apolla: (Live And Dangerous)
In January, some time after returning from Dublin, I sat down and began writing the Epic Lizzy Post that I've been threatening to unleash on the world for months and months and more months. Shards of it are in front of me now, in a dog-eared, torn, pitiful excuse of a notebook. It became a monster within moments of pen touching paper. Within only four sides, it had descended into "Fuck you Philip, and your little dog too!" and surely, I could do better?

I'm afraid that I can't. I cannot explain or express what it is about them without taking my pen and sticking it into my head and hoping that what spills out is a rough draft of the way I feel and think on a daily basis.

It's a shame really, because I put more effort into this thing than I did an entire secondary school education. There were notes, post-it notes, notes on me hand, scrawled memos to self, the whole caper.

I can't do it. I raise the white flag of "Dude, you're kidding me" because after all those post-its and pages of rambling, I cannot tell you why. There is nothing I can tell you about the band that their own music could not tell you itself, better. There is nothing I can tell you about Philip Lynott that he himself did not say.

I could tell you about Johnny, the alter-ego that shows up in songs throughout the Lizzy canon. I could tell you about the issues he faced, the demons he battled and the private war he lost. I could even tell you about Scott Gorham's shiny hair, Robbo's kimono and Downey's mirror sunglasses. None of this is stuff I could report better than they could play it.

So I propose a compromise of sorts. In the time-honoured rock tradition of Endless Naffing Lists, I present to you: a bunch of lists. I don't suggest you download the whole lot, or go out and buy the entire Lizzy catalogue on CD, although if you want to, please do. I could tell you about the diverse nature of the Lizzy legend and Philip's astounding way with words, but the music itself does that better.

The ability of Lizzy to cross generic boundaries and borders was rare in 'hard rock/heavy metal' back then, and is even rarer in these thoroughly pigeon-holed days. Perhaps it was the diversity of the band that caused the record companies the headaches and slowed their assaults on the US even more.

So I do not present you with a twenty thousand word treatise. I present you instead with lists, because you might all find something to love. If you're really lucky, like I was, you'll love it all.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)
In January, some time after returning from Dublin, I sat down and began writing the Epic Lizzy Post that I've been threatening to unleash on the world for months and months and more months. Shards of it are in front of me now, in a dog-eared, torn, pitiful excuse of a notebook. It became a monster within moments of pen touching paper. Within only four sides, it had descended into "Fuck you Philip, and your little dog too!" and surely, I could do better?

I'm afraid that I can't. I cannot explain or express what it is about them without taking my pen and sticking it into my head and hoping that what spills out is a rough draft of the way I feel and think on a daily basis.

It's a shame really, because I put more effort into this thing than I did an entire secondary school education. There were notes, post-it notes, notes on me hand, scrawled memos to self, the whole caper.

I can't do it. I raise the white flag of "Dude, you're kidding me" because after all those post-its and pages of rambling, I cannot tell you why. There is nothing I can tell you about the band that their own music could not tell you itself, better. There is nothing I can tell you about Philip Lynott that he himself did not say.

I could tell you about Johnny, the alter-ego that shows up in songs throughout the Lizzy canon. I could tell you about the issues he faced, the demons he battled and the private war he lost. I could even tell you about Scott Gorham's shiny hair, Robbo's kimono and Downey's mirror sunglasses. None of this is stuff I could report better than they could play it.

So I propose a compromise of sorts. In the time-honoured rock tradition of Endless Naffing Lists, I present to you: a bunch of lists. I don't suggest you download the whole lot, or go out and buy the entire Lizzy catalogue on CD, although if you want to, please do. I could tell you about the diverse nature of the Lizzy legend and Philip's astounding way with words, but the music itself does that better.

The ability of Lizzy to cross generic boundaries and borders was rare in 'hard rock/heavy metal' back then, and is even rarer in these thoroughly pigeon-holed days. Perhaps it was the diversity of the band that caused the record companies the headaches and slowed their assaults on the US even more.

So I do not present you with a twenty thousand word treatise. I present you instead with lists, because you might all find something to love. If you're really lucky, like I was, you'll love it all.

apolla: (Lynott)

So, you might have (but probably haven't) noticed how quiet I've been on a certain tall dark handsome subject lately. It's not that I'm bored with Thin Lizzy (as if) or haven't been listening to them (please), it's just that I've been sick and unable or unwilling to dick about on the computer repeating myself as I usually do.

That ends here. So, last week when I was dying of an ear infection (so it turned out I was being dramatic), I bought Solo in Soho, the first Philip Lynott solo record. This wouldn't really be notable, except that I do already own it on CD and bought the vinyl. Given the means, I could become such a vinyl junkie- I was narrowly outbid for a Philip/Gary Moore picture disc, too. And no, I can't justify spending twenty-five quid on a record, so yes, I was outbid.

Anyway, that's not why I'm here. The final filmed live performance by Thin Lizzy was in Dublin in 1983, and has just been released on DVD. And yes, I bought it and I'm watching it.

This is the bit where I yammer on about how Philip looks overweight, tired and otherwise not his 'usual' self. This is the bit where I yammer on about how they're just loud heavy metal boys by 1983. This is the bit where I suggest that Scott Gorham lost some of his powers a la Samson when he cut most of his hair off and started taking drugs (again). This is the bit where I point out that John Sykes may in fact, be my least favourite Lizzy guitarist (brief guys like Midge Ure and Dave Flett don't count) even beneath Gary Moore, who winds me up for reasons passing understanding.

It hasn't escaped my attention that the picture of Philip plastered on the front of the DVD is decidedly not from 1983. I'd date it from about 1976 given the size of his afro, the slenderness of his face and the clothes he's wearing. All in all, it's not the same-looking feller as who turns up on the disc.

And yes, in my opinion, they start off pretty blah. I don't like Thunder & Lightning much and likely never will. It's not like Renegade, which needed to grow on me. It's much more like Shades of a Blue Orphanage, which has a couple of songs so great that it saves the rest of the otherwise mediocre output (Thin Lizzy were never bad, but they occasionally skirted mediocrity)... and I don't like the title song Thunder & Lightning. It's blah. It's almost interchangeable, in my opinion, with most heavy metal released at the time, and from any other band this would be OK... but not from a band like Thin Lizzy, who were so un-metal a lot of the time to actually defy their own genre. I know some people think Thunder & Lightning was a great renaissance, but most of these are the metalheads who didn't like Snowy White (great guitarist, stage presence of a junior accountant) and so dismissed the likes of Renegade. I'm generalising, but who gives a fuck?

Oh also, the DVD opens with a few bits of 'interview' with guitarists Brian Robertson and Eric Bell, Dave Ling (journalist apparently), George Best (presumably from before he died, but who can tell?), Nick Tauber (producer), artist Jim Fitzpatrick, and his pals Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger.

The idiotic voiceover says the following concert was a 'triumphant homecoming', but how can it be when they're a shadow of their former selves, the band was over within six months and Philip died within a couple of years.

"He was just born a star, really," said Robbo in his moment here.... and yes, Philip was. It's the star quality that keeps this concert from being on a par with the Not-Doors. It's still Thin Lizzy after all, even if they're not quite running at full majestic power. It's still Philip, so to hear that t'ick Dub accent still warms my heart... until he says that Cold Sweat is "for anybody who has the flu". Right. Got To Give It Up is about an addiction to Sherbert Dip, I presume?

Anyway, I was talking about how blah it is. It is... and then Are You Ready? finally kicks them up a gear (always a great live song, that)... and shit... Darren Wharton is wearing the shiniest, brightest red satin shirt you've seen in your fuckin' life! It's practically glowing, for fuck's sake. Other sartorial nonsense: Mr Gorham's white sneakers with an entirely black outfit. Clever, mate. Don't even get me started on his fringe, man.

That's not important. What is important is the way your man Scott is jumping around the stage like a total loon. Now, this is par for the course for about 99% of guitarists, most of whom always feel they gotta compete with the strutting peacock singing, right? No. This is Scott Gorham we're talking about, a man who personifies the laidback California thing, right? Who will stand and look like he's shagging the guitar... but this jumping around stuff would be a shock if I hadn't already seen some of these clips in *cough* bootlegs. John Sykes, with his bleach blond heavy metal perm is no better and they look ludicrous and not cool. Thin Lizzy were always cool.

So I was starting to feel a bit dischuffed... then after Are You Ready? and Cold Sweat came The Sun Goes Down. You know I said there are a couple of songs on Thunder & Lightning that save the record? This is the one. This is a song that sends tears to my eyes, shivers down my spine and aches to my heart. This is a song that has, on more than one occasion, taken hold of my soul and shut everything down but the feeling that this is the most beautiful thing in the world. And the saddest.

The live version, lacking the spit and polish of the studio, remains as musically stupendous, but has a certain poignancy. I know this is the last time they played Dublin, Lizzy's true home. I know himself would be dead soon. It means everything, and with only a microphone, Philip's voice reaches into my chest and starts my suddenly-frozen heart beating again. With a voice like that, Philip's looking less than svelte matters not one fraction of an iota of a nano-thing. And then Scott plays his solo... and it doesn't matter what fuckin shoes he's got on, what his hair is like... this solo is, to me, about pain and harrowing, harrowing suffering. It is about heartbreak, despair and that thing that sends people like me crashing to the depths of depression before we know what's hit us.

The last time I saw this clip, incidentally, I was leaning against the barrier at Vicar Street, Dublin, waiting for the twentieth Vibe For Philo to either start, or for the next guest. Everyone went quiet, and for the first time that evening, I truly felt like crying. I also felt like I wanted to be sick, but that's another story for another time.

"Is there anybody with a little Irish in them? Is there anybody who'd like a little more Irish in them?"

The first time I heard that line, it was Philip on Live and Dangerous, just before Emerald. I've heard that Colin Farrell uses the same line... but to me it sums everything up about Philip- cocky and charming, lecherous and adorable in the way little boys are when they try to be cool. It gets repeated in 1983 (which to a crowd in Dublin seems likely to get a response) and although it lacks a little of the youthful vigour it once had, the song still remains the same, although the solos are too 80s metal twiddly-Halen bollocks as far as I'm concerned.

Then again, Still In Love With You retains its usual ability to break my heart, soul and everything I have, into tiny little fucking pieces. Because yes, to be slightly cheesy, I am still in love with Thin Lizzy and their foolish, grand, broken giant of a singer.

I'm taking too long to explain this, aren't I? If you want to see a band breaking up, watch Let It Be. If you want to see a band dying, this might be for you. It is sad, it is triumphant. It is beautiful and occasionally blah... but it is never boring. To understand Thin Lizzy, I now know, one must hear what they were live. To see it, even in the fragments a DVD can provide, is even better. I can't persuade you all to love my boys... but this stuff would convert you. OK, maybe not this one, but should you be passing through an HMV/Tower/Virgin Megastore/Wherever and you happen to see my boy staring up at you... give it a go, hmm?

apolla: (Lynott)

So, you might have (but probably haven't) noticed how quiet I've been on a certain tall dark handsome subject lately. It's not that I'm bored with Thin Lizzy (as if) or haven't been listening to them (please), it's just that I've been sick and unable or unwilling to dick about on the computer repeating myself as I usually do.

That ends here. So, last week when I was dying of an ear infection (so it turned out I was being dramatic), I bought Solo in Soho, the first Philip Lynott solo record. This wouldn't really be notable, except that I do already own it on CD and bought the vinyl. Given the means, I could become such a vinyl junkie- I was narrowly outbid for a Philip/Gary Moore picture disc, too. And no, I can't justify spending twenty-five quid on a record, so yes, I was outbid.

Anyway, that's not why I'm here. The final filmed live performance by Thin Lizzy was in Dublin in 1983, and has just been released on DVD. And yes, I bought it and I'm watching it.

This is the bit where I yammer on about how Philip looks overweight, tired and otherwise not his 'usual' self. This is the bit where I yammer on about how they're just loud heavy metal boys by 1983. This is the bit where I suggest that Scott Gorham lost some of his powers a la Samson when he cut most of his hair off and started taking drugs (again). This is the bit where I point out that John Sykes may in fact, be my least favourite Lizzy guitarist (brief guys like Midge Ure and Dave Flett don't count) even beneath Gary Moore, who winds me up for reasons passing understanding.

It hasn't escaped my attention that the picture of Philip plastered on the front of the DVD is decidedly not from 1983. I'd date it from about 1976 given the size of his afro, the slenderness of his face and the clothes he's wearing. All in all, it's not the same-looking feller as who turns up on the disc.

And yes, in my opinion, they start off pretty blah. I don't like Thunder & Lightning much and likely never will. It's not like Renegade, which needed to grow on me. It's much more like Shades of a Blue Orphanage, which has a couple of songs so great that it saves the rest of the otherwise mediocre output (Thin Lizzy were never bad, but they occasionally skirted mediocrity)... and I don't like the title song Thunder & Lightning. It's blah. It's almost interchangeable, in my opinion, with most heavy metal released at the time, and from any other band this would be OK... but not from a band like Thin Lizzy, who were so un-metal a lot of the time to actually defy their own genre. I know some people think Thunder & Lightning was a great renaissance, but most of these are the metalheads who didn't like Snowy White (great guitarist, stage presence of a junior accountant) and so dismissed the likes of Renegade. I'm generalising, but who gives a fuck?

Oh also, the DVD opens with a few bits of 'interview' with guitarists Brian Robertson and Eric Bell, Dave Ling (journalist apparently), George Best (presumably from before he died, but who can tell?), Nick Tauber (producer), artist Jim Fitzpatrick, and his pals Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger.

The idiotic voiceover says the following concert was a 'triumphant homecoming', but how can it be when they're a shadow of their former selves, the band was over within six months and Philip died within a couple of years.

"He was just born a star, really," said Robbo in his moment here.... and yes, Philip was. It's the star quality that keeps this concert from being on a par with the Not-Doors. It's still Thin Lizzy after all, even if they're not quite running at full majestic power. It's still Philip, so to hear that t'ick Dub accent still warms my heart... until he says that Cold Sweat is "for anybody who has the flu". Right. Got To Give It Up is about an addiction to Sherbert Dip, I presume?

Anyway, I was talking about how blah it is. It is... and then Are You Ready? finally kicks them up a gear (always a great live song, that)... and shit... Darren Wharton is wearing the shiniest, brightest red satin shirt you've seen in your fuckin' life! It's practically glowing, for fuck's sake. Other sartorial nonsense: Mr Gorham's white sneakers with an entirely black outfit. Clever, mate. Don't even get me started on his fringe, man.

That's not important. What is important is the way your man Scott is jumping around the stage like a total loon. Now, this is par for the course for about 99% of guitarists, most of whom always feel they gotta compete with the strutting peacock singing, right? No. This is Scott Gorham we're talking about, a man who personifies the laidback California thing, right? Who will stand and look like he's shagging the guitar... but this jumping around stuff would be a shock if I hadn't already seen some of these clips in *cough* bootlegs. John Sykes, with his bleach blond heavy metal perm is no better and they look ludicrous and not cool. Thin Lizzy were always cool.

So I was starting to feel a bit dischuffed... then after Are You Ready? and Cold Sweat came The Sun Goes Down. You know I said there are a couple of songs on Thunder & Lightning that save the record? This is the one. This is a song that sends tears to my eyes, shivers down my spine and aches to my heart. This is a song that has, on more than one occasion, taken hold of my soul and shut everything down but the feeling that this is the most beautiful thing in the world. And the saddest.

The live version, lacking the spit and polish of the studio, remains as musically stupendous, but has a certain poignancy. I know this is the last time they played Dublin, Lizzy's true home. I know himself would be dead soon. It means everything, and with only a microphone, Philip's voice reaches into my chest and starts my suddenly-frozen heart beating again. With a voice like that, Philip's looking less than svelte matters not one fraction of an iota of a nano-thing. And then Scott plays his solo... and it doesn't matter what fuckin shoes he's got on, what his hair is like... this solo is, to me, about pain and harrowing, harrowing suffering. It is about heartbreak, despair and that thing that sends people like me crashing to the depths of depression before we know what's hit us.

The last time I saw this clip, incidentally, I was leaning against the barrier at Vicar Street, Dublin, waiting for the twentieth Vibe For Philo to either start, or for the next guest. Everyone went quiet, and for the first time that evening, I truly felt like crying. I also felt like I wanted to be sick, but that's another story for another time.

"Is there anybody with a little Irish in them? Is there anybody who'd like a little more Irish in them?"

The first time I heard that line, it was Philip on Live and Dangerous, just before Emerald. I've heard that Colin Farrell uses the same line... but to me it sums everything up about Philip- cocky and charming, lecherous and adorable in the way little boys are when they try to be cool. It gets repeated in 1983 (which to a crowd in Dublin seems likely to get a response) and although it lacks a little of the youthful vigour it once had, the song still remains the same, although the solos are too 80s metal twiddly-Halen bollocks as far as I'm concerned.

Then again, Still In Love With You retains its usual ability to break my heart, soul and everything I have, into tiny little fucking pieces. Because yes, to be slightly cheesy, I am still in love with Thin Lizzy and their foolish, grand, broken giant of a singer.

I'm taking too long to explain this, aren't I? If you want to see a band breaking up, watch Let It Be. If you want to see a band dying, this might be for you. It is sad, it is triumphant. It is beautiful and occasionally blah... but it is never boring. To understand Thin Lizzy, I now know, one must hear what they were live. To see it, even in the fragments a DVD can provide, is even better. I can't persuade you all to love my boys... but this stuff would convert you. OK, maybe not this one, but should you be passing through an HMV/Tower/Virgin Megastore/Wherever and you happen to see my boy staring up at you... give it a go, hmm?

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

apolla: (Rock Chick)

This is my second attempt at writing this in a manner that is articulate, intelligent and succinct. Not sure how it's going to work out, given that I'm still in the "OMG!" stage. I'll leave my other stuff in the old post, cos I'm sure that most people reading this aren't going to give a flying one about my wander through St Stephen's Green and Dublin Castle.

I might as well just cut to the chase.

Friday Afternoon: Philo. VERY NOT DIALUP FRIENDLY. MANY PICTURES )

Saturday )

The Concert )

To borrow a phrase from Bernard Cribbins: And then we went home. PS. Don't nick my photographs. I doubt any of you would want to, but a vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

(no subject)

Monday, 22 August 2005 16:45
apolla: (LZ II)

From the BBC:

Thin Lizzy's Lynott Back In Town

And I was there. I spoke to that beautiful, classy lady not so long after that picture was taken.

I was there.

Also, Dr Moog died. The 80s wouldn't have been the same without you, sir.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)

So, [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel is here. We're off to Dublin at like 5am tomorrow morning.

I shall take lots of pictures, especially of Thin Lizzy when we see them on Saturday. Will try to get pics of the new statue once it's unveiled.

Vive le Lynott, etc etc.

Off to bed, very tired.

apolla: (Live And Dangerous)

So, [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel is here. We're off to Dublin at like 5am tomorrow morning.

I shall take lots of pictures, especially of Thin Lizzy when we see them on Saturday. Will try to get pics of the new statue once it's unveiled.

Vive le Lynott, etc etc.

Off to bed, very tired.

apolla: (Lynott)

It’s taken me nearly a week to summon up the necessary to write this post. You can’t say I haven’t warned you it was coming. I imagine it will end up part DVD review and part fan ramblings. A fanview, if you will.

Thin Lizzy - Greatest Hits

was released on DVD on Monday. I forgot about it until that afternoon. My dad took me straight to the big Tesco near where I work to see about getting it. They didn’t have it and the manager man I asked didn’t seem aware of a band called Thin Lizzy at all. Fuckwit.

Anyway, my dad procured it at Luton’s branch of HMV and I was literally hopping around waiting for him to get home that night. I already knew what was going to be on it, and I knew that it would include videos for some of my favourite songs. Not just my favourite Lizzy songs, but favourite songs full stop.

It’s at this point that I’ll tell you that my love for Thin Lizzy grew like no other love before. Slowly, quietly and yet very suddenly and without warning. I can’t remember the first time I heard of the band or of their lanky black Irish singerman. I can’t remember, because it was much too long ago. Much too long ago and perhaps in a different life. I should be so lucky.

My love for Lizzy was helped along by Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which has included them as questions a couple of times. But I already knew them. I even knew of them enough to recognise the joke in ‘The Toys Are Back In Town’ tagline for Toy Story. That was 1995, when I was a shrimp of a thirteen-year-old. It may well turn out that Philip Lynott has been lurking in my life even longer than a Mr Morrison of Los Angeles, CA.

I don’t remember Philip dying. Some of you will say that this is probably because I was four years old at the time. But things I remember from 1986 are many in number. I remember being ritually humiliated at my school or being scared to go too far on the same school’s playing field. Perhaps I had different priorities then, but I knew who Elvis was, who Buddy Holly was, who the Beatles were. Maybe I just didn’t read the tabloid press in January 1986. Maybe I wouldn’t have handled my boy dying back then, just as I can barely manage it now.

I was always meant to find Philip and his beloved band, just as I was always meant to find Jim and his. I know they’ve been there, lurking in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for the moment I was able to accept them. I had to wait until I was seventeen or eighteen to really embrace my Jim, and Philip in his entirety came a little later, just at the time I was searching for my Irishness and was able to accept that sometimes my heroes really can’t stand up to the crushing weight of expectation, could not hold themselves to the same standards I hold myself to. When I was fourteen and in love with a little band from Liverpool, I believed that they must be perfect, unstoppable creatures. When I was eighteen, I knew that my boys had a dark side. When I got my Philip, I was ready to accept that those same boys couldn’t always win the fight against the dark.

But that’s not really what this is about at all. It’s about a DVD full of music videos made before the dawn of MTV.

These are not great videos. Don’t get me wrong, I love things about each and every one of them, but they’re not great. They’re primitive, cheaply-made and in some instances really badly done. Perhaps it’s best we go through them one by one.

Video By Video. Will Be Quite Lengthy )

So, what have I learned? That I’m utterly, utterly in love with Thin Lizzy? Yes. That their videos were very much a product of their time? Yes. That they’re videos only a fan could really love? Certainly all in one go. This is something to dip into. Watching them all in one go doesn’t work- many of the videos are from the same shoot or are simply too similar. Scott Gorham’s guitar-shagging act is perfectly fine for the three minutes of a video, but man does it get boring over the course of an hour and a half. The songs, which are why we’re really here, are without exception excellent, even the paint-by-numbers stuff.

And I’ve never wanted so much to go back in time and look after them. I was watching the other day and started crying, because I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to them. I couldn’t work out why they weren’t TOTALLY MASSIVE because they’re almost perfect. I mean, Philip’s the perfect rock star. Scott’s so pretty that he should’ve been a teen pin-up to rival DonnyfuckingOsmond or DavidsoddingCassidy. I was sat there, the occasional tear streaking down my face, missing the shit out of them and wondering why they weren’t the biggest band of the 70s (behind Zep, of course. Nothing compares to that phenomenon). And I realised. It’s not that the music’s bad, because it’s great. It’s not that they’re ugly or otherwise inferior, because they’re really not. They did get famous... and then they cocked it up for themselves. This band were... I think Scott himself said that they were the unluckiest band or something, but I don’t think it WAS bad luck. It was themselves. They cocked it up for themselves. How did Philip get hepatitis just before their meant-to-be-world-conquering American tour? Was it from sitting in his hotel room reading Enid Blyton books? I know I’m starting to sound harsh, but a lot of it was their own damn fault! I hate that.

You know something? I don’t know what heroin addicts ‘look like’, but surely they don’t look like Philip Lynott? According to Philomena Lynott, someone told her as Philip was dying that he’d been taking it for ten years. Does that make Philip a junkie? Because he doesn’t look like the heroin addicts you see in the media. He doesn’t look strung out. He doesn’t look like an emaciated wreck in any of these videos. He doesn’t look like he’s dying, not even in the later videos. And you know, my current wallpaper is of a picture of him in May 1985, less than a year before he died. He doesn’t look like whatever it is addicts are meant to look like. I can absolutely understand why it never occurred to Philomena that her son might be on heroin. I mean, how are you supposed to know if there are no outward signs? How are you supposed to see it? I don’t know... so how are you supposed to try and help someone if you don’t know they need help and if they don’t ask for it?

You know, I’ve probably just spent like, six pages going on about how pretty Scott Gorham was/is. He was a heroin addict too. He left the band just before the end in order to seek help. He’s nothing less than very pretty in any of this. How are you meant to tell? I guess it’s true that if someone really wants to hide their secrets, they’ll manage it. Which I guess means that even if God in his infinite wisdom and grooviness sent me back in time before the end of today, I’d still have no help of looking after my boys, or helping them or saving them. Because if they couldn’t do, how could I? Am I meant to go back and beat the shit out of them? Beat the shit out of anyone who tries to deal to them? Lock them away? Watch them every second of every day?

I really just got totally off the point (which was Thin Lizzy ROCK!) didn’t I? I think this DVD just helped break my heart a little bit more. That boy died and there’s absolutely fuck all I can do about it. Might be nice to go back in time and try, anyway.

So yes, to conclude and try not to be some insane fangirl, I’d recommend this DVD to any friend. It’s something a casual fan might enjoy dipping into occasionally and is, I will admit, an excellent account of their career. I mean, I’d recommend the Greatest Hits CD that came out a year ago (this accompanies it) first, but the videos all have a lot of charm. And you know, I’m not sure a single member of the band took any of it seriously at all. Cool.

apolla: (Lynott)

It’s taken me nearly a week to summon up the necessary to write this post. You can’t say I haven’t warned you it was coming. I imagine it will end up part DVD review and part fan ramblings. A fanview, if you will.

Thin Lizzy - Greatest Hits

was released on DVD on Monday. I forgot about it until that afternoon. My dad took me straight to the big Tesco near where I work to see about getting it. They didn’t have it and the manager man I asked didn’t seem aware of a band called Thin Lizzy at all. Fuckwit.

Anyway, my dad procured it at Luton’s branch of HMV and I was literally hopping around waiting for him to get home that night. I already knew what was going to be on it, and I knew that it would include videos for some of my favourite songs. Not just my favourite Lizzy songs, but favourite songs full stop.

It’s at this point that I’ll tell you that my love for Thin Lizzy grew like no other love before. Slowly, quietly and yet very suddenly and without warning. I can’t remember the first time I heard of the band or of their lanky black Irish singerman. I can’t remember, because it was much too long ago. Much too long ago and perhaps in a different life. I should be so lucky.

My love for Lizzy was helped along by Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which has included them as questions a couple of times. But I already knew them. I even knew of them enough to recognise the joke in ‘The Toys Are Back In Town’ tagline for Toy Story. That was 1995, when I was a shrimp of a thirteen-year-old. It may well turn out that Philip Lynott has been lurking in my life even longer than a Mr Morrison of Los Angeles, CA.

I don’t remember Philip dying. Some of you will say that this is probably because I was four years old at the time. But things I remember from 1986 are many in number. I remember being ritually humiliated at my school or being scared to go too far on the same school’s playing field. Perhaps I had different priorities then, but I knew who Elvis was, who Buddy Holly was, who the Beatles were. Maybe I just didn’t read the tabloid press in January 1986. Maybe I wouldn’t have handled my boy dying back then, just as I can barely manage it now.

I was always meant to find Philip and his beloved band, just as I was always meant to find Jim and his. I know they’ve been there, lurking in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for the moment I was able to accept them. I had to wait until I was seventeen or eighteen to really embrace my Jim, and Philip in his entirety came a little later, just at the time I was searching for my Irishness and was able to accept that sometimes my heroes really can’t stand up to the crushing weight of expectation, could not hold themselves to the same standards I hold myself to. When I was fourteen and in love with a little band from Liverpool, I believed that they must be perfect, unstoppable creatures. When I was eighteen, I knew that my boys had a dark side. When I got my Philip, I was ready to accept that those same boys couldn’t always win the fight against the dark.

But that’s not really what this is about at all. It’s about a DVD full of music videos made before the dawn of MTV.

These are not great videos. Don’t get me wrong, I love things about each and every one of them, but they’re not great. They’re primitive, cheaply-made and in some instances really badly done. Perhaps it’s best we go through them one by one.

Video By Video. Will Be Quite Lengthy )

So, what have I learned? That I’m utterly, utterly in love with Thin Lizzy? Yes. That their videos were very much a product of their time? Yes. That they’re videos only a fan could really love? Certainly all in one go. This is something to dip into. Watching them all in one go doesn’t work- many of the videos are from the same shoot or are simply too similar. Scott Gorham’s guitar-shagging act is perfectly fine for the three minutes of a video, but man does it get boring over the course of an hour and a half. The songs, which are why we’re really here, are without exception excellent, even the paint-by-numbers stuff.

And I’ve never wanted so much to go back in time and look after them. I was watching the other day and started crying, because I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to them. I couldn’t work out why they weren’t TOTALLY MASSIVE because they’re almost perfect. I mean, Philip’s the perfect rock star. Scott’s so pretty that he should’ve been a teen pin-up to rival DonnyfuckingOsmond or DavidsoddingCassidy. I was sat there, the occasional tear streaking down my face, missing the shit out of them and wondering why they weren’t the biggest band of the 70s (behind Zep, of course. Nothing compares to that phenomenon). And I realised. It’s not that the music’s bad, because it’s great. It’s not that they’re ugly or otherwise inferior, because they’re really not. They did get famous... and then they cocked it up for themselves. This band were... I think Scott himself said that they were the unluckiest band or something, but I don’t think it WAS bad luck. It was themselves. They cocked it up for themselves. How did Philip get hepatitis just before their meant-to-be-world-conquering American tour? Was it from sitting in his hotel room reading Enid Blyton books? I know I’m starting to sound harsh, but a lot of it was their own damn fault! I hate that.

You know something? I don’t know what heroin addicts ‘look like’, but surely they don’t look like Philip Lynott? According to Philomena Lynott, someone told her as Philip was dying that he’d been taking it for ten years. Does that make Philip a junkie? Because he doesn’t look like the heroin addicts you see in the media. He doesn’t look strung out. He doesn’t look like an emaciated wreck in any of these videos. He doesn’t look like he’s dying, not even in the later videos. And you know, my current wallpaper is of a picture of him in May 1985, less than a year before he died. He doesn’t look like whatever it is addicts are meant to look like. I can absolutely understand why it never occurred to Philomena that her son might be on heroin. I mean, how are you supposed to know if there are no outward signs? How are you supposed to see it? I don’t know... so how are you supposed to try and help someone if you don’t know they need help and if they don’t ask for it?

You know, I’ve probably just spent like, six pages going on about how pretty Scott Gorham was/is. He was a heroin addict too. He left the band just before the end in order to seek help. He’s nothing less than very pretty in any of this. How are you meant to tell? I guess it’s true that if someone really wants to hide their secrets, they’ll manage it. Which I guess means that even if God in his infinite wisdom and grooviness sent me back in time before the end of today, I’d still have no help of looking after my boys, or helping them or saving them. Because if they couldn’t do, how could I? Am I meant to go back and beat the shit out of them? Beat the shit out of anyone who tries to deal to them? Lock them away? Watch them every second of every day?

I really just got totally off the point (which was Thin Lizzy ROCK!) didn’t I? I think this DVD just helped break my heart a little bit more. That boy died and there’s absolutely fuck all I can do about it. Might be nice to go back in time and try, anyway.

So yes, to conclude and try not to be some insane fangirl, I’d recommend this DVD to any friend. It’s something a casual fan might enjoy dipping into occasionally and is, I will admit, an excellent account of their career. I mean, I’d recommend the Greatest Hits CD that came out a year ago (this accompanies it) first, but the videos all have a lot of charm. And you know, I’m not sure a single member of the band took any of it seriously at all. Cool.

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