Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Okay, I won't send it. Fine by me.

Let me understand this.

Ringo Starr, one of the two remaining Beatles on the planet, and arguably the most endearing but possibly also the least musically versatile among them, has issued a statement to his worldwide fans that he is calling a moratorium to his fan mail.

He hasn't been sitting idly by, reliving past glory and brooding about how it all changed. Over the past twenty years or so, he's assembled interesting and talented musicians from time to time, and toured the world with his music. Quite successfully I might add. His 31-city North American summer tour just ended.

So let's take a look at his video statement, shall we? In reference to his fan mail, he had this to say: "It's going to be tossed. ... I'm warning you with peace and love, I have too much to do. So no more fan mail. Thank you, thank you. And no objects to be signed. Nothing. Anyway, peace and love, peace and love."

Well, isn't that interesting. I hopped onto Ringo's official site and saw his notice about "no more signing" prominently displayed. So there it is: he will give his fans exactly nothing in terms of autographs or responses to their letters, cards, emails, etc.

I suppose, after more than forty years in or near the world's celebrity spotlight, he can certainly choose to do that. What I don't understand is his notion that he has "too much to do." Like what? Honestly, like what? His fans have a lot to do, too - more than he has on most days I would guess - more than he's had to do since 1970 I would imagine. And yet, they find time to write.

Besides, I don't think you can issue a peaceful and loving warning. Can you? Does that really work as a concept? A peaceful warning? A loving one? It's softer than saying "I'm warning you with unrest and hatred..." but at least that sounds more honest.

Here's what's ironic to me. Directly beneath his video message telling fans to stop contacting him, the website contains the details of a photo contest, asking fans to submit their favorite Ringo and the All Starr band photos from the tour this summer.
Here's the language they use in the promotion:

Have you been coveting your picture of Ringo and his All-Star Starr band
captured from the recent All-Star tour?
Ringo wants YOU, his loyal fans, to submit photos taken from his 2008 All-Star tour.
Ringo will hand pick his favorite photo to be featured on his official website,
The lucky winner will also go home with a Ringo Starr Autographed Drum head!
Winner to be notified via email in early December.

I think that's nerve. in other words, here's the message from Ringo, or at least from his webmasters: "I don't want you to write a personal letter, expressing your thanks or admiration or whatever for my career. In fact, I'll toss anything that comes my way. But I will take your photos - and not pay you for them - to populate my website. And by the way, I'll send you an autographed drum head if I really like the photo."

Ummm - here's a thought: hire a photographer! What - your fans are supposed to supply you with photos for free? So they can get a photo credit on your website? Please.

Maybe some fans will send in photos of themselves writing letters to Ringo, sending him some memorabilia to sign, and then putting them in the mail. Maybe they'll send photos of themselves checking their mailboxes for autographed photos of Ringo that never come. I'd love to see those on his website.

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