The Rise, Fall & Rise Again of Gary Numan (Pt 2)

Gary Numan was a chart topping artist in the late 70’s. By the age of 21 he was worth an estimated $12 million. In 1981 he announced his retirement from music – something he now says is one of his biggest regrets.

He fell out of the commercial spotlight almost entirely and spiraled downward into crippling debt. His 2021 autobiography REVOLUTION is the story of his slow, obstacle-laden journey back to the top.

In this installment, we take a look at Gary’s experience with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) He writes –

“It’s been a feature of my life that I’m rarely able to live in the moment, to simply enjoy what’s happening right now, no matter how rewarding or satisfying it should be.

I’m always thinking ahead. always trying to figure out what it really means, where it might take me, what dangers are hidden within it, what I need to do to shape what comes next.” p69

Gary was diagnosed with the condition in his early twenties. He reflects –

“Becoming famous quickly, at a young age, especially when you are essentially a solo act, is not ideal. When you add Aspergers, you have an unfortunate mix that is almost guaranteed to lead to struggle. My rise was sudden, meteroric almost. I was totally unprepared for the reality of fame, and I had no experience of anything.

I was young, naive and with a mental condition that, although I would never wish to change it, was crashing around in my head like a wounded elephant. I would not recommend the way I made it to anyone, not that we ever really have a choice. I’m amazed I survived, relatively intact”. p 77

And on his unique, self-taught eye-contact method…

“I can’t remember when I came up with this, but at some point I discovered that eye contact is important, even though I have no natural feel for it. I don’t know when to look into someone’s eyes or when it’s ok to look away. I read something about it once, and eventually came up with a system”.

“I will look into someone’s eyes for no less than two seconds and no more than five. It used to be three seconds, but I’ve adapted it over time.

“My theory is anything less than two seconds doesn’t show enough interest: anything over five is too intense and can seem a bit creepy. So, whenever I’m talking to someone, I’m always counting and adjusting my eyes according to the count.

I find having a conversation with anyone I don’t know well, and sometimes even people I do know well, to be extrememly stressful – a bit like riding a bike before you’ve mastered it. I feel like I could fall off at any second and make a fool of myself.”. p197

And before we wind things up for this installment, there’s always time for a song from the…

We look at the time Gary and his girlfriend (at the time) had a real-life UFO encounter.


A Year in Teddy-Land

It’s been 12 months since we welcomed Teddy to our place.

From the timid, non-toilet trained six-week old puppy we drove home with from the breeder’s a year ago, through to the prankish bundle of tail-wagging energy cum world’s best security guard we have inherited today, it’s been – cliché alert! – quite the journey.

Fair to say there’s been highs, lows and a few surprises along the way.

Getting Ted on the books of an animal talent agency and a week later getting the call-up to do a fun K-Mart ad was one of the obvious highs.

Lows? Ted as world’s best security guard? That’s a laugh! ‘World’s most OVER-ZEALOUS security guard’ might be more like it.

Case in point: I’ve exited our house – closely observed by our furry companion’s always-on-record brown swirlpool eyes – literally 10 seconds later to re-emerge back INSIDE the house via a sliding side door, only to be greeted by mate raising merry hell, fully believing a black-masked, mustache-twirling intruder is now in our midst. That’s taken some getting used to.

Before the Teddy era, my reaction to the sound of barking dogs disturbing neighborhood tranquility could be summed up in this clip from a Season One episode of THE KING OF QUEENS

But annoyingly I will say it’s different when your OWN dog is doing the barking. We’ve all gotten pretty good here however, at shutting him down and shutting him up – real quick. Like, REAL quick.

Owning a canine also automatically gifts you entry to that world-within-a-world of pet owners. ‘Doggie Society’ you could call it. There’s every giggle-worthy accessory you could possibly conceive of – including some truly diverting outfits –

the fine print of pet insurance – the well-worn back issues of DOG MONTHLY in your local vet’s waiting room – the overpriced doggie motels (used one of those when we couldn’t take Ted on vacation with us) – the off-the-leash beaches and naturally the lingo – so it at least appears you know your Chow Chows from your Bedlington Terriers from your Toy Cavoodles from your… you get the idea.

Oh, and let’s not forget that fascinating ecosystem of human/animal social order known as the local dog park. We’ve gotten to know who’s who in our zoo quite well.

Australian comedian Mel Buttle talks all-things dog parks from the 3 minute 15 second mark of this video.

As far as surprises go, probably the biggest overall has been finding out just how intelligent little Ted is.

Reaching deep down into my blue velvet-lined hamper of grand words, I BESEECH you – that’s right… BESEECH you! – to click on this smart dog video HERE. Remember to have the sound ‘up’ and this nine second chuckleworthy delight has every chance of being your entertainment highlight of your day.

As intelligent as our Ted is, in his own super-sniffing way, he’s also… and there’s no easy way to say this, but, since he’ll never read these words I’ll allow myself to say it, also soooooo dumb.

See that installed fence gate in the video? We have one just like it. It swings inward rather than outward. I’ve watched Ted study that gate. If it opened outward he could just push through it.

But because it swings backward, he can’t coordinate using his paw to wedge it open a few inches so he can then use the side of his head to prize it back enough for the rest of him to go through. I’ve stood fascinated watching him repeatedly try. And he’s come close. But he can’t. He just can’t.

One thing’s for certain. Life has changed – for the better – since Ted arrived. I’d even go so far as to concede the balance of power inside our household has shifted. And that’s a big statement to make.

Because when it comes right down to it, nothing – absolutely NOTHING (that I can think of anyway) comes close to a welcome home every day like this