed with them in little shows all around Boston.
Occasionally I went back to the Worcester area and opened hardcore shows.
I decided to make some kind of record, a tape to demonstrate what I was doing with my own talking shows. My work then was very immature and very Rollins-ish. I had no sense of where else to take it, nor did I have any sense of my own voice yet. After seeing Henry Rollins speak at Berklee College of Music, I took home the little pamphlet the door people handed me as I left the show. In it, Henry had writing samples of new books coming out in his label 2.13.61. He also had this thing called a website, which was on this new thing called the internet. This was 1995. You didnʼt get a Facebook invite for a rock show, you were handed a flier or your friend hipped you to what was happening and where. So, my first encounter with the internet was viewing Henry Rollinsʼ website and with my new email address I wrote my first email to the address listed. I asked Henry how to make my first spoken word record.
A few days later, I went through the cumbersome ritual of accessing my email. Turn the computer on, go into a dial-up program that made a bunch of weird noises, wait a few minutes, and if I was lucky Iʼd be ʻconnectedʼ. Then access an email program that could only be used with certain key commands. Gmail? HA! Keep dreaming.
Then I saw it. An email from an AOL address I didnʼt recognize. I opened it. It said:
D, DONʼT: Hold back.
DO: it. HRollins
HOLY LIVING FUCK! Henry Rollins spoke electronically to my 19-year-old self and encouraged me! After that, a flurry of cool things happened to my friends and I: we made a spoken word CD. We opened for Jim Carroll (another one of my heroes). We went on tour. I eventually made my own CD, did my own tours, and opened for Jello Biafra and Marky Ramone doing my speaking sets. I became a workaholic, playing music, doing the talking shows, making photographs, and ultimately never giving in, all because of a 6 word email from a former ice cream parlor worker turned punk rock artist.
Henry came back to Boston a few years later, doing his talking show. Afterward, I, like many other fan boys, stood in line to meet Henry. I told him how he wrote me the email years previous and how it sparked my drive, how I did exactly what he said – it, and not holding back. Then I handed him my first solo talking record. He thanked me and checked it out. I said, “See you around,” and he turned around walking back onto his tour bus.
Duncan Wilder Johnson, 33
Boston, MA USA
Henry Rollins saved my life. He has contributed to my development as a writer, and his art has saved me from myself. The story of Henryʼs life has inspired me to become more than what I was. He is a special man and the biggest influence on my life artistically.
I grew up unconventionally, and moved often. Things at home were not easy for me, and at 14, I took to the streets, getting into trouble with alcohol, drugs and the law. It was around this time that I discovered punk music, and guitar. I loved all the great punk bands of the early eighties, and Black Flag was one of these. It was not uncommon for me to be heard blaring greats like Rise Above, or Depression, whenever I had the chance. I began to keep a journal at a young age, out of loneliness, and because I could not express my anger openly. Music and writing were twin refuges for me. They kept me from sinking into depression, committing suicide or killing myself with whatever chemical I could find. Around this time, I was told I had a talent for the written word. I had my first article published in a newspaper at 16 but it would be years before I could turn my writing into a career. Drug addiction and depression threatened to take my life in my teenage years.
Then I discovered the writings of Henry Rollins. They changed me forever.
I feel a kinship with Henryʼs words, purpose and his music too. I often carry at least one of his books in my backpack, whenever I am on assignment. I keep his spoken word on my computer for inspiration on the road, whenever I need to be reminded of what it means to be a real artist. In one set of lyrics, Henry wrote that “past abuse is put to use”. He has turned every trial he has faced into a source of strength. I think Henryʼs words give the pain of life dignity, in a way that all the great writers and poets have managed to do.
Henryʼs life is a work of art. Watching Henry grow up in the spotlight, as an artist, writer and world traveller has given me the strength to be real. I am now a journalist, musician and a writer in all senses of the word. I finished a large manuscript last year, composed mostly of essays and prose. I perform and am a song writer as well. Life is full of challenges, but through Henryʼs example, I have learned that to master oneʼs self is to master life. Happy birthday, Henry.
Bevan Fury, Canada
“…by planting the idea in my head that a guy who worked in a warehouse stacking shelves and packing boxes could, by sheer force of willpower, transcend his social and academic limitations and cut a path through the forest of adversity.” Steve
A Journey Worth Taking
(or Joyriding with Hank)
I left school at sixteen with low aspirations and even lower self-esteem. My only real interest beyond BMX bikes and skateboarding was rock music. While my contemporaries bought electric guitars and emulated their favourite heavy metal axe heroes Iʼd always be drawn more towards singersʼ words in song and on the pages of music magazines.
At turns rebellious and cripplingly shy, I would often find myself alone in my room next to the mono radio cassette player listening to albums by Queen, The Mission, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, Metallica, The Cure, Marillion and Hanoi Rocks – an eclectic taste if ever there was one.
In September 1988, when I was eighteen and at a very low ebb, I was idly flicking through American skateboard magazine THRASHER and saw a black and white photograph of a very angry-looking young man covered in tattoos and snarling into a microphone. That man was one Henry Rollins, who for half a decade fronted U.S. hardcore band Black Flag, and after its demise formed his own Rollins Band. I knew nothing about him but had a vague recollection of the name Black Flag from years earlier at school. I read the magazineʼs interview with Henry and was struck by how uncannily the outsider opinions of this very single-minded American former punk rocker chimed with my own difficult adolescence and frustrated sense of alienation. Henry had been keeping a journal for a number of years – very candidly documenting life on the road and his ongoing battle against depression – and had self-published some of the writing. I immediately felt compelled to seek out one of his books – which in the late eighties, before the advent of the internet, wasnʼt easy. I was put in touch with a book- search company who managed to track down a title that could be ordered from Compendium, a shop on Camden High Street in London. I sent them a postal order the same day and waited…
Less than a week later, a Friday evening after work, I opened a small envelope to find a 72 page book called “Henry Rollins Talks” which was basically an extended interview with a journalist called Robert Fischer. I read the book in one sitting that evening and was profoundly moved by the honesty and drive of this uncompromising figure. I realised that I needed to take action and decided to weed out all trivial activity from my life. Fired up by the enthusiasm of Rollins for authors such as Hubert Selby Junior, Henry Miller and the legendary Charles Bukowski, I began to devour autobiographically-based fiction at a considerable pace, making weekly visits to Waterstones bookshop in Newcastle and joining the dots from one author to the next.
But it wasnʼt until late 1989 when I actually got my hands on BODY BAG, the first volume of Rollinsʼ writing published in the UK, that I saw something similar to my own state of mind reflected in the prose and verse pieces, printed in bold block capitals, within the plain red covers of this dark and direct volume of angst. Immediately I saw a possibility to acquire writing as a vehicle for self-expression. Henry Rollins was the first person to show me that I didnʼt have to be a singer or an actor to use my voice effectively; I didnʼt require a university education in order to put pen to paper and have my words taken seriously. I didnʼt have to understand Shakespeare to be a poet and I didnʼt have to write conventional short stories – or a novel either – in order to have a work of fiction published. I didnʼt have to be a doormat for those deemed smarter, stronger, more intelligent, charismatic and competent than me. Everyone has a voice. Henry Rollins helped me find mine by planting the idea in my head that a guy who worked in a warehouse stacking shelves and packing boxes could, by sheer force of willpower, transcend his social and academic limitations and cut a path through the forest of adversity.
If I hadnʼt been a skateboarder I wouldnʼt have picked up the skateboard magazine and discovered Henryʼs work; if I hadnʼt been an outsider who found the spark of inspiration to make a new life for myself – one quite different to the life I was expected to be satisfied with – well, I donʼt know where Iʼd be now. It probably doesnʼt bear thinking about.
Call it serendipity. My life has been one long string of serendipitous moments: from Marvel superhero comics to rock music to skateboard magazines and a hardcore punk rock vocalistʼs raw writing to my own published work and the privilege of being able to inspire others to pick up a pen and convey their own ideas and experiences. Writing is therapeutic. Fact. It doesnʼt have to be a published product; it can be a personal healing process. It can be a coping strategy during stressful times, but it can also open doors to new worlds of opportunity. It gets me where I need to be.
Henry Rollins didnʼt have a degree in English Literature – he never went to university. He worked in a pet-shop and an ice-cream store before seizing an opportunity to get onstage with one of his favourite bands when they played his town. Now, without a band of musicians as a safety net, Henry fills theatres all over the world, telling true stories both harrowing and hilarious. A man with a microphone and an inquisitive mind; ironically, he is a far greater public speaker than writer – sometimes flat and verbose on the page, he is a whirlwind of wit and wisdom on stage, speeding along on a sea of simile and metaphor; a motormouth fuelled by the desire to communicate and make a difference. And thatʼs what itʼs all about. If you can make a difference in life; if you can affect change and to the benefit of others as well as yourself, then it is a journey worth taking. Henry Rollins helped me to become the person I am today. Henry Rollins is a catalyst for change. A real motivator. He is an inspiration to many, a real hero.
County Durham, UK.