What sport does Peter Gabriel play?

When Peter Gabriel decided to record his fourth album, he rented out the Aschcombe House in rural England. The building was less than ideal. 

“It was a typical sort of landlord situation because there was never any money spent on it; there was rain coming through, rats and dry rot. We had a serious outbreak. It’s a fascinating fungus actually, because once it catches and the temperature and the moisture are right, it reproduces at extraordinary speed and you get the spores almost like a mist, then these amazing mushroom shapes growing out of all parts of the house.” 

This was a particularly intense album, with a heavy emphasis on rhythm, percussion and drums. Cymbals were once again banned from the album, creating a heavier sound. Shock the Monkey was the lone hit. 

Any recording is extremely difficult. Doing so in these situations must have been doubly so. How did they recharge? They played. What did Peter and his bandmates play? 

The game – the obsession of that time – was croquet. There was a lawn at Ashcombe, which was pretty flat, and we’d set up either car lights or some vague attempt at nightlights so we could play at night as well as in the daytime. Whenever there was a break we’d get out there and this stayed with us on tour. We travelled with a mobile croquet set. I remember we set up in Newcastle on one foggy, winter night on a roundabout outside the hotel… it was quite a big roundabout and had a good game because it was floodlit.”  

And true to Gabriel’s playful spirit, he ended the story with a joke.  

“What’s great about croquet is that it’s a really vicious game and you can do horrible things to your opponents’ balls, if you’ll forgive the expression. So that would keep us very entertained.” 

As Joni Mitchell once sang, “heart and humor and humility will help you bear your heavy load.”  

What game could you play to help your difficult life?  

And where can your sense of humor help you get through what’s hard? 

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