Today, he plays down the brush with death, which has never been made public ("It's not the sort of thing you 'announce'"). However, he seems more forthcoming than in the past. He vividly remembers waking up in intensive care. The first thing that shocked him was that wards are shared. "It's not like in the movies," he says, where there's one person on their own with machines and doctors all around them. Pierce was in with six other people, each with their own heart monitor, beeping away, an experience he found "really beautiful".
"Everyone's heart machines are going at a different rate," he smiles, "you've got all these weird polyrhythms." He knows it sounds stupid, but there he was, on the brink of death, "listening to this music".
When the other five people in the ward died around him he thought, amazingly, "Your odds are looking good now J, because someone's got to get out of here."