„buten und binnen“

People often think that somebody who sees less experiences less. Hmm... Simon Bellett "sees" that differently. He suspects that he's experiencing more than he used to!

Journalist: „Don't you sometimes think – why does this have to happen to me of all people?“

Simon: „No. No. Because going blind makes my life far more interesting.“

Whoops – of all places he prefers to walk down the middle of the road!

Simon: „I am of course talking about side streets – I don't walk down the middle of motorways. But it's far easier for me to walk on the road. I don't have to tackle wheelie bins, posts or poles. If a car comes, I hear it and go to the side. But people are always calling to me – you're in the middle of the road! And I say – I know!“

He's not treating this book very well. But his grand piano gets heaps of good attention. Simon Bellett began playing the piano as a child – that was in his home county of Yorkshire in England. He never intended to become a musician and hasn't studied music; but he became one anyway and is well known as a musician in Bremerhaven.

Mr Bellett... 43 years old, father of two children and uniquely positive even though he's slowly but surely losing his sight completely. In his own words – he's "keeping a close eye" on the genetically determined deterioration. Anything he writes or anything that needs to reach him must be strictly white on black. And very close up. All the comical things which he experiences whilst losing his sight get written down and he's planning a book of anecdotes.

Simon: „There are funny things here: For example my sister, who is also losing her sight, told me about attempting to close her front door. She pulled repeatedly but it wouldn't close. She wondered what was going on and tried again more forcefully. Then she noticed that the cat was stuck in the door...!“

Yes the Brit can laugh about things like that. He's kept his sarcastic sense of humour even after being in Bremerhaven for 21 years.

Simon: „For me humour is part of the job. I get around a lot with music and whether it's a big concert, a project in a school or a performance in an old people's home, wherever I go people want to have fun."

Reading sheet music is a thing of the past which he can't do any more. But it has been exactly this loss of sight which has formed him into a multi-instrumentalist. If playing the piano became difficult, he'd be prepared.

Simon: „The less I see, the more different strategies I need to develop to get through life. And I notice that for every door which closes, a new one opens. I find that fascinating!“

Journalist: „Which doors open?“

Simon: „That I, for example, can no longer read sheet music but now play by heart. These days I'm able to play for hours without sheet music. I play more freely, I can improvise... All things which I may otherwise have never experienced.“

Simon Bellett says he loves getting into cars, as long as it’s not the door on the front left. For that he has his Britta, who picks up the Brit from Yorkshire together with her Yorkshire terrier when he needs to be driven to work with his many musical instruments.

Simon: „When people ask why going blind doesn't make me unhappy, I can only say: If it was like that then people who can see would be happy all the time. But it's not like that...“

Journalist: „Who can argue with that?“

(Simon singing) „I know somebody called Claudia Hanfgarn. She gets people moving – yeah!“