In 1981 Wink Musselman was a child star of US hit TV show, ‘What Would the Neighbors Say?’ with the world at his feet. By 1988, ravaged by puberty, his career washed up, he was thrown naked onto the sidewalk of life.
10 years later Documentary maker Deven Parmar profiled Wink in a now in-famous fly-on-the-wall documentary entitled The Wink Musselman Story, it showed the incredible highs and terrifying lows of a life lived surviving under the spotlight.
That was way back in 1998, and after a chance meeting with an old acquaintance I decided to try and track Wink down. I’d known him briefly when he’d began the millennium performing in London with a new band, but apart from a few unconfirmed sightings in Africa, Wink was off the radar.
It wasn’t easy, after what seemed like weeks of phone calls, (but was probably only a few minutes) I found out where he was. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, two hours later I was on a scheduled flight to Adana, south eastern Turkey.
I reached his villa by sunset, he’d just returned from the local steam baths, (I found out later Wink ALWAYS has a daily soak and massage), and was accompanied by his personal Tellak, a young local boy named Izzet.
When I had explained my reason for visiting, Wink (looking tanned and relaxed, dressed in a Las Vegas Hilton Bathrobe) withdrew the dogs and was more than happy to welcome me into his opulent (but modest) home.
Once the bleeding had stopped and my wounds had been dressed properly, Izzet served up a large delicious banquet of local delicacies, Kebaps, Baklava and Kleftiko. We then relocated to the pool terrace for a strictly ‘off the record’ chat.
So what happened after London?
Well, I returned to the States and dabbled in televangelism for a while, things were going great until I saw (ethologist and evolutionary biologist) Richard Dawkins on a comedy programme, and lost all faith completely.
I had a spiritual experience in that moment, I knew that this man was speaking the Truth. Even if it wasn’t His Truth… it was ‘his’ truth. See what I’m saying? I think it’s quite profound really. Shall we have another?…”
At this point Wink produced a large bottle of Brandy, 2 glasses and an ornate silver ice bucket and continued.
This crisis of faith passed a few days later, I threw myself into my favourite charity, ‘WCVD,’ (Wink Cares VD. A charity dedicated to the global eradication of childhood venereal disease (VD in America) Play on words. Very Deeply or Venereal Disease.) until an unfortunate incident happened in the parking lot of a 7-11 in the early morning of 24-9-2002 following my live telethon.
I knew I had to find a new headspace, so I flew to Catalina Island where I opened a donkey farm with a close acquaintance, millionaire and London journalist, Harrison Chase. Eventually after deciding that our “friendship” was no longer viable, I closed shop and moved to Turkey to teach English and unwind.
‘It’s been like another life for me, another birth, another beginning….’ ,Wink pronounced as he poured another brandy, simultaneously launching a trio of ice cubes into his tumbler.
Wink’s story is far from over and he plans a major comeback record entitled, “Handjobs and Hamams” in the next year. I for one will be waiting with baited breath.
As the evening went on Wink enthralled us with tales of his incredible adventures, many with ‘celebrity’ friends, unfortunately the batteries on my dictaphone were the first to give out and the next day it was all a bit fuzzy.
I remember he talked of his religious conversion (He recently became a devout Muslim), and the revelation that he is actually very upset with current United States policy toward Israel, and claimed that his views are “really quite nuanced.”
As he wished me farewell a clearly happy, but drunk Wink looked me square in the face and said ‘I plan to spread the Word through song’.
What happens now, only Wink can say for sure, but when he is ready we will be here to listen.