To Whom It May Concern:
This isn’t going to be one of those long emails. Not like the others. I am only going to say enough so that it will be perfectly clear to whomsoever is reading this, that I do not want to be subscribed to your email service / newsletter any longer nor in any capacity. Your constant and insistent invitations for me to click on your links and purchase your products are met with, on my end, nothing but frustration. For some reason, despite my initial, measured requests to be removed and my later, more vehement protestations, your emails continue to arrive in my inbox. No matter what I do, no matter what button I press, no matter to whom I address my emails, I continue receiving these unwanted communiques.
I have tried to respond to the emails that show up in my inbox, but that only gets me an automated response that says “the email address you have reached is not monitored.” When I have tried clicking on the “unsubscribe” button, which is all the way at the bottom of the email and in a font so small it can barely be found, that link just brings me to a website form that asks for my email address. Upon completing the form I immediately, like right away, receive an automatic notification thanking me for subscribing to The Peter Gabriel Newsletter. I’ve done it nine times so now I regularly receive nine emails at a time from you people.
Frankly, your insistence that Peter Gabriel is the sort of figure one would want news about is baffling and your efforts to retain me as a subscriber are a little pathetic. We both know that Peter Gabriel has become irrelevant to the music buying, concert attending public and that you folks have to resort to these tricks to maintain some form level of subscriber base. I know how numbers get manipulated. I know how the stats get juked. I’ve seen The Wire. My ex-wife Christina and I used to regularly watch that show, which is centered around different forms of institutional malfeasance, so I know that your refusal to remove me from your mailing list has something to do with selling product, but also more to do with the data you provide to advertisers who determine revenue. I’m not stupid.
So, no, I am not interested in his new single, nor his upcoming tour. I do not like any of the music Peter Gabriel has produced. Not his work with Genesis which I consider to belong to my parents’ generation, not his ostentatious solo material which I consider samey and overly produced. Not his so called “groundbreaking” and “moving” movie scores, and especially not that crappy World Music he pretends to care about which, to me, sounds like indigestion with a time signature.
The only song of his I can even stand is “Red Rain” which I will sometimes listen to all the way through without changing the channel when it comes on PYX 106, which is the classic rock radio station around here. “Solsbury Hill” is ok too, I guess.
Despite these exceptions, it is fair to say that I generally find Peter Gabriel’s music distasteful and I would be happy to trade ever hearing those two decent songs ever again if it meant I was saved from the soulless carcass that is the rest of his catalog, particularly his late-career stuff. The melodramatic later work is what led to me first being placed on Mr. Gabriel’s e-newsletter mailing list, so I have a particular distaste for that saccharine and heavy-handed stuff. My girlfriend at the time, Christina, who later became my wife, and then my ex-wife, loved some song about a father and child that Gabriel wrote and played an uncharacteristically spare and naked version of. She loved the black and white video where Gabriel emoted all over the keys of a piano and the lens of a camera. Her feelings toward this song had something to do with her own father and her I am guessing.
I was never sure of the whole story. I never bothered to find out. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe if I had asked about her more often we would not have grown apart the way we did. Especially at the end there.
Or maybe she felt like the song would eventually have something to do with the children she imagined we would one day have. We were unable to have children, it turned out, which wasn’t the sole cause of the end of our marriage, but it didn’t help. Various factors go into ending a marriage, you know. Whether or not we could have children and whose fault that was, was merely a contributing factor to what was, by the point we realized we could not have babies together, an already hostile and unhealthy relationship.
She had some kind of grand expectation for me. There was some kind of mold I was supposed to fit into, the existence of which I was unaware when the relationship began. And this is unfair I think. She was measuring me against other men. Against men she had previously dated, against her father, and her very successful older brothers. Maybe a pastor or some high school English teacher too, I can’t be sure. The point is: she wanted me to be a certain way. She wanted me to be a good father to her as-yet-unborn child. I wasn’t in any rush to be a dad and luckily, vis a vis our little fertility issue, I was never pushed into that role.
As far as I am concerned, and if I could be so bold, fathers are overrated anyway. Most people long for some relationship with their fathers, and if they don’t have it they want some kind of reconciliation, but I don’t. I don’t see the point. When I watch a movie or a TV show where the father tragically dies and the child must avenge them or whatever, like in The Lion King or in pretty much any Batman movie, I always end up hating that movie. They are better off without a father as far as I am concerned. Without a father getting in the way, the kid has to learn to think for themselves, and they can’t be let down time and time again by some guy they wish was a hero, but who actually isn’t.
But Christina was one of those people who wanted to reconcile with her father. He was the worst, though. Worked all the time, was never there for her, divorced her mom. All your classic bad dad stereotypes. Eventually she came to some kind of understanding with him. She was always trying to get me to go over there for Christmas and the like, and I just couldn’t see why.
It just never made sense to me.
But I loved her. Even though I didn’t try hard enough at being married, as they say. I didn’t do all of the stuff I should have, I guess. I did the best I could though, and I used to do stuff for her all the time. Stuff like go to Christmas at her stupid dad’s house with his new wife and all that. I would go over there in my dumb sweater and I would smile and be so polite and charming. Believe it or not, despite what you have seen in the various communications regarding, vis a vis, the newsletters you won’t stop sending me, I can be very charismatic.
I also used to do other sweet stuff for her too, like rub her neck and feet and go to the store and buy maxi-pads and all that other unromantic/ romantic boyfriend-husband stuff. You know what I am talking about. The kind of stuff that when a guy in a TV show does it, you can tell he’s a good guy. In real life guys don’t actually get any credit for doing that stuff. Women tend to overlook those kind of little annoyances and humiliations guys go through for them. On TV though you can tell very easily that the guy who ruins his favorite t-shirt painting the bathroom is the guy the girl is supposed to end up with, even though the guy is a little less handsome, and a little less cool than some other guy on the show played by Chris Messina or Dax Shepherd, or some jerk like that.
That is why I subscribed to your newsletter in the first place, as a matter of fact. Just because you bastards set it up so that you had to sign up for the newsletter in order to download that stupid god-damned father and son song from your website. I only did it because of Christina and her stupid dad. Because I am such a caring, charming, kindhearted damn guy. I would not have done it had I thought it would be so hard to unsubscribe from you bastards. I should have just let her do it with her own email account. She’d probably love getting these constant updates about where Peter Gabriel’s next show is going to be and what musical endeavor he is working on. She probably still listens to him for all I know. I never understood why it appealed to her. Music is supposed to hit you in the gut. You know? It’s supposed to mean something. It’s supposed to be like an inside joke that only you and one other person get. Like that song by Lou Reed my dad used to love, or the one by Whiskeytown that Christina and I used to sing along to, or the one by The National that I can’t even talk about right now. It’s supposed to make you feel like it was written just for you, or just for you and one other person. Like you stumbled onto some deserted patch of beach that no one else has ever seen before. Peter Gabriel just doesn’t do that for me. But it’s not like I’m jealous of him or anything. It’s not like I wish Christina would have romanticized the stuff I did as much as she romanticized the music of some washed up pop star.
So, for all these reasons and a few more that I have not even mentioned here, I want you to remove me from your mailing list. You’ll really be doing the both of us a favor because let me tell you: these tricks don’t work. These little ploys and plans and plots. I know from experience. It’s like, you think just because you leave stuff at your ex-wife’s place you can keep going over there and she is going to fall in bed with you like that one time right around 4th of July. But I can tell you right now, it is never going to be like it was. She is never gonna laugh in that way she used to laugh and tilt her head a little bit and offer you a beer.
So If I have to accept that about Christina, then you need to accept that Peter God-Damned Gabriel is never gonna headline the MTV music awards again. Or the Grammies. Or whatever other stupid awards show they have now. And Peter, if you are reading this, you need to just deal with that reality. That time in your life is over. It’s time to take a good, hard look in the mirror and try to figure out what you still have to offer and who is interested in it. Maybe you can take the knowledge and the skills you have and the love you once had for music and apply it to teaching young people how to unlock their potential. Has that ever crossed your mind, Peter? Or maybe there is a band you can contribute to who really needs your skill set. Like really needs it. Not like Genesis, who clearly didn’t need you and who moved on so quickly after you left without even blinking an eyelash. Or maybe it has nothing to do with music at all. Who knows? Maybe you are an amazing gardener or something and you didn’t even realize it.
But whatever you decide, first you need to move on. You have got to give up on the past. You have got to accept that you are in a new phase of your life now. You have to give yourself a break on mistakes you have made. It won’t be easy, but you have to do it. For example, I never should have bought that Nissan. Nothing good ever came out of it. All it ever brought me was trouble. I know that now. I can see that. And after the divorce, when I went to Christina’s dad’s funeral I realized that the things I was pissed about were petty. I couldn’t even be there for Christina when she needed me. It meant a lot to her that I came to the funeral and everything, but what was I supposed to say?
I can admit things like this to myself now. You should take a page out of my book because once you admit these things to yourself, you can finally move on. You can finally look to the future. You might be surprised by what you see out there. Maybe something even better is on the horizon.
I know you are going to keep emailing me. I know that you are going to send me newsletter updates for your new tour and your new record and I am going to get annoyed. I am going to froth at the mouth for a second and tell anyone who will listen how much I hate you. Who knows who I’ll be saying it to, but whoever it is I will tell them, “screw this guy and his music…” But I won’t email you again. I really mean it this time. That would just be encouraging you.
Eventually, I won’t even bother to delete the emails you send me. Every new Peter Gabriel E-Newsletter that you send me will sit with all the other 5,000 unread emails in my inbox that I skip over until I get to the ones from my mom, or old high school friends. I will change my email address one day because I will be updating my resume and trying to sound more professional and I will stop even looking at the one I was using when I made the mistake of subscribing to your newsletter so I could download that free song for my then girlfriend, who became my wife, and who is now my ex-wife. You won’t have my new address and all those emails you send will be like letters written to an old apartment, or phone calls made to a closed business. I’ll have moved on. I am telling you all of this now, for your own good. I am telling you this now from the bottom of my heart: I really do want the best for you, Peter, but if you think that emailing me is going to make you happy, you are wrong. And the sooner you accept that, the happier you will be.
Yours truly, so sincere, and all that,