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Phil Hicks -Author, Story Teller, Generally Nice Guy

Phil Hicks -Author, Story Teller, Generally Nice Guy Author of short stories, the recently released novel Secrets on the Base Paths and the upcoming nove Phil Hicks was born in Alexandria, VA in 1957 and waited until he aged significantly before he followed his high school English teacher's advice to share his writing.

After writing a series of 1000 word articles and blog posts he decided to tell stories based on personal experiences while adding fictional details. After all, writing a book about being happily married to Jo Hicks for over 33 years and having two grown sons that remain a source of pride just isn't interesting enough for some people.

Operating as usual

10/09/2022

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is, whether intentionally or not, creating a death penalty for many LGBT youth. That sounds a lot like hyperbole but sadly that is not the case. His model includes a REQUIREMENT that teachers out their students to their parents, the most important people in their lives. My work with PFLAG has made me very familiar with the coming out process, as has the experience of having two gay sons. Most anyone will tell you that parents are usually some of the last a person will come out to, and for good reason. If a kid comes out to a friend, peer or teacher and they are non-affirming, oh well. If you come out to the people that are most important to your care and safety and they are not accepting, all Hell can break loose for this person.

I have had the unfortunate experiences of speaking with family members of four separate kids who have committed su***de. In one case both parents, asked me repeatedly to tell them that their son’s su***de by stepping in front of a train was not their fault. Many in their family, including their daughter were blaming them. I asked why she would think such a thing. They had first attempted to have their teenaged son undergo the psychologically horrible reparative therapy. Both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have deemed this to be harmful. When that witch doctor was unsuccessful in “curing” this young man, they chose to send him to live with his evangelical grandparents. Two days later he was dead.

Aside from the su***des I’ve had the fortune, not good fortune, both in my various roles in PFLAG and through connections from friends to speak with many people. This includes a 16 year-old who was kicked out of his home by an angry dad. Living on the street, this young man was abused, both physically and s*xually while living with adults in a homeless shelter.

Another young man had been beaten so badly by his own father, that several teeth were knocked out and one eye had become detached.

It’s not always the father. In one case a mother actually hired a male pr******te to have s*x, (r**e), her own daughter to “straighten her out.”

Youngkin may be of the delusional belief that all parents are great people. They aren’t, and in most cases their kids know their parents better than the governor or their teacher.

On a similar note, his model requires the teacher to only call students by the name on their birth certificate, rather than their chosen name. Whereas he says this is to show “respect for all students,” how exactly does this jive? I know he doesn’t want Andy to be called Audrey, but who actually wants to be called by the name on their birth certificate? I know a particular Phil who doesn’t want to be called Phillip, the name on his birth certificate. Does Joe want to be called Joseph? Does Angie want to be called Anjelica? If his model is in effect, there better not be exceptions.

Getting back to the all-important su***de issue, nobody studies them more than the Trevor Project. Here’s what they say.
-Su***de is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 (Hedegaard, Curtin, & Warner, 2018) — and le***an, gay, bis*xual, transgender, q***r, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are at significantly increased risk.
-LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt su***de than their peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020).
-The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider su***de each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts su***de every 45 seconds.
-The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting su***de in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

If Youngkin’s plan is successful there WILL be a vulnerable young person put into a horrible position and the result could be tragic. Tell him his model, well-intentioned or not, is a terrible idea.

A Somewhat Modest DefenseThroughout much of the past two years, after Eric Clapton took the stance as an “anti-vaxxer” d...
09/11/2022

A Somewhat Modest Defense

Throughout much of the past two years, after Eric Clapton took the stance as an “anti-vaxxer” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the vitriol against him has been unprecedented. People have indicated that they would never listen to him again. Seriously? THIS is the issue that would cause such a response from many? Probably realizing that the issue is not enough to abandon a 19-time Grammy Award winner and three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they add a well-documented, drunken rant from 1976 where Clapton voiced support for a racist Tory named Enoch Powell’s call for less British immigration. So, 45 years after this one-off event that most of us were aware of when we read about it in 1976 in Rolling Stone magazine, we NOW call him a racist.

Personally, I don’t look for “musical heroes” to be role models or generally follow their political beliefs. Certainly, many artists do share much of my political ideology but in many cases I can’t stand their music. I dislike Kid Rock, but not because of his atrocious political views, but instead because of his atrocious music. An appreciation for the musical talents shouldn’t be tied to anything other than music. I’ve spent the past 52 years as a Clapton fan and there have been numerous times that his personal life has been anything other than that of a saint. Ironically, prior to his recent song, Stand and Deliver, his music has been devoid of any political views. In his 42 albums you’d be hard pressed to find anything remotely political. I dare you to try. Every time I’ve seen him, which is nearly 40 times, I’ve been very aware of his demons, and they didn’t come close to stopping me from travelling to see him.
In fact, his most successful music has come because of his weaknesses as a human being. All you must do is consider his past. Clearly, he’s always been a very troubled person, going back to being abandoned by his mother, who he originally believed to be his older sister. He never knew who his father was until the 1980’s, after his dad had died and he was contacted by half siblings he never knew he had. His insecurities as an artist are well-documented and likely contributed to his addictive personality. He went from psychedelic drugs in the 1960’s to co***ne and further into he**in in the 1970’s. Beyond the later nearly killing him and his live-in girlfriend at the time, it kept him from performing or recording for three years of the prime of his career. After recovering from his he**in addiction, he immediately became an alcoholic, even drinking boilermakers onstage to cover for his stage fright. Not what I would call a role model. Some of the 1970’s concerts I attended were not great due to this, but some were phenomenal.
Aside from the drugs and alcohol abuse, let’s look at some other personality disorders EC has demonstrated as a supposed adult. He had an affair with his best friend’s wife, who also happened to be the sister of his live-in girlfriend. We all know this and although we all know, many including myself believe that this resulted in his greatest musical achievement. In fact, each of the “Assorted Love Songs” on Layla harken back to this very sinful episode.
After eventually marrying Layla, (Patti Boyd), what is obviously a s*x addiction raised up numerous times. While married to Patti, his affair with Yvonne Kelly resulted in his daughter Ruth Clapton. A year later his affair with Lory Del Santo resulted in the birth of Conor Clapton. We know how that story ended. The number of other affairs that have been rumored are too many to count here, but I imagine you get the point. By all accounts his marriage to Melia, who was 22 when they met, is going strong. I assume she, at 45 is happy with the 77-year-old guitarist.

So, we’ve established that much about Eric Clapton on a personal basis is not exactly endearing. This has been the case for decades. A friend once asked me if I’d like to talk with my musical hero and my answer was no. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I would voice my appreciation for his work. That’s the end of that conversation. Not a great guy perhaps, although many who know him would say otherwise and have at times. When asked about the things being said about his Dominos bandmate, Bobby Whitlock mentions his generosity, both to him and to others that he has witnessed. When Clapton found out that Bobby had sold his publishing rights to the Dominos material, he bought them back and gave them back to Whitlock. Others mention his decades long association with the Prince’s Trust and Amnesty International, both worthwhile charitable organizations.

What about giving back? He sold his favorite guitars for over $12 million US dollars to help fund the Crossroads Centre in Antigua. He totally funded the rest out of pocket. He continues the funding through his Crossroads festivals. You must ask where a racist would build a drug rehab facility that would be free for those who could not afford to pay. Beverly Hills perhaps? No. Antigua has a population that is 91% Black. Typical racist.

Let’s stick with the subject of his supposed racism, which is particularly damning considering the genre of music he has performed for most of his career. I could quote many blues musicians who have spoken of the financial benefit that they have received indirectly from Clapton, such as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. There are those who received direct financial support such as his idols Muddy Waters and Freddie King. BB King is quoted as saying that “Eric is one of the finest men I’ve ever known.” But nothing tells the story better than the very Washington Post article where this was explored.

“Real racist.” That quote came from the wife of singer Sam Moore, who along with Sam were with a comatose Billy Preston on his death bed. Directly from that Post article…..Soul music legend Sam Moore tells of an experience he had with Clapton in 2005. Billy Preston, the keyboardist who played with the Beatles and Clapton, was dying and in a coma in an Arizona hospital. One morning, Moore looked up and saw Clapton arrive as an unannounced visitor. He asked Moore for a hairbrush. “He walked over to Billy, took the brush, brushed his hair. Took the thing and did his mustache,” Moore says. “When he had to leave, he leaned over and kissed Billy on the forehead.” Joyce Moore, Sam Moore’s wife and the late Preston’s manager, grows angry when asked about the charges of racism. “Let me tell you something, Eric Clapton got on a plane to come kiss Billy Preston on the forehead when Billy Preston was in a coma,” she says. “Real racist. Huh. There’s a heart, and that heart didn’t see color.”

As for the anti-vaxx, political issue, let’s begin by saying that Clapton had his first COVID vaccine without hesitation, unlike most that would be labeled anti-vaxx. He even took his second vaccine despite the issues with the first. That’s where the trouble began. Bonnie Bramlett took a similar stance when she heard. “He can’t feel his freakin’ hands anymore and he doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else,” she says. “And why is everybody all freaked out about it? I think he’s a hero for it.” Well, clearly not a hero, but the whole story needs to be heard.

Going back to 2018, Clapton was first diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy which caused him to lose some of the feeling in his fingers, an awfully bad diagnosis for a guitarist. Treatment was helpful but not complete. After his first COVID-19 vaccine, the neuropathy got much worse. It was even worse after his second shot. After his hands improved, he wanted to tour. “A guy in his mid-70’s doesn’t have forever.” When he heard that Van Morrison felt the same way they collaborated on a song protesting vaccine mandates. Van wasn’t really attacked like Clapton was though. Their collaboration was not about vaccines, it was about having the choice to take the vaccine or choose to not take one. “I’m just saying people should be able to decide for themselves rather than being forced,” Clapton said. “The minute I said anything about the lockdown I was labeled a Trump supporter in America, Because of what has been said and written my daughters think I’m a Trumper, which I assure you I am not,” he added.

Due to vaccine mandates, Clapton chose locations for his 2021 tour that did not have a vaccine mandate. This included Austin, Texas, where Gov. Abbott was photographed backstage with Eric and Jimmie Vaughan. When asked if that meant that he was anti-abortion as well he said, “Quite the contrary. Just like vaccines I believe in freedom of choice. I live in Ohio and England. I’m unaware of Texas laws.”

Yardbird drummer Jim McCarty probably said it best when he indicated that even in the early days, Clapton was a mystery. He said, “You ever met people like that? That really never fit anywhere, and you can’t quite understand what they’re thinking or what they do?”

It’s odd to me that there are musicians, actors and artists with a broad variety of political beliefs and most make it all too clear what those beliefs are. Generically many complain that they use their platform too often. Here you have a musician who has been in the public eye since he was 17 years old and for most of those 60 years the most political lyric was, “Just like Sly you gotta take a stand.” Then the collaboration with Van the Man, Stand and Deliver comes out and all Hell breaks loose. The lyrics tell a very clear and divisive point.

“I don’t wanna be a pauper,
And I don’t wanna be a prince,
I just wanna do my job,
Playing the blues for my friends.
Magna Carta, Bill of Rights,
The Constitution, what’s it worth?
They’re gonna grind us down,
Until it really hurts.”

Yep, the most divisive song ever written without a doubt. Written by an artist who very few people really know, even though he’s written an autobiography, several biographies have been written about him, and a full-length movie was made about him. He remains a troubled man as he has always been. He’s certainly not a role model for anyone. He is still a great guitarist; a decent singer and he has a musical history that few can claim. Don’t buy his records. Don’t go to his shows. That’s your loss.

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