Gary Numan

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 Gary Numan is one of them…


Dear Gary

In the summer of 1979, I was working in the Filing Registry at Brighton Town Hall. However, for a few weeks, I had been ‘seconded’ to relocate hundreds of old bound volumes of Council minutes – some going back centuries – from the basement to the more secure Deeds Room. Aprt from an occasional conversation with the keeper of the Deeds, a reassuringly miserable individual by the name of Ted Hanks, this was a lonesome task and I carried my radio for company. In August, a fresh new sound burst from the tiny speaker: called Cars, it was a rhythmic, mesmeric and austere piece. The radio played it endlessly and I came to know and love every note and word.

It wasn’t long before I was off to the HMV store in Brighton’s Churchill Square to purchase the album that had spawned the single: The Pleasure Principle. As a long-time devotee of the emotions generated by prolonged lead guitar solos, I was surprised by the depth of emotion you were able to create in your compositions without the presence of that instrument.

I introduced a friend of mine, Chris Heasman, to the album and he too played it endlessly. in fact, it became a bit of a cult thing with us and we would send each other tapes – the old C90 audio cassettes – which were empty save for one line from one track from the album. For example, I might have to listen to a whole blank tape just to hear one line Chris had recorded, such as: “I can lock all my doors…” We were both definitely bonkers!

Gary Numan

My signed Gary Numan photograph

I still regard Pleasure Principle as one of the the great albums, so I was delighted when you announced the PP tour in 2009. For old time’s sake, I invited Chris up from Brighton and we went to see the Manchester gig. We loved every minute, bopped around like teenagers again and deservedly suffered with aching backs the next day. I have the DVD of that tour and still marvel at the power of tracks like Metal, Films and what, for me, is your emotional masterpiece, M.E. The keyboards build at the end is something truly special; so special that I shall request that it be played at the beginning of my own funeral.

So thank you Gary – for some of the important soundtracks to my life.

Simon Bailey

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