apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
I have a really bad habit. Every single weekday lunchtime, with very few exceptions, I head to Starbucks. One particular Starbucks very near where I work. It costs me £2.45 every single day to have a Frappucino (Tall, Coffee, Light) and I settle down at one of the tables and scribble away at what I (ludicrously) call 'my writings'.

Very, very occasionally, a friend might accompany me. When my friend Hazel and I were in there once last year, the actor Toby Stephens came in. That was pretty cool. Another time I saw Brendan Gleeson in the newsagents next door when I was still drinking Coke and going in there every day too.

Then on Thursday just gone (February 26th 2009), the 15th anniversary of Bill Hicks' death, I was sat in there, not at my normal table, with my back to pretty much everything. I had my iPod on shuffle to try and stop listening to Rory Gallagher constantly. I was meant to be writing but couldn't put down Che Guevara's Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War. I tried and managed to write two paragraphs of a story I haven't touched in years (Traveling Riverside Blues, which has appeared in this LJ). Then I leaned back and heard a voice.

It was a calm, laidback and slow sort of voice which had a Californian thing going on. I realised in a flash that it could only be one person. One person. I turned my head very slowly, trying to be subtle, and saw that, a foot and a half away, SCOTT GORHAM was sat talking to two young ladies. I turned back to Che and tried to read a bit more. I failed. It was nearly time to go back to work so I resolved to see how busy he was and if it would be appropriate to interrupt.

At this point I should explain: There are maybe three people in the world besides Scott Gorham who I would be that excited to meet. Most of you have been reading this journal long enough to see the Scott icon that Cadey made me and to read my tales of Thin Lizzy concerts and one notable trip to Dublin just for a statue.

Anyway, I refused to actually eavesdrop so I don't know who the ladies were although I think it might've been an informal interview type thing - who the hell knows? So as I'm getting up one of them goes back to the counter or whatever and there's a lull in the conversation.

"Excuse me, I'm terribly sorry to interrupt," says I. "But I just wanted to tell you that you're one of my favourite musicians."

Scott smiles, gets up, kisses me on both cheeks and I proceed to tell him the (un)interesting story that I'd sworn to return to my abandoned friend at a Lizzy concert back in 2007 if only I got a plectrum off him, but that when the time came, a taller bloke grabbed it away. Before I could tell him the happy ending - that he appeared to go out of his way to give another to me at the very end of the show - Scott reached into his jeans and pulled out another plectrum.

"I wasn't actually shilling for that, but thank you very much," I say. Please note that I can't really remember exactly what he said because I was concentrating so fucking hard on controlling what I was saying. A few more moments of inane crap from me and I excuse myself with a 'thank you, have a nice day and I'm sorry to disturb you.'

Then, I run away back to work where I have the meltdown I forced myself not to have in front of him. Most people I tell the story to have no idea who he is, but my friend Phil knows not only who he is but why I care (this Phil actually met Philip Lynott at a couple of music parties in the 70s), and one of the house band guys gets actually more excited than me.

It had been a pretty shit day/few days before that, and then that afternoon, everything went right: things arrived that I needed for work, etc etc.

As I walked home that evening I started second-guessing myself: I shoulda said this, I shoulda said that, I should've, I could've, etc....

But no, I think I said exactly what I needed to. I didn't want to bring up the sainted Mr Lynott because I actually respect the fuck out of SG independently of Philo, and I didn't want to reduce him to just his hair or whatever. There are so many things I'd like to have said, like to have asked, but it would've become a twelve hour conversation.

I never get the 'fans' of people who make a nuisance of themselves, who ask for things they shouldn't, interrupt when they shouldn't (celebs being asked for autographs when they're in toilet cubicles, etc). If you're a fan, shouldn't the thing you want most from them be respect? I have no idea what Scott thinks of me, but I did my best to make sure he doesn't think I'm a rude little twunt. I didn't ask for an autograph or a photo. I hope I didn't outstay my welcome in the conversation. I really hope that it made his day a little better - I guess I don't look like most Thin Lizzy fans - and that he took the whole thing as it was meant: the biggest compliment.

I might be working at a festival later in the year where they're playing, and if so I hope I get to see him and John Sykes again. If he doesn't recognise me that's cool. I have no expectations of him or John beyond their set rocking my socks off. That is the only thing I have a right to expect from them.

Being a fan, I realise, is an incredibly selfish thing. It's entirely about 'me' and 'I' and 'what I did and saw' or whatever. I'm sure that those few minutes in my Starbucks (which is one of the reasons it means so much to me!) will stay with me forever but he may have already forgotten. That's OK. For a few moments, I was in the knowing presence of someone I have so much respect, admiration and affection for simply because of how he played guitar and I think I acquitted myself as well as I could.

If there's a God, I thank him. If not... well seriously, what exactly are the fucking chances of one of my greatest heroes actually coming into my Starbucks during my lunchtime and sitting down close enough for me to hear him? It was his voice I noticed, not his face, because I wasn't at my usual table and couldn't see people as they came in.

Seriously, I don't do starstruck, because most people I'd care to meet are pretty well... dead. I've met plenty of musicians and celebs in my time working festivals etc. It was so cool to meet Brendan Gleeson that time because he's such a great actor, but that's about it. There really are only about three people who I'd care to meet as much as Scott Gorham: Dylan, Plant. PETER O'TOOLE. Ronnie Drew used to be high on that list but he died last year. Who else that's alive, really? Maybe Olivia de Havilland, but that would be more about her old co-star...

Incidentally, never has this mood icon, also by Cadey, been more appropriate.

apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
I have a really bad habit. Every single weekday lunchtime, with very few exceptions, I head to Starbucks. One particular Starbucks very near where I work. It costs me £2.45 every single day to have a Frappucino (Tall, Coffee, Light) and I settle down at one of the tables and scribble away at what I (ludicrously) call 'my writings'.

Very, very occasionally, a friend might accompany me. When my friend Hazel and I were in there once last year, the actor Toby Stephens came in. That was pretty cool. Another time I saw Brendan Gleeson in the newsagents next door when I was still drinking Coke and going in there every day too.

Then on Thursday just gone (February 26th 2009), the 15th anniversary of Bill Hicks' death, I was sat in there, not at my normal table, with my back to pretty much everything. I had my iPod on shuffle to try and stop listening to Rory Gallagher constantly. I was meant to be writing but couldn't put down Che Guevara's Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War. I tried and managed to write two paragraphs of a story I haven't touched in years (Traveling Riverside Blues, which has appeared in this LJ). Then I leaned back and heard a voice.

It was a calm, laidback and slow sort of voice which had a Californian thing going on. I realised in a flash that it could only be one person. One person. I turned my head very slowly, trying to be subtle, and saw that, a foot and a half away, SCOTT GORHAM was sat talking to two young ladies. I turned back to Che and tried to read a bit more. I failed. It was nearly time to go back to work so I resolved to see how busy he was and if it would be appropriate to interrupt.

At this point I should explain: There are maybe three people in the world besides Scott Gorham who I would be that excited to meet. Most of you have been reading this journal long enough to see the Scott icon that Cadey made me and to read my tales of Thin Lizzy concerts and one notable trip to Dublin just for a statue.

Anyway, I refused to actually eavesdrop so I don't know who the ladies were although I think it might've been an informal interview type thing - who the hell knows? So as I'm getting up one of them goes back to the counter or whatever and there's a lull in the conversation.

"Excuse me, I'm terribly sorry to interrupt," says I. "But I just wanted to tell you that you're one of my favourite musicians."

Scott smiles, gets up, kisses me on both cheeks and I proceed to tell him the (un)interesting story that I'd sworn to return to my abandoned friend at a Lizzy concert back in 2007 if only I got a plectrum off him, but that when the time came, a taller bloke grabbed it away. Before I could tell him the happy ending - that he appeared to go out of his way to give another to me at the very end of the show - Scott reached into his jeans and pulled out another plectrum.

"I wasn't actually shilling for that, but thank you very much," I say. Please note that I can't really remember exactly what he said because I was concentrating so fucking hard on controlling what I was saying. A few more moments of inane crap from me and I excuse myself with a 'thank you, have a nice day and I'm sorry to disturb you.'

Then, I run away back to work where I have the meltdown I forced myself not to have in front of him. Most people I tell the story to have no idea who he is, but my friend Phil knows not only who he is but why I care (this Phil actually met Philip Lynott at a couple of music parties in the 70s), and one of the house band guys gets actually more excited than me.

It had been a pretty shit day/few days before that, and then that afternoon, everything went right: things arrived that I needed for work, etc etc.

As I walked home that evening I started second-guessing myself: I shoulda said this, I shoulda said that, I should've, I could've, etc....

But no, I think I said exactly what I needed to. I didn't want to bring up the sainted Mr Lynott because I actually respect the fuck out of SG independently of Philo, and I didn't want to reduce him to just his hair or whatever. There are so many things I'd like to have said, like to have asked, but it would've become a twelve hour conversation.

I never get the 'fans' of people who make a nuisance of themselves, who ask for things they shouldn't, interrupt when they shouldn't (celebs being asked for autographs when they're in toilet cubicles, etc). If you're a fan, shouldn't the thing you want most from them be respect? I have no idea what Scott thinks of me, but I did my best to make sure he doesn't think I'm a rude little twunt. I didn't ask for an autograph or a photo. I hope I didn't outstay my welcome in the conversation. I really hope that it made his day a little better - I guess I don't look like most Thin Lizzy fans - and that he took the whole thing as it was meant: the biggest compliment.

I might be working at a festival later in the year where they're playing, and if so I hope I get to see him and John Sykes again. If he doesn't recognise me that's cool. I have no expectations of him or John beyond their set rocking my socks off. That is the only thing I have a right to expect from them.

Being a fan, I realise, is an incredibly selfish thing. It's entirely about 'me' and 'I' and 'what I did and saw' or whatever. I'm sure that those few minutes in my Starbucks (which is one of the reasons it means so much to me!) will stay with me forever but he may have already forgotten. That's OK. For a few moments, I was in the knowing presence of someone I have so much respect, admiration and affection for simply because of how he played guitar and I think I acquitted myself as well as I could.

If there's a God, I thank him. If not... well seriously, what exactly are the fucking chances of one of my greatest heroes actually coming into my Starbucks during my lunchtime and sitting down close enough for me to hear him? It was his voice I noticed, not his face, because I wasn't at my usual table and couldn't see people as they came in.

Seriously, I don't do starstruck, because most people I'd care to meet are pretty well... dead. I've met plenty of musicians and celebs in my time working festivals etc. It was so cool to meet Brendan Gleeson that time because he's such a great actor, but that's about it. There really are only about three people who I'd care to meet as much as Scott Gorham: Dylan, Plant. PETER O'TOOLE. Ronnie Drew used to be high on that list but he died last year. Who else that's alive, really? Maybe Olivia de Havilland, but that would be more about her old co-star...

Incidentally, never has this mood icon, also by Cadey, been more appropriate.

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: (Night Life)
So, you might know that I met a guy called Scott Gorham the other day. I am not here to brag a bit more, in fact, I am here to talk about something more serious.

It was, when I actually think about it, a very odd experience. Brilliant because I got his autograph and exchanged a question with him. Sad because he chose to stop posing for pictures just as I was about to step up. Elating because this is a real rock hero and deflating because it was only an autograph and a moment.

Because like every other fan, I have this feeling that I am different to all the others. More important. Special. Something that separates me from the yelling morons with their faded Bad Reputation t-shirts. Something that makes me a bigger, better fan than anyone else. This isn't something limited to Thin Lizzy or even music. It's the same with everything that has fans. The football fans who claim to have been to thousands of games or the baseball fans in possession of certain baseballs. The fans of Certain Sci-Fi Films That Shall Remain Nameless who queued for tickets earlier than anyone else and saw it more times than anyone else. The Elvis fans who claim to have bought more over-priced tat than the others, the Marilyn Monroe fans who dress up. The Jim Morrison fans who make pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise. The caravanners who have the biggest caravans or who've visited more sites. The hikers who walk further. The monarchists who own more tea towels or who have been in the hallowed presence of the most royals. The Buffy fans who can remember the most trivia. The Harry Potter fans who bitch loudest/know exactly what an Irish Phoenix is/wrote the OMGmostpopularficevar/I'll stop here cos of who I'm writing to right now.

You get the idea. Part of being a fan isn't just loving something/someone, it's about being seen to do so and being seen to do so more than anyone else. Rock fans are infamous for it. Remember Barry in High Fidelity? The guy who despises you for not knowing as much as him about music and tears you down for knowing as much/more. Fans are funny, funny people.

Part of this came to me while watching The Perfect Catch earlier, but most of this ran through my head on Friday, the Day After Meeting Scott Gorham. Now, I've met Philomena Lynott, Philip's mother. I've met Brian Robertson and I've met Eric Bell, two of the other guitarists. All in the space of one heady afternoon in which I realised a few things:

-There are many, many more Thin Lizzy fans than I ever really believed still existed.
-A lot of them are, outwardly at least, 'bigger' fans than I am. The woman with the tattoo of Philip's face on her arm. The guys who took their collections of Lizzy records to be signed. I realised there's actually a real community going on there.
-I am not even close to being as obsessed as a lot of other people, and I am of the opinion that love and obsession are not quite the same things.
-I also realised that I did not want to meet these people as a fan, I wanted much more to meet them on a more equal footing, as a fellow musician if possible. That I didn't want to just be a fan, grinning ridiculously into the camera as they stand beside me with a sort of strained grin on their face. I wanted to be able to converse with them on important subjects (music, obviously) and for them to be interested in what I had to say because they had some sort of respect for me in turn.

On Thursday, I met Scott Gorham. While fans of things may claim to never choose favourites, they always do. In Lizzy terms, the Prettiest Guitarist That Ever Was ranks below only Philip Lynott as far as I'm concerned. Not for being pretty, but for being consistently cool and decent in the face of overwhelming odds, for being willing to be 'the guy on the left' when the guy on the right was showboating his arse off. So it stands to reason that I should've been over the fucking moon to see him grasping my shiny purple notebook and asking how I spelled my name.

Sure, it was cool, but at the same time I was very 'blah'. Now as you know, I'm very blah about most things in the universe. Birth, life, death all flash past me with barely a quirk of an eyebrow. And although I rushed around a little trying to find a pen (he had his own) and trying to sort out my camera (fallen to the bottom of my bag)... I was remarkably cool in the face of Gorham. Then, as I stepped up to have my picture taken with him and he moved away...

And I didn't really mind. I mean sure, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't have that small proof of the moment, but I didn't really mind. Honestly, I'd just spent a couple of hours of my life squashed against an amp on the stage (still got a bit of ringing in my ears) staring up at him and John Sykes, ripping my throat out trying to hear myself screeching the lyrics along with them over the sound of said amp. He'd acknowledged me when he was on stage, smiled at me a couple of times. More than that, he'd played a great gig. Why the hell shouldn't he piss off? He had the decency to come over and talk to us despite the cold and slight rain. Some of the fans had been yelling at him to come over even after he'd waved that he going to come over. Smoe of them, from hearing them talk, had been at the show the nights before and had hung around outside then. Why should he waste his night talking to people he talked to the night before and the night before? Perhaps I'm still sane enough to have an inkling as to what it's like for him. John Sykes didn't bother doing anything but get into the car and get chauffeured away... and even that's not entirely unreasonable. They're human beings who get tired and pissed off and hungry and whatever it is you humans do. 

More than that, I didn't like very much the feeling of hanging around outside the stage door. Mostly because I feel like I should be the one coming out of the stage door, but that's a different drama for another day. I felt alternately like a groupie (must've been the fact I was wearing a dress for once) or like an insane fan. I know it seems like it, but my entire life is not Thin Lizzy. My entire life may be rock and roll, but not just my boys. I would never buy a guitar just so it could get signed by Scott Gorham, even if it was a cheap Les Paul copy. The whole thing seemed wrong, somehow, somehow predatory. Perhaps it never used to be like this in the old days, but if anyone knows the old days are gone, it's me. 

Do I yet make sense? While I can laugh and joke about having Scott Gorham's autograph, while I can feel glad that I've at least exchanged words with him, it's not really the point. Because I am different to all the other fans. I am special. I am not like all the other fans. I'm not saying that they should see it that way, but I don't want to be just another fan with a trophy autograph. I want to be a musician and have great conversations with my heroes. I want to see that my heroes are the same as me and yet also great. I was not disappointed by my hero, which is more than many heartbroken fans can say. He wasn't a bad guy. He was thoroughly cool to the gaggle of people there. He answered my question with the same evasive non-answer he always gives, and the same for everyone else. Can you blame him? He's been doing this since 1974 for Lizzy. He's been answering the same questions about Philip since 1986. 

It must be the most infuriating thing to be a hero, or a legend, or a basic celebrity in many ways. In ways that riches do not make up for. We treat them like public property or like old friends, when they are neither. We know something of their lives, so we think we know them, when we do not. Knowing what a person eats for breakfast, having seen them come out of Starbucks or filling a car with petrol, or hearing them speak about their addiction/adultery/new movie does not give us any insight into their real selves. It just feels like it does. I don't know Scott Gorham any better than you know Jake/Tom/Heath/Whoever. Or in fact, any better than I know Jim Morrison or Errol Flynn or Philip Lynott or John Lennon. I have always known that the more I learn about these guys, the less I truly know them. I know enough to know that I don't know them at all. We are given fragments of their lives. Fragments that they let us see and which even when added all together do not create a true or full picture of a person.

This is something I know. I also know this: it is still possible to love them. Even when you're in possession of some of the bad fragments too. They are always distant and sometimes it's not a bad thing if we can accept it as the way it is.

It was cool to meet Scott Gorham, to share a few words with him. Should we meet again, it'll be cool. If he should recall "C L A R E, like the county" then I should likely be pleased as the proverbial Punch. But meeting Scott Gorham did not change my life. It did not bring stars falling from the sky, fairies were not resurrected, my heart did not stop. It was cool, but if you think it even compares to the way the music makes me feel... you have no concept of what it truly means to be a fan. Real fans? Proper ones? They know that it's the music that really counts. That while the people who made it are important, they still don't compare to the music.

So funnily enough, the concert itself was more elating than the moment Scott Gorham asked how I spell my name. God love you Scott, and your hair and the California drawl, but it was always the guitar I cared about.
apolla: (Night Life)
So, you might know that I met a guy called Scott Gorham the other day. I am not here to brag a bit more, in fact, I am here to talk about something more serious.

It was, when I actually think about it, a very odd experience. Brilliant because I got his autograph and exchanged a question with him. Sad because he chose to stop posing for pictures just as I was about to step up. Elating because this is a real rock hero and deflating because it was only an autograph and a moment.

Because like every other fan, I have this feeling that I am different to all the others. More important. Special. Something that separates me from the yelling morons with their faded Bad Reputation t-shirts. Something that makes me a bigger, better fan than anyone else. This isn't something limited to Thin Lizzy or even music. It's the same with everything that has fans. The football fans who claim to have been to thousands of games or the baseball fans in possession of certain baseballs. The fans of Certain Sci-Fi Films That Shall Remain Nameless who queued for tickets earlier than anyone else and saw it more times than anyone else. The Elvis fans who claim to have bought more over-priced tat than the others, the Marilyn Monroe fans who dress up. The Jim Morrison fans who make pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise. The caravanners who have the biggest caravans or who've visited more sites. The hikers who walk further. The monarchists who own more tea towels or who have been in the hallowed presence of the most royals. The Buffy fans who can remember the most trivia. The Harry Potter fans who bitch loudest/know exactly what an Irish Phoenix is/wrote the OMGmostpopularficevar/I'll stop here cos of who I'm writing to right now.

You get the idea. Part of being a fan isn't just loving something/someone, it's about being seen to do so and being seen to do so more than anyone else. Rock fans are infamous for it. Remember Barry in High Fidelity? The guy who despises you for not knowing as much as him about music and tears you down for knowing as much/more. Fans are funny, funny people.

Part of this came to me while watching The Perfect Catch earlier, but most of this ran through my head on Friday, the Day After Meeting Scott Gorham. Now, I've met Philomena Lynott, Philip's mother. I've met Brian Robertson and I've met Eric Bell, two of the other guitarists. All in the space of one heady afternoon in which I realised a few things:

-There are many, many more Thin Lizzy fans than I ever really believed still existed.
-A lot of them are, outwardly at least, 'bigger' fans than I am. The woman with the tattoo of Philip's face on her arm. The guys who took their collections of Lizzy records to be signed. I realised there's actually a real community going on there.
-I am not even close to being as obsessed as a lot of other people, and I am of the opinion that love and obsession are not quite the same things.
-I also realised that I did not want to meet these people as a fan, I wanted much more to meet them on a more equal footing, as a fellow musician if possible. That I didn't want to just be a fan, grinning ridiculously into the camera as they stand beside me with a sort of strained grin on their face. I wanted to be able to converse with them on important subjects (music, obviously) and for them to be interested in what I had to say because they had some sort of respect for me in turn.

On Thursday, I met Scott Gorham. While fans of things may claim to never choose favourites, they always do. In Lizzy terms, the Prettiest Guitarist That Ever Was ranks below only Philip Lynott as far as I'm concerned. Not for being pretty, but for being consistently cool and decent in the face of overwhelming odds, for being willing to be 'the guy on the left' when the guy on the right was showboating his arse off. So it stands to reason that I should've been over the fucking moon to see him grasping my shiny purple notebook and asking how I spelled my name.

Sure, it was cool, but at the same time I was very 'blah'. Now as you know, I'm very blah about most things in the universe. Birth, life, death all flash past me with barely a quirk of an eyebrow. And although I rushed around a little trying to find a pen (he had his own) and trying to sort out my camera (fallen to the bottom of my bag)... I was remarkably cool in the face of Gorham. Then, as I stepped up to have my picture taken with him and he moved away...

And I didn't really mind. I mean sure, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't have that small proof of the moment, but I didn't really mind. Honestly, I'd just spent a couple of hours of my life squashed against an amp on the stage (still got a bit of ringing in my ears) staring up at him and John Sykes, ripping my throat out trying to hear myself screeching the lyrics along with them over the sound of said amp. He'd acknowledged me when he was on stage, smiled at me a couple of times. More than that, he'd played a great gig. Why the hell shouldn't he piss off? He had the decency to come over and talk to us despite the cold and slight rain. Some of the fans had been yelling at him to come over even after he'd waved that he going to come over. Smoe of them, from hearing them talk, had been at the show the nights before and had hung around outside then. Why should he waste his night talking to people he talked to the night before and the night before? Perhaps I'm still sane enough to have an inkling as to what it's like for him. John Sykes didn't bother doing anything but get into the car and get chauffeured away... and even that's not entirely unreasonable. They're human beings who get tired and pissed off and hungry and whatever it is you humans do. 

More than that, I didn't like very much the feeling of hanging around outside the stage door. Mostly because I feel like I should be the one coming out of the stage door, but that's a different drama for another day. I felt alternately like a groupie (must've been the fact I was wearing a dress for once) or like an insane fan. I know it seems like it, but my entire life is not Thin Lizzy. My entire life may be rock and roll, but not just my boys. I would never buy a guitar just so it could get signed by Scott Gorham, even if it was a cheap Les Paul copy. The whole thing seemed wrong, somehow, somehow predatory. Perhaps it never used to be like this in the old days, but if anyone knows the old days are gone, it's me. 

Do I yet make sense? While I can laugh and joke about having Scott Gorham's autograph, while I can feel glad that I've at least exchanged words with him, it's not really the point. Because I am different to all the other fans. I am special. I am not like all the other fans. I'm not saying that they should see it that way, but I don't want to be just another fan with a trophy autograph. I want to be a musician and have great conversations with my heroes. I want to see that my heroes are the same as me and yet also great. I was not disappointed by my hero, which is more than many heartbroken fans can say. He wasn't a bad guy. He was thoroughly cool to the gaggle of people there. He answered my question with the same evasive non-answer he always gives, and the same for everyone else. Can you blame him? He's been doing this since 1974 for Lizzy. He's been answering the same questions about Philip since 1986. 

It must be the most infuriating thing to be a hero, or a legend, or a basic celebrity in many ways. In ways that riches do not make up for. We treat them like public property or like old friends, when they are neither. We know something of their lives, so we think we know them, when we do not. Knowing what a person eats for breakfast, having seen them come out of Starbucks or filling a car with petrol, or hearing them speak about their addiction/adultery/new movie does not give us any insight into their real selves. It just feels like it does. I don't know Scott Gorham any better than you know Jake/Tom/Heath/Whoever. Or in fact, any better than I know Jim Morrison or Errol Flynn or Philip Lynott or John Lennon. I have always known that the more I learn about these guys, the less I truly know them. I know enough to know that I don't know them at all. We are given fragments of their lives. Fragments that they let us see and which even when added all together do not create a true or full picture of a person.

This is something I know. I also know this: it is still possible to love them. Even when you're in possession of some of the bad fragments too. They are always distant and sometimes it's not a bad thing if we can accept it as the way it is.

It was cool to meet Scott Gorham, to share a few words with him. Should we meet again, it'll be cool. If he should recall "C L A R E, like the county" then I should likely be pleased as the proverbial Punch. But meeting Scott Gorham did not change my life. It did not bring stars falling from the sky, fairies were not resurrected, my heart did not stop. It was cool, but if you think it even compares to the way the music makes me feel... you have no concept of what it truly means to be a fan. Real fans? Proper ones? They know that it's the music that really counts. That while the people who made it are important, they still don't compare to the music.

So funnily enough, the concert itself was more elating than the moment Scott Gorham asked how I spell my name. God love you Scott, and your hair and the California drawl, but it was always the guitar I cared about.

Good evening.

Friday, 31 March 2006 01:24
apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
Question: Guess who just met Scott Gorham and got his autograph, complete with own name spelled correctly by aforementioned guitar hero but did not get photograph because he appeared to get bored just before it was said person's turn?*

Answer: If you can't guess, what the scuff are you doing on my journal?

*skips triumphantly away*

*Said person also got grinned at, winked at by aforementioned guitar hero while on stage (him not me) and also grinned at and stared at by Other Lizzy Guitar Hero, John Sykes.

I rock the world. So ner.

Good evening.

Friday, 31 March 2006 01:24
apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
Question: Guess who just met Scott Gorham and got his autograph, complete with own name spelled correctly by aforementioned guitar hero but did not get photograph because he appeared to get bored just before it was said person's turn?*

Answer: If you can't guess, what the scuff are you doing on my journal?

*skips triumphantly away*

*Said person also got grinned at, winked at by aforementioned guitar hero while on stage (him not me) and also grinned at and stared at by Other Lizzy Guitar Hero, John Sykes.

I rock the world. So ner.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)

I should not only stay away from eBay, but actively avoid buying things just because I find them hilariously funny. I feel this is a slippery slope. I bought the Thin Lizzy single 'Wild One' the other day (we're talking vinyl, kiddies, the stuff music once came on), which was OK - it's kinda rare and a song I love dearly. I also bought a copy of Kerrang! magazine that is actually an entire month older than me and probably in better condition.

But I just bought another vinyl single for the song Sarah. This was written for Sarah Lynott by her father, who loved her dearly. It's not a bad song, but it's like most songs by rock stars for their children - a little too sappy and specific for the rest of us to truly adore, at least from my perspective. It only cost £2.20 when I included the packaging (one pound, which better afford me some decent packaging- vinyl's fucking delicate stuff)... but I only really bought it because the picture sleeve made me guffaw out loud like a moron.

It is not usually a good policy to buy something because it makes you laugh. Unless you're buying DVDs of comedy programmes, obviously.

The cause of my merriment? Click under the cut, man!

Clickety Click )

apolla: (Queen Maeve)

I should not only stay away from eBay, but actively avoid buying things just because I find them hilariously funny. I feel this is a slippery slope. I bought the Thin Lizzy single 'Wild One' the other day (we're talking vinyl, kiddies, the stuff music once came on), which was OK - it's kinda rare and a song I love dearly. I also bought a copy of Kerrang! magazine that is actually an entire month older than me and probably in better condition.

But I just bought another vinyl single for the song Sarah. This was written for Sarah Lynott by her father, who loved her dearly. It's not a bad song, but it's like most songs by rock stars for their children - a little too sappy and specific for the rest of us to truly adore, at least from my perspective. It only cost £2.20 when I included the packaging (one pound, which better afford me some decent packaging- vinyl's fucking delicate stuff)... but I only really bought it because the picture sleeve made me guffaw out loud like a moron.

It is not usually a good policy to buy something because it makes you laugh. Unless you're buying DVDs of comedy programmes, obviously.

The cause of my merriment? Click under the cut, man!

Clickety Click )

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.

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.

(no subject)

Monday, 8 August 2005 23:10
apolla: (George)

I just wrote a relatively insignificant post. Insignificant in that it was a glorified GIP. The span tags or something were bollocksed up, so let's try this again:

I love Cadey, and this is why:

 

and I did the one on the post, but as it was a matter of crop and upload, I don't really take credit for George's photogenicness.

(no subject)

Monday, 8 August 2005 23:10
apolla: (George)

I just wrote a relatively insignificant post. Insignificant in that it was a glorified GIP. The span tags or something were bollocksed up, so let's try this again:

I love Cadey, and this is why:

 

and I did the one on the post, but as it was a matter of crop and upload, I don't really take credit for George's photogenicness.

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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