Philip Glass: a man who halfway through his own memoir, written by himself about his own life, can start a paragraph with: “But look at it from my point of view…” The innocent jostle of his ego crowds every page. He takes up plumbing as a day job in order to support his children, whose appearance in his life occupies one small paragraph out of 396 pages. He and his friend simply walk into the local plumbing emporium whenever they hit a snag and ask “for supplies and advice.” He recounts the time and energy spent by these professionals in training him and his friend and then says, “We taught ourselves basic bathroom plumbing this way.” Having reframed their teaching as his own auto-didact determination he then further undermines it with, “We weren’t that good at first, but it wasn’t that complicated, either.”
Eventually Glass gets work under a proper licensed plumber, an older man who presumably has taken the time and trouble to earn his own certification. Everything works out smoothly for about three years, until one day an artist friend of Glass’s offers him more interesting work at the same price. He immediately dumps the plumber who has spent three years training him: “That was fine with me and I began practically the next day.” Audiences in Europe who didn’t like his music are described as “a bunch of yokels there who didn’t know anything about world music or even new music” – “They didn’t know anything.” How I wish there were a stronger alignment between good work and great character.