What Robert Smith Knows About Vocations

Andrew Macrae
2 min readApr 15, 2020
A microphone on a stage
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

I have a thing for rock’n’roll autobiographies. I also have a thing for The Cure.

So when I found out Lol Tolhurst, one of the band’s founding members, had written a book about their early days, it was on the Kindle within minutes.

There’s a passage that really jumped out at me.

It’s 1977. They’re still called Easy Cure, and they have a singer — Robert Smith is just the guitar player and hasn’t stepped up to the mic yet.

They’ve played a few shows and things seem to be going well when the singer quits.

Then Robert did something that changed the whole course of The Cure. Up until then, I don’t think Robert had thought about being the guitarist and the singer, but I think he realized right then, when Peter left, that if he was going to make a difference in this world, if he was going to be able to get across what he wanted to say, he would have to be the front man, he would have to take that on. …

We were still teenagers, but even then he knew what it meant, what he was getting into. It’s one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen anyone do.

I really like what this says about a vocation, a calling.

I’ve heard that call maybe three times in my life, and I’ve disavowed it. I didn’t have the courage. I was afraid to leave my comfort zone.

I’ve squandered opportunities and refused to accept the weight of that responsibility.

Maybe it’s time to grasp the mic?

I’m working out what might that mean for both my own life, and how I can help my clients solve their problems.



Andrew Macrae

Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me https://tinyletter.com/Andrew_Macrae