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What is it that makes a piece of art, work, or not? Inspiration? But what is that and where does it come from? I don’t mean that all inspiration (‘a sudden brilliant idea’) is the same thing or comes from the same place? But if you could bottle it, they would probably proscribe the active ingredient and replace it with saccharine! Hmmm, ugh.
But talent abounds, and I don’t mean to be dismissive of people with talent, but there is thankfully plenty of it about, however it rarely translates into recognition and success. What is it that happens when it does? And when it does it’s like catching a wave and riding it, everything you touch turns to gold.
Look at Elvis for goodness sake, the man can’t do any wrong, nearly forty years out of the game and his latest release is attracting global attention.
The Stone Roses are coming back; for those of you that don’t know, they are a group from Manchester that formed in 1983 and brought out a self-titled album in 1989 that, it’s not an overstatement to say, changed the game. 1989 was ‘the summer of love’, rave was the name of the game and they just couldn’t miss. They tried to wriggle out of the obligations of their original recording contract and it took them five years to produce the follow-up album at which stage the wave had passed. What happened?
There is an argument that with modern media there are no bands like The Stone Roses anymore, contrary to that, The Stone Roses can’t do what they did anymore either, catch the wave. And like the faithful that spend hours out there in their wetsuits, when it happens, it’s magic.
I had the privilege of seeing them (The Roses) in Pairc Ui Chaoimh in ’95 and let me warn you there is a lot of overlayering in the studio, live, Ian Brown’s voice is as flat as mine.
There is a story in the States about a guy called Jimmy Ellis; his voice was as good as Elvis’s, not to mention the physical similarities. Not so much that you’d mistake him for Elvis but he was the head off Elvis’s father Vernon, and as an orphan from Alabama there is an argument. Jimmy drew media attention, crowds to gigs and released records, plenty of them, but couldn’t make it work, never got the break. It begs the question, were there or are there dozens of Elvis’s out there – but the one we know and love just caught the wave and once he was on it everything he touched turned to gold.
Sure, some of his success has to be put down to the business end of it, his management, but ultimately, if he was so successful, he mightn’t be so dead.
And for all of this we have to be so grateful, all over the world, all over the country and all over West Cork that there is so much talent. Down through the years so many great bands – Microdisney, Belson, Frank & Walters, Fred, Elastic Sleep, House of Cosy Cushions, and on – filtering all the way down to the sessions that are happening in our local venues.
The talent is amazing and we are the ones who benefit that they are here in abundance, playing under our noses week in week out, because they have to, for our pleasure. It’s up to us to go out and support them, and let them know what it means to us that they keep on keeping on.