Writer's Commentary- I Have the Touch

On Post: I Have the Touch
Date: January 17

This was one of those entries that is almost a literal reinterpretation of the song. Once I realized what the song was about, I just couldn’t not (yay for double negatives!) go in this direction.
Okay, perhaps the sexual disorder frotteurism, which involves rubbing against people for gratification without their approval and/or knowledge (frottage), is not literally what I Have the Touch is all about. But it sure seems like it. If you are confused, look at the lyrics. For years, I thought it was about ego (“I have the touch.”) and a very 80’s interpretation of life (“I like the rush hour because I like to rush.”) but it turns out “the touch” here is feeling other people and the reason rush hour is appealing is that there are plenty of people to feel as they walk past. Reading the lyrics completely changed my vision of this song.
So it was not just a mere transcription of the lyrics though, I wanted to be a bit less facile about it. In the song, the POV seems entirely at ease with what he does. I want to scratch a bit deeper and show a man who is desperately trying to convince himself he’s ok with what he’s doing, that he’s in control of the disorder. Thus, the glib celebration of it—and I don’t think Gabriel is celebrating it, just that he’s writing a character who is—gives away to a reality of fear and need to reassure that this is something to be celebrated not disgusted and horrified by. This is a man very much trying to be fine with himself and the entry lets the mask slip a bit to see the panic underneath.
At least, that was the goal.
This is all day 2 of the three day Amoral/Mentally Ill-a-thon that just happened. Of the three this is the one I have the most empathy for and feel is probably the most in touch— despite his denial—with the reality of what he’s compelled to do being wrong. He’s not a sociopath like the other two arguably are, his statement of “this isn’t wrong” is a shield, not a real feeling.

My explanation not ring true? Do you have questions that this piece left unanswered? Reach out and touch me at tim.g.stevens@gmail.com or @ungajje on the Twitter. And, as always, spread the word.