Roger Waters

As an only child born to older parents – one of whom was ill for most of my life – I spent much of my time alone. I still do. Music was, and is, important to me and my well-being. As you will see if you read some of the other letters, there are four musicians who I particularly admire and Roger Waters is one of them…

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Dear Roger

There can’t be many heroes with whom you share almost no fundamental views and values. But this is certainly the case with you and me. I find myself drawn in to a polarised world where I wholeheartedly disagree with the political, economic and ideological bedrock that inspires albums such as Radio KAOS and Amused to Death, but being simultaneously moved – sometimes to tears – by their craft, emotion and intonation.

Roger Waters autograph photo

My signed photo of the man I disagree with so much!

Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking – an album rarely mentioned let alone acclaimed – showcases two of your most emotional pieces, Go Fishing and Every Strangers Eyes (although, to feel the ultimate spine-tingling of the latter, you need to catch it live on In The Flesh). The most frighteningly powerful album sequence I’ve ever experienced is found on Kaos – the three tracks Home, Four Minutes and Tide is Turning. In fact, to me Home is your best song ever – the premise that everyone has somewhere, something or someone they call home is so very true. And then we come to Amused to Death which is the ultimate paradox I was talking about earlier: I disagree with its political and ideological foundations, yet it’s the most intensely moving treasury of words and music I possess. Then, for raw heart-breaking melancholy, it’s Don’t Leave Me Now and Nobody Home, from The Wall, live.

Back in 1986 I remember reading a rare article about you in The Times. As you were – at that time, anyway – somewhat notorious for being uncommunicative with fans, I thought I’d try to contact you indirectly – by writing to the journalist and see if he would pass on a few poems I had written. He agreed and I sent them, even enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. Weeks passed and I assumed they had disappeared in to the ether. Then one day, just before Christmas, I was skipping down the stairs to spy that same white envelope sitting on the door mat. I swept it up and slit it open to find a hand-written letter from you, a photograph of which is shown below. Not bad for the man they call Mr Misery Guts!

Roger Waters letter

The letter from Roger Waters, Christmas 1986

So thank you, Roger – for the words, the music – and the polarisations!

Simon Bailey

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