In August 2001, after finishing ‘Jade ov Arcc’, I headed to my home town New York and then to San Francisco for a biz trip/holiday, networking, visiting friends – even doing some recording with my didgeridoo at Wyclef Jean’s (the Fugees) studio in Manhattan which was a blast! I had been thinking about a “Salomé” concept, though I didn’t yet have anything concrete in mind, and after 5 weeks (and witnessing two NYC robberies!) I was eager to get back to Hamburg and talk to Sharlie.
On the morning of September 11th I packed my bags, ready to fly out that afternoon. I called the friend I was staying with at his office at about 9:45. He said: “You can’t leave, the airports have been closed, the Trade Center has been bombed, turn on the TV.” And I did so, just in time to see first the South and then the North Tower collapse. I sat in front of the TV in a state of shock most that day, watching the same horrible images over and over like the rest of the world, watching the newscasters weep showing photos of the missing, and trying in vain to get through to the volunteer lines – they were busy the whole time. I was unable to fly out of New York until a week later. By then I had experienced what it was like to be in a traumatized city under siege, and the profound effect it had on me was to influence the later writing of “Salomé” in ways that I could not possibly imagine at the time.
I arrived back in Hamburg totally shattered, returning to work in the hope that routine would alleviate some of the shock, vaguely aware of an increasing feeling of weight and darkness. No one told me it was post-traumatic stress.
Nevertheless, out of sheer need I began to formulate an idea that would set our “Salomé” around the time of the Vietnam War. Sharlie and had agreed that we wouldn’t begin writing until November because she needed some time, but we exchanged thoughts on the idea. We saw Salomé as a flower child, oppressed by her society mother and armaments dealer stepfather, and our Prophet as a love-and-peace guru of whom Salomé becomes enamoured. But I soon began to feel that this was too commonplace, too easily dated. The mythical element was missing.
By the time November rolled around I felt like I was living in a black hole. Then something happened that would change my life – and the writing of @“Salomé” – dramatically: a voice student of mine came to her lesson and announced excitedly, “Jade, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” is coming out in December!” Well, I had seen the @Ralph Bakshi film in 1978 just after reading the books for the first time and I remembered my disappointment, so my first reaction to her news was, “Who is @Peter Jackson (I really didn’t know) and why is he doing that?” She was unfazed. “It’s going to be awesome!” she insisted. “We’ll see,” I replied. And I retained my scepticism – until the first trailer for @“Fellowship of the Ring” appeared in November and oh, it did look very exciting! So, Sharlie and I – both avid Tolkien fans and neither of us keen on anyone ‘messing’ with our beloved @“Lord of the Rings” – waited feverishly until, just before Christmas, “Fellowship” finally opened. On a grey December afternoon in Hamburg (the 22nd to be exact), I made my way to the Grindel UFA-Palast with its huge main theatre that played films in English. It was a matinee, and almost empty. I took a seat in the middle and waited nervously with my popcorn. The lights went down, the music began…and with @Galadriel’s first whisper of Elvish I was utterly and completely swept away. Here’s that mind-blowing beginning: