Words and Music by David King


Songs, fiction and the occasional recipe by David King

Keith Moon

I was reminded of Keith Moon when I saw a kid who looked like him at the Shawarma place.   The kid was only ten or so and he already looked like Keith.  Probably by the time he turns eighteen he’ll look even more like him.  I asked the kid’s mom if he knew who Keith Moon was.  She answered, “No.  Should I?"  I couldn’t tell if she was flirting with me or getting ready to humiliate me somehow.  I just said, “nevermind” and took my shawarma home with me and ate it on my balcony on what had to be the hottest day of the summer.   

When I was six years old I fell out of a tree.  Well, I fell out the window of my second story bedroom first.  The tree broke my fall, but then the branch I landed on broke and I fell all the way to the ground and was in a coma for six years and so I missed the whole British invasion thing.  But I’ve read a lot about it since coming out of the coma.  And I’ve checked out the many bands from that era on You Tube.  A while back I saw a video of The Who.  I was astounded by the drummer, Keith Moon.  He was nothing short of electrifying.  If I hadn’t fallen out of the window I probably would have taken up the drums, instead of sitting out the decade in a coma.   But seeing the video of him inspired me to that same end.  At the time I was forty eight years old.    

Moon was widely reported to be a man of excess; did too much of everything that’s bad for you.  I imagine there’s a huge responsibility that comes with being a rock star.  Excess is the obvious way out of that responsibility.  If the fans are going to stop buying their records because of it, then they were never true fans.  I, myself, could never carry on in that fashion, mainly because it's just not age appropriate.  If I were famous, I could see myself trashing a hotel room just to see what it felt like; although guilt would likely compel me to leave a hefty tip for the chambermaid.  I would certainly feel obliged to clean up my own vomit. 

After I emerged from my coma, people asked me what it was like; but it wasn’t like anything.  It was like I went to sleep and when I woke up, instead of it being six hours later it was six years.  I remember that my first words after I got home from the hospital were “we got new furniture.”  

I couldn't remember dreaming anything. My dreams since I came out the coma have hardly been worth noting.  That is, until recently.  I find the world of my dreams of late to be one which I am able to inhabit to the extent that I have a measure of control over them.  Not unlike real life, I suppose.  And it could very well be that I had them before, when I was in my coma.  These are the dreams I never had the opportunity to remember.  They must have got stored away somewhere like old VHS tapes.

I imagine there are two levels to the coma state.  One of which is deep sleep where time ceases to exist and the other is like in these recent dreams where I’m constantly in motion and time exists but it’s not a pressure I ever feel I'm up against.  In the first dream that really made me pay attention to what was going on, I was riding a bicycle through a leafy tunnel with strands of sunlight poking through, gliding along a smooth two lane blacktop that I had all myself.  I didn’t have a care in the world.  And when I felt myself get tired, I stopped beside a stream that I could drink from with confidence.  And when I longed for human companionship, it was handed to me, first in the person of Ruthie who told me that she was also in a coma; but as I was controlling the dream narrative, I might have made her say that.  And on that satisfying note I would fall into the deeper sleep where time didn’t exist. And when I woke up into the dream again, the two of us we’re riding in a golf cart down a grassy lane, eventually arriving at an outdoor music festival where there were plenty of kids around our age and a band playing the happiest music I had ever heard.  I really had heard nothing like it before.  I asked Ruthie who they were and she said it was her favourite band and they were called the Lovin Spoonful.  I since saw film footage of that same outdoor concert on You Tube.  I thought I saw Ruthie but I couldn’t be sure, but I didn’t see me there at all.  I remembered that after the concert she went off with the drummer but I didn’t mind.  I just ran really fast across a meadow until I came to a lake at which point I took off into the air and fell asleep while flying as the band played ‘Darling Be Home Soon.’        

I drum in a band now with some guys around my own age.  One of the guys writes pretty good songs, and the folks seem to really like us but mostly when we play covers.  I doubt if we’ll ever quit our day jobs.  I’m resigned to never be as great a drummer as Keith Moon, but I manage to keep a steady beat like good old Charlie Watts.  Most drummers create a solid foundation for a tune.  Keith built a nest; which, incidentally, is the thing that’s I was reaching for when I fell out the window.  Not that I see any significance in that.  I just felt it was worth mentioning.