apolla: (Philip)
I have a new (to me) computer for which I bought some speakers which came with a subwoofer. I did the obvious: hopped over to YouTube for some funk music to appreciate said subwoofer. It's not big but it does what I want it to.

I've always been fond of a stonking bassline. I love how they can move me from stillness in a way that few other things can. A nifty drumline might get my fingers or feet tapping, great guitar riffs stick in mysoul forever, but fab basslines move my entire being like nothing else.

So I suppose it's not much surprise that one of my favourite bands was led by the bass guitarist.

Yes, it's Thin Lizzy time again! I wasn't going to post them for awhile, but they've been in the news again.

Bad News: Mitt Romney thought it was acceptable for him to appropriate "The Boys Are Back In Town" during the US Presidential campaign.
Good News: Philomena Lynott is still a fierce old thing who won't take that lying down from gobshites like him. And so has Philo's widow, who actually has the copyright.

Weird News: "Thin Lizzy" are recording again.
Bad News: Philo is still dead.

The Guardian also republished an old interview with Your Man which brought a little sunshine into a stressful day, which featured the song "The Boys Are Back In Town" heavily.

I forget, being a devoted fan, that most people only know Thin Lizzy for that song. I forget because to be honest it's not my favourite. I love and adore it, but it's not my favourite. It's not even my favourite song on Jailbreak because I'm the kind of mad fool who loves strange album cuts like "Angel from the Coast".

Of course, "The Boys Are Back In Town" was my introduction to the group. I couldn't tell you exactly when I first heard it. It was probably some unimportant, unimpressive day during an unimportant, routine journey in the car. My mum would've been driving, I woudl've been in the seat behind her and my brother would've been in the seat behind the passenger. Maybe my dad was there too. The radio was almost always tuned to Capital Gold when I was young, because that's the music my dad loved and my mum disliked least.

Car journeys always seemed to take such a long bloody time back then. I would read, but that made me feel sick. I have so many memories of staring out of the window, as I'm sure many of us do, as unknown and often very dull landscapes would pass by. Memories of journeys in the dark with the orange glow of a town's street lights in the distance or below as our car climbed up a road. The endless line of lights on a motorway, or the eerie blackness of unlit country roads.

There's one time we went on holiday somewhere without my dad but with my granny. We must've got lost or something because it just seemed to take even more than forever and it was so dark and ugh..... all that to end up in a caravan for a few days in a place so unimpressive I don't remember anything but that long journey.

All that kept me going on journeys like those was the music on the radio. It's a double-edged sword: a holiday during the summer of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was ruined by its constant presence on the radio - we were out of Capital Gold range - and same with the summer of 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" by Bryan Adams. Our holiday in Florida was defined by "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow which I swear was playing every single time we got in the damn car and was always followed by "Oh What A Night!"

It's in that realm I would've heard "The Boys Are Back In Town." Probably it was one I sang along with the chorus, like I did for anything which caught my ear. I knew it, is what I'm saying, very well by the time I fell in love with the group.

Philip. I suppose I really fell in love with Philip. Not him exactly, though I adore him. I fell in love with his songs and the beauty of his lyrics. I fell in love with his combination of hard and soft, of tough and romantic. A heavy rock band which could produce such heartrending songs as "Still In Love With You" would always be a winner with one such as me. Hard shell, soft centre. Darkness with just enough light. The rough end of town, but fun.

Philip was a storyteller, above all things. Poetic in it, yes... but first and foremost a storyteller. There's a grand tradition of those in Ireland. Travelling bards, or the folks in town who you could depend on to spin you a great yarn guaranteed to be 99% fantasy (please, let's not call it blarney) and 1% tragic truth. Stories to make you laugh while you're weeping, to rouse your soul as they break your heart.

I do love this song, but it's almost too universal for me to truly devote myself to. It is about anything, therefore can be everything, about anyone therefore about everyone. That is its true genius. Maybe "The Boys" are returning from war, maybe from prison, maybe just from a trip out to the desert or from the big football game. Who knows? They're back, and everything just got interesting because of it.

In the specific version which plays in my head, they're a rock and roll band. Young, impossibly gorgeous, hugely charismatic. incredibly naughty. Thin Lizzy, in other words. Or for me, Shadowlands. They are everything a rock and roll band should be, and they're back to entertain, carouse and leave you wanting more.

I can't tell you that it's my favourite Thin Lizzy song, not even my favourite on Jailbreak. Without it though, I don't think I'd love the band as much as I do. It is their calling card, their mission statement. "The Boys Are Back In Town" is the sound of a group at their best, now that's summer's come. Things may never be as good again (and for Lizzy they weren't, truly) but it's ok because the nights are getting warmer and it won't be long...

Many years ago when I was a callow youth, I wrote a series of probably not very good wish fulfilment short stories based around a nightclub in heaven where all the rockers and rollers hang out. Naturally I went to visit them there. I hung out while the house band played, got a dancing lesson from Gene Kelly, hit on by Errol Flynn (I was young enough for him then). The Works. The name of that club? Dino's. Not just because I love Dean Martin (though I do) but because of this song. Why? The notion of getting to spend time with The My Boys listening to them play, while my heroes and dearest people are around me? That is heaven. Philip wrote it for me, many years ago.



I rather think I love "The Boys Are Back In Town" even more than I thought.




An observation about this series so far: I almost always end up talking about something completely unexpected and unrelated to my intent at the beginning. Hmm.


Part 17 - Nat King Cole - "Mr Cole Won't Rock and Roll"
Part 16 - Rory Gallagher - "A Million Miles Away"
Part 15 - The Shadows - "FBI"
Part 14 - Marilyn Monroe as Elsie Marina - "I Found A Dream
Part 13 - Kenneth Williams as Ramblin' Syd Rumpo - "The Ballad of the Woggler's Moulie"
Part 12 - Chas and Dave - "Rabbit"
Part 11 - The Beatles - "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You"
Part 10 - Duke Ellington - "The Mooche"
Part 9 - The Doors - "Who Do You Love?" featuring Albert King
Part 8 - Queen - "These Are The Days Of Our Lives"
Part 7 - Thin Lizzy - "Don't Believe A Word"
Part 6 - The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - "Monster Mash"
Part 5 - Craig Ferguson - "Doctor Who Cold Opening"
Part 4 - The Bees - "Who Cares What The Question Is?"
Part 3 - Marvin Gaye - "Got To Give It Up"
Part 2 - The Dubliners - "Octopus Jig"
Part 1 - The Allman Brothers Band - "Statesboro Blues"
apolla: (Lynott)

Today I decided that I was going to post something I really love. Not sure what, I headed to my iTunes to check out my 'Top 25 Most Played' list.

Some/quite a lot of what's on the list is there because they're songs I performed myself at one gig or another so listened to them a lot to rehearse/practice. Some of what's on there is because it's the Usual Suspects, those spectacularly talented people whose music grabbed me so hard once that I had to listen to them all the time. All the time.

The number one song on the list is there for both reasons. But I'm not going to post that. I'm going to post the number two song.



"Don't Believe a Word" - Thin Lizzy - Top of the Pops.

To me, this is absolutely the most perfect rock song about being a rock star. It's incredibly short - the album version clocks in at 2:19 - but says everything about the myths, legends and sad reality behind the leather trousers.

Philip Lynott was a truly fantastic, brilliant lyricist. Poet, if you will, in the grand tradition of many a Dubliner like himself. He was really great with rhymes in particular - he built an entire song, "Rocky" around only a handful of rhymes and managed to tell a life story with them.

He wasn't perfect. This is the man who wrote "Tonight there's going to be a jailbreak somewhere in this town", to which we all replied "Would that be at the jail then, Philo?"

Philo was and remains one of my favourite people in the history of the universe, never mind anything else. I don't say this imagining he was always a particularly nice or good guy. He's my hero in spite of and sometimes because of his weaknesses and failings as well as his greatness and strengths.

One of the things he was particularly good at was telling the truth while he lied and lying while telling the truth. In the song "With Love" he sings "But this Casanova's roving days are over... more or less". And he was right. This is a man who could write a song called "Opium Trail", which seems to have a pretty good understanding of what Teh Drugz do to you... only for them to kill him ten years later. 1979's "Got To Give It Up" (no relation to the Gaye track) reflects a similar contradiction. No, not contradiction: simply a breathtaking ability to lie to oneself about oneself.

"Don't Believe A Word" on the other hand, is absolute honesty: that there might always be another girl he's singing to, that he's almost certainly lying. Given that he wrote an earlier song called "Still In Love With You", it's pretty audacious.

And there's rock music in a nutshell. Not just for girls listening to pop crushes, for all of us. The Rock Star is a myth. His wife Caroline said that "Philip was a rock star when he was cleaning his teeth" but that doesn't make it less of an act, it just makes it more constant an act. We know of plenty of rock stars who are all rock-all the time but that doesn't make it true.

They're all lying to us one way or the other. Whoever said they had to tell the truth anyway? Songs should illuminate something about the human condition if they're to be worth anything, but it doesn't follow that the composer had to experience it themselves. Sometimes they do, but it doesn't follow that they're always telling the truth.

But because the music is good - when it is good - we believe it. We silly, naive children. We want to believe. It's understandable, but that doesn't make it true and wishing doesn't make it so.

If wishing made it so, Philip Lynott would be alive and making awesome records with a similarly-animated Rory Gallagher on guitar and Jim Morrison singing. And Moon would be on drums. I'd... make the tea, or something. Anything to be in that room. If wishing made it so...

"Don't Believe A Word" has a great riff, but the ultimate beauty of it to me is the way Philo lays it out clearly: he probably isn't singing to Her/You/Me, he's probably lying to Her/You/Me but it doesn't matter because the song is awesome, because he feels regret about it, because the lyrics are beautiful in that very Lizzy bittersweet way.

That's the reality, the deal we make: we all know it's not real but it's OK to lie to us as long as you're rocking our socks off.

The danger is when we start believing in it, and that goes for the stars as much as the audience: how many of them fell apart because they started to believe in their own magical powers and immortality?

Don't believe me if I tell you, especially if I tell you I'm in love with you.

apolla: (Black Rose)
It is twenty past eleven on the night of 4th January 2011. I am sitting in my cold living room, curled up in a duvet and I am watching a DVD called Thin Lizzy – Greatest Hits. At the O2 Arena (the Point last time I was there) in Dublin, a band calling themselves Thin Lizzy are on stage. At Vicar Street in Dublin, my favourite live music venue ever, the 25th Vibe for Philo is in full-swing. According to the line-up on the website, the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils & Glen Hansard are playing as I type.

Although his name isn't splashed all over the place, Philip Lynott has not been forgotten today.

I've made various ramblings at this time of year for a long time. I recall the 19th being a bit of an epic, and I know exactly where I was for the 20th anniversary: at the front of Vicar Street, at the Vibe. I was either feeling sick, about to be sick or had just been sick (oddly enough, the exact time of emptying my stomach over the barrier has been forgotten) thanks to an Italian restaurant in Temple Bar which forever lost my custom that night.

As is usual for the 4
th January, I've spent the day pissed off. First it was trying to get up for my first workday since Christmas. Then it was morons on the tube, idiots in the street and the VAT increase on frappucinos. Then it was the imminent threat of root canal this evening. Then it was only having part of the root canal done and having to wait until next week for the long-winded bit. Then it was the cold. Then it was CSI: NY. All day, I've been cheesed off like a mouse who has just been told by a doctor to lay off the cheese due to a serious cheese allergy.

The fact is, the 4th January cannot be a happy day for me, and probably many people who ever gave a flying one about Lynott would agree. It is the day we lost him forever. It is the day that his work took on new, deeper, more tragic meanings.

It is the day that hole in the middle of the stage opened up.

Tonight, a band calling themselves Thin Lizzy are up at the Point. Brian Downey and Scott Gorham are there, the two people I would class as 'Thin Lizzy' after Philip. Darren Wharton is there. Some other musicians are there, plugging the holes. I don't doubt that musically they'll be fine. There are no bad musicians in the line-up, but there is a big fucking hole in the middle of the stage, and ignoring it is like a broken pencil: pointless.

I've seen Thin Lizzy in recent years, before John Sykes left and Downey rejoined. The music wasn't bad, and I consider those evenings well spent, but there is no escaping the massive hole in the middle of the stage

Philip is gone. I've seen and touched the chunk of damp Irish sod covering the hole they put him in.

Yet, here I sit, and looking at the television, it's almost as if I could reach out and touch the shiny red jacket he's wearing in the With Love video, and jaysus, doesn't the smile on him warm my cold, broken heart?

So much has already been said that there seems little more to say... except that seeing the lustrously-barnetted Scott Gorham on lead guitar reminds me of the one sorrow that can never be soothed.

I met Scott Gorham in Starbucks on 26th Feb 2009, Hicks' anniversary. I got to look him in the eye and say thank you. Maybe I'll meet him again in this lifetime, but the important bit is done. I got to say 'you're one of my favourite musicians. Thank you.'

It seems incredibly important to say it. To look into someone's eyes and thank them. It seems the least I can do (actually, the least I can do is buy their music...) and at the same time, it's everything.

Thin Lizzy's music pulled me out of more holes than it put me in. All the sadness, grief, tears and other woe I've felt because Philip is dead are nothing compared to the absolute, pure jubilation his music has given me.

As I've said many times, it was Philip that gave me back Ireland, and I didn't even fully realise how much I needed it. He is my hero, an inspiration, a rock (natch) upon which to lean when I need, and the better part of happiness in my world. I can tell you truthfully that I believe him to be one of the great Irish writers of the late 20th century. I can tell you truthfully that I believe Thin Lizzy to be continually under-rated (partly through their own doing), and that as long as Thin Lizzy's music exists, U2 aren't even the best band from Dublin, never mind in the whole world

Nothing compares to all that, and I'll shed a million more tears before I'll live in a world without him.

I hope the two separate Philo nights are having a grand aul' time. Me, I was feeling like shit, and then I started watching Philip and funnily enough, I started to feel better, a little. And now I've been watching for awhile, I feel a good deal better. The end of the Sarah video still cracks me up, and I will always smile back at that cocky, smug grin plastered on his face throughout Dear Miss Lonely Hearts. I still want sparkly purple trousers like Robbo in the Wild One video. Sure, Still In Love With You makes me want to cry, but that's because it's a sad, sad song. I'm happier now than I was before the DVD started, and that's because of Philo's music.

I will never stop wishing I could look him in the eye and say thank you. I will always wish I could make some kind of difference to how it played out. I will always wish to have been there to see him. I will always believe that a world with Philip Lynott in it is better than one without it, but as long as the music plays, it'll be OK, and OK is all we get.



 









apolla: (Black Rose)
It is twenty past eleven on the night of 4th January 2011. I am sitting in my cold living room, curled up in a duvet and I am watching a DVD called Thin Lizzy – Greatest Hits. At the O2 Arena (the Point last time I was there) in Dublin, a band calling themselves Thin Lizzy are on stage. At Vicar Street in Dublin, my favourite live music venue ever, the 25th Vibe for Philo is in full-swing. According to the line-up on the website, the Hoodoo Rhythm Devils & Glen Hansard are playing as I type.

Although his name isn't splashed all over the place, Philip Lynott has not been forgotten today.

I've made various ramblings at this time of year for a long time. I recall the 19th being a bit of an epic, and I know exactly where I was for the 20th anniversary: at the front of Vicar Street, at the Vibe. I was either feeling sick, about to be sick or had just been sick (oddly enough, the exact time of emptying my stomach over the barrier has been forgotten) thanks to an Italian restaurant in Temple Bar which forever lost my custom that night.

As is usual for the 4
th January, I've spent the day pissed off. First it was trying to get up for my first workday since Christmas. Then it was morons on the tube, idiots in the street and the VAT increase on frappucinos. Then it was the imminent threat of root canal this evening. Then it was only having part of the root canal done and having to wait until next week for the long-winded bit. Then it was the cold. Then it was CSI: NY. All day, I've been cheesed off like a mouse who has just been told by a doctor to lay off the cheese due to a serious cheese allergy.

The fact is, the 4th January cannot be a happy day for me, and probably many people who ever gave a flying one about Lynott would agree. It is the day we lost him forever. It is the day that his work took on new, deeper, more tragic meanings.

It is the day that hole in the middle of the stage opened up.

Tonight, a band calling themselves Thin Lizzy are up at the Point. Brian Downey and Scott Gorham are there, the two people I would class as 'Thin Lizzy' after Philip. Darren Wharton is there. Some other musicians are there, plugging the holes. I don't doubt that musically they'll be fine. There are no bad musicians in the line-up, but there is a big fucking hole in the middle of the stage, and ignoring it is like a broken pencil: pointless.

I've seen Thin Lizzy in recent years, before John Sykes left and Downey rejoined. The music wasn't bad, and I consider those evenings well spent, but there is no escaping the massive hole in the middle of the stage

Philip is gone. I've seen and touched the chunk of damp Irish sod covering the hole they put him in.

Yet, here I sit, and looking at the television, it's almost as if I could reach out and touch the shiny red jacket he's wearing in the With Love video, and jaysus, doesn't the smile on him warm my cold, broken heart?

So much has already been said that there seems little more to say... except that seeing the lustrously-barnetted Scott Gorham on lead guitar reminds me of the one sorrow that can never be soothed.

I met Scott Gorham in Starbucks on 26th Feb 2009, Hicks' anniversary. I got to look him in the eye and say thank you. Maybe I'll meet him again in this lifetime, but the important bit is done. I got to say 'you're one of my favourite musicians. Thank you.'

It seems incredibly important to say it. To look into someone's eyes and thank them. It seems the least I can do (actually, the least I can do is buy their music...) and at the same time, it's everything.

Thin Lizzy's music pulled me out of more holes than it put me in. All the sadness, grief, tears and other woe I've felt because Philip is dead are nothing compared to the absolute, pure jubilation his music has given me.

As I've said many times, it was Philip that gave me back Ireland, and I didn't even fully realise how much I needed it. He is my hero, an inspiration, a rock (natch) upon which to lean when I need, and the better part of happiness in my world. I can tell you truthfully that I believe him to be one of the great Irish writers of the late 20th century. I can tell you truthfully that I believe Thin Lizzy to be continually under-rated (partly through their own doing), and that as long as Thin Lizzy's music exists, U2 aren't even the best band from Dublin, never mind in the whole world

Nothing compares to all that, and I'll shed a million more tears before I'll live in a world without him.

I hope the two separate Philo nights are having a grand aul' time. Me, I was feeling like shit, and then I started watching Philip and funnily enough, I started to feel better, a little. And now I've been watching for awhile, I feel a good deal better. The end of the Sarah video still cracks me up, and I will always smile back at that cocky, smug grin plastered on his face throughout Dear Miss Lonely Hearts. I still want sparkly purple trousers like Robbo in the Wild One video. Sure, Still In Love With You makes me want to cry, but that's because it's a sad, sad song. I'm happier now than I was before the DVD started, and that's because of Philo's music.

I will never stop wishing I could look him in the eye and say thank you. I will always wish I could make some kind of difference to how it played out. I will always wish to have been there to see him. I will always believe that a world with Philip Lynott in it is better than one without it, but as long as the music plays, it'll be OK, and OK is all we get.



 









apolla: (Default)
I have a habit. An irritating habit. I like to share YouTube videos on Facebook on even the smallest pretext. This leads to me basically spamming my own FB profile with videos each time I stop there. So far, I've managed to refrain from sharing The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson every time I burst out laughing.

Lately, I've been profile-spamming with Rory Gallagher videos every so often. Or rather, every time I go to YouTube in search of a Rory video. I'm in the mid-period stage of New Obsession, and it's just as well that YouTube wasn't around when I went through the same with The Beatles, or with Led Zeppelin or with Thin Lizzy or with The Doors, or with Dean Martin.

Amongst the videos I posted the other day was this:


I added the note"I wasn't going to clutter FB with any more tonight but the end of this is astonishing in its grand fabulousness." If you want to accuse me of being over the top, hyperbolic or just plain nuts, that's cool. I happen to think it's a very cool live exploration of the song that reaches a thoroughly satisfactory climax (oh, matron, etc etc) but part of my excitement was bound up in the newness: it was the first time I'd heard it in such an arrangement.

Now one of my friends on Facebook, the Fabulous Marie, clicked 'Like' on a few of the videos and I was glad that someone - anyone - had seen then. I get quite preachy when I fall down the rabbit hole for a musician, I know this. "OMG YOU MUST LISTEN! NO REALLY!". I know, and I'm at least less awful than I used to be (just ask anyone who was around when I fell down the Doors rabbit hole).

I posted a bunch of videos, and also, while I'm at it, the profound FB status message "RANDOM SCOTT GORHAM ON TV!" so it's fair to say I was in a particular frame of mind: the oh my god, rock music is all I care about and all I can think about frame of mind. Haven't been there for a while, and it was fun. So imagine the mixture of emotions the next day when I read an email alert that someone had replied to my posting of the above video.

"It's not as if he's the best or anything - do you just fancy him?"

On the face of it... it's just a slightly stupid, shallow remark. There's more to this than meets the eye, to borrow a phrase from the movie Help! (more on that later).

Let us examine this, because I'm still angry two days later. Leaving aside the quality judgement, because that's not the issue and is always going to be contentious in rock geek circles, the question.... do you just fancy him?

Exsqueeze me, baking powder? (another quote from another rock music movie). What did you just say? It was a boy who said it, for the record, called Adam. I have had several online discussions with him about music, the blues, Clapton and Gallagher. I know he falls on the side of Clapton. I do not. I only know him via my brother, so I can't claim to know him at all well. I can't speak to his motives or meanings behind the remark. I can only speak to how it feels to read such a remark. And I'm fucking well going to speak to it.

How dare you.

I was immediately put in mind of a fascinating feminist post over at Shakesville: The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck. If you, men and women, read nothing else about this post, click the link and read. I was put in mind because the question that came to me as I read the comment from Adam was: Swallow shit, or ruin the afternoon? As the article suggests, moments that wear/cut away at a woman's sense of self, worth, importance have already ruined the proverbial afternoon for them. So fuck it kids, I'm going to ruin the afternoon.

I am sick and tired - oh so weary - of being treated in a particular way for being a rock fan with a cunt. The number of times I've had men (and some women) patronise me, scorn me, outright mock or attack me for it... I took a Pop Music Culture class nearly a decade ago in which I had to stand up for myself - and all the other female rock fans - for wanting to love the music.

So let me ask a question. If a man posted four or five videos of a musician they liked a great deal, would 'do you fancy him' be a question that even occurred to anyone? Rock music is still so skewed towards men. That's fine, as long as they're good at it. I mean come on! My absolute favourite musicians are all men! This may be due to a conspicuous lack of choice in the female rock department.

Who is there? In mainstream rock music, I mean. There are the Bikini Kill and Riot Grrrl types who are to be respected and commended, but you can't call it mainstream... Who is there who ROCKS THE FUCK OUT while in possession of a vagina?

You're having trouble, aren't you? Don't worry, you're not the only ones: Rolling Stone's Immortals list has only four women in the top fifty, and Aretha (number nine) is a soul singer, Madonna's (36) a clotheshorse bandwagoner. Only the other two, Janis Joplin and Patti Smith, can even reasonably be considered to share the same space as the guys. I don't say this to deride the Queen or Madge, just to point out that they're not rockers. Janis and Patti are at places 46 and 47 respectively. The bottom fifty has six females/girl groups.

It's not because girls don't like rock music. It's not because they can't play it. It's because they're told they can't, or just plain told not to. I remember why I asked to learn the guitar when I was seven years old. I was watching Top of the Pops (a very long time ago, when I could still find something on there to like). I made the connection between rock music, guitars and cool pretty easily. I was a kid who had her own record player at the age of six and listened to Buddy Holly records. It was 1989. I wanted to play the guitar. The electric guitar like all those cool-as-fuck musicians. Can you imagine the disappointment I had to hide when my mummy took me to the music school and introduced me to my classical guitar teacher? I wanted to ROCK OUT but it had been assumed (I assume in turn) that it would be classical. I turned out to love my lessons and stuck with them from the age of ten to nineteen, and I only stopped them to go to university. (Sidenote: Mr Burden, you're a fucking legend.) But the assumption hurt.

For the record, I'm sitting within two feet of two guitars: a Fender California series electro-acoustic slice of gorgeousness and a gold copy-Strat. There's a bass (Fender jazz copy.) (rarely played) sitting in my spare room.

So anyway, I've been dealing with this shit for twenty years and it still stings. I wouldn't be writing this if Adam's remark didn't hurt a little. How can I explain without seeming like An Irrational Female or A Bitch? I can practically hear the TVTropes names forming. How can I adequately explain the shredding of my heart every time some ignorant tossmonkey suggests that the only reason I could ever love music is because I fancy the musician? My God, it still hurts, every single time, and partly on behalf of the musicians in question. What an insult it is to them to suggest that I could only love them for their face and body? (There is an argument to be made that Robert Plant asked for it).

I suppose it couldn't possibly be because of the music, could it? Or them as humans for being charismatic or intelligent, or funny? It couldn't be because of a MONSTER RIFF or a STONKING BASSLINE or a PROFOUND LYRIC? God, the mere idea of loving the Beatles for the music! Why didn't I think of that before? Whyever would I like Led Zeppelin for Jimmy's fourteen track guitar solos or for Bonzo's extended Moby Dick drum solo? (for the record: I actually love the version of Moby Dick that's in The Song Remains The Same).

I couldn't possibly like Rory Gallagher for his mad guitar skills, could I? Or his often excellent songwriting? There are a couple of his songs that are such excellent examples of their type that I assumed they were covers. 'Goin' To My Hometown' is a particularly excellent example. It couldn't possibly be because he brought an Irish lyricality to the blues and a deep authentic feeling that I have never once believed from Eric Clapton, could it? It couldn't be his dedication to the music, or the simple-but-effective live shows? No, I must fancy him.

A far more stinging and accurate mockery would've been to suggest I only like him for being Irish. It'd be more accurate than 'oooooh, you lurrrrrrve him!' but it'd still be wrong.

Why are women still barred from being considered 'proper' fans of anything? Why are we still having our motives questioned? Are we still tagged as groupies, no matter what we do? Are we all supposed to be crazy fangirls, as if my love of rock music is the same as a tinhat Supernatural fan's love of J2? Even if it is, what would be wrong with that? A guy can own thousands of records and be a fan, a girl could own the same and be tagged as a crazy fangirl.

I appreciate that the screaming girls since the Bobbysoxers have not helped the cause. However, you don't know what it was they loved, and not all fangirls are the same. Twihards right now are not helping, but it's possible - just possible - that they love the books above loving Robert Pattinson. Have you even asked?

Oh hey, Fact Fans! For all the crazy fangirls that clutter the internet and the world, it was a white man who killed John Lennon. To extend this further, a white man killed Jim Morrison, when you think about it.

I sit opposite a rock fan called Phil at work. We routinely drive everyone else mad by bickering, for one thing, and for droning about rock music for another. We also quote A Hard Day's Night and Help! at each other for a good portion of any given day. Swine flu has been particularly good for this: He's a swiiiiiiine. Phil can speak at length about the differences between the stereo and mono mixes of the Beatles records and on Friday spent some time waxing truly lyrical about the new remaster of Abbey Road. He is almost as much of a fan of several other bands. He dislikes my ironic love of Xanadu because that's when he finally gave up on ELO. He's seen Clapton tons of times. I don't believe he's ever been accused of being in love with any of the bands he likes.

Go over to YouTube and read the comments on Rory Gallagher videos:

Do please pardon my language.But Goddamn fuckin amazing ... 5:49 ... with the bass ... and the ... the ... oh god i love it .....  by someone called Brianlovesiobhan on the video above.

ah for feck sake!!!!!!! that was just unreal. Vids of Rory blow me away everytime! thanks a million for sharing! from someone called MonkeyMan198599, video and comment linked in quote.

Now, I can't be sure that these people (there are hundreds of similarly adoring comments on most of RG's videos, but I'm not going to spam you with them now) are men... but I can surmise it. I suppose that they too must fancy Rory? Or am I to understand that only men can be obsessive about music and that women must only be obsessive about musicians?

It's entirely possible for a woman to fall in love with a rock and roll musician. It's just as possible for her not to. It's actually a pretty complex set of emotions for me, so for someone to reduce it to do you just fancy him is infuriating. Even if I did explain, I don't think most people would be interested, which is fair enough, but don't reduce it to the lowest common denominator. I've sat for hours watching old concerts for these people, I've lost days of my life to listening to their records. I'm poor because of them. I've travelled the globe for them, I've stood at their graves. I've danced around the living room alone at 2 o'clock in the morning because of a funky song. I've read books. I've written dissertations and blog posts. I've laughed and I've cried. I've watched great documentaries and shit documentaries. I've defended and attacked them. I've fought their corners. I've sung their songs on stages. I've written songs about them. I've done all this because of the music.

To quote briefly from a long-ago post I made that was nominally about the Phantom of the Opera but was actually about Jim and Me:

It is a handy little extra that Jim Morrison is Adonis. It makes putting pictures of him up on the wall a genuine pleasure. It's always nice to have beautiful things to look at. But you don't get pictures when you're listening to a record. When it's just you and the vinyl, the only thing he has to win you over completely is his voice singing his words. No pout, no smirk or smoulder or trousers. There's none of the slumping onto microphones or falling into a heap. Only a voice.

Would I love Jim Morrison if he were ugly? I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a choice in the matter.

Note the phrase 'would I love' rather than 'would I be in love with'. To me, they're not the same thing. In fact, I believe I use the word 'love' as shorthand a lot of the time, because everyone understands love but they don't necessarily understand the rock fan - musician relationship. 'Love' is an easy way of avoiding exactly what I mean.

To quote briefly from a post I made in July 2007:

Without music I'd be dead. Or at least very, terribly hollow and dead inside. I might still live and breathe, but who would I be? I talk music most of the time, I think music even more. The only things that distract me from music are writing, movies and myself. That's it. There's nothing else.

I'm not saying you can't crush on musicians, can't be in love with them... it's just that it's not why a lot of us women love the music first and foremost and above everything else. To suggest that I could only love the music because of the man makes my stomach twist itself inside out because I love the music so much for itself. Yet, it's hard often to explain adequately how or why a piece of music is so important... but it's relatively easy to talk about people. I have talked about how I love Jim Morrison or any of the others - but it's not a crush. It's not romantic and never was. It was a depth of affection for someone who gave me that music. If Jim hadn't written those songs, I wouldn't give a flying rat's arse about him in or out of a shirt. I love the music, so I love them for the music. That doesn't give them a free pass to make shit music and it doesn't mean that I sit here daydreaming about them.

Wouldn't that be a waste of fucking time in my case, given that most of the bastards are dead?

I don't want to fuck or marry these people. I want to see them live in concert. When I hear the music I love, I feel alive. I feel like there's meaning to the world. I feel like there's wonder and brilliance in the world. I feel like I could fly. My heart soars or dips depending on the song. I get songs stuck in my head. Some songs make my blood run hot, some turn my blood cold. Some songs make me want to die. Others make me want to live. That makes you and me and all the other rock fans pretty much the same, whether we have a cock or a cunt, something else or none of the above. Amazing, right?

I'm going to leave you with a few choice quotes that, depending on your point of view, should leave you squirming and uncomfortable or punching the air triumphantly, mostly from women in music, because the only real difference between the person on stage and the person in the audience is what side of the security guard they can see.

People don't want to see women doing things they don't think women should do. Joan Jett

Girls have got balls. They're just a little higher up that's all. Joan Jett.

Aggressive, tough and defiant may describe me, but that leaves the impression I'm mean and I'm not. Joan Jett, again.

I figured out it was a social thing, what women were allowed to do. At a very young age, I decided I was not going to follow women's rules.  Joan Jett, once more. Has she had to spend her entire career explaining and defending her choice? (answer: Yes).

As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag. Patti Smith.

No, my work does not reflect my sexual preferences, it reflects the fact that I feel total freedom as an artist.  Patti Smith.

On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone.  Janis Joplin

Some nights I look out and want to fuck the whole front row. Robert Plant

The so-called feminist writers were disgusted with me. I did my thing, and so I guess by feminist standards I'm a feminist. That suits me fine.  Chrissie Hynde

I dig music. The fictional musician Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, a film which didn't help the girl-fan (not fangirl) cause but was otherwise OK.

and a final word from one of our sponsors:

You know, people can't fall in love with me just because I'm good at what I do. Robert Plant, 1977 (I'd be interested in the context of this quote if anyone has it).
apolla: (Default)
I have a habit. An irritating habit. I like to share YouTube videos on Facebook on even the smallest pretext. This leads to me basically spamming my own FB profile with videos each time I stop there. So far, I've managed to refrain from sharing The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson every time I burst out laughing.

Lately, I've been profile-spamming with Rory Gallagher videos every so often. Or rather, every time I go to YouTube in search of a Rory video. I'm in the mid-period stage of New Obsession, and it's just as well that YouTube wasn't around when I went through the same with The Beatles, or with Led Zeppelin or with Thin Lizzy or with The Doors, or with Dean Martin.

Amongst the videos I posted the other day was this:


I added the note"I wasn't going to clutter FB with any more tonight but the end of this is astonishing in its grand fabulousness." If you want to accuse me of being over the top, hyperbolic or just plain nuts, that's cool. I happen to think it's a very cool live exploration of the song that reaches a thoroughly satisfactory climax (oh, matron, etc etc) but part of my excitement was bound up in the newness: it was the first time I'd heard it in such an arrangement.

Now one of my friends on Facebook, the Fabulous Marie, clicked 'Like' on a few of the videos and I was glad that someone - anyone - had seen then. I get quite preachy when I fall down the rabbit hole for a musician, I know this. "OMG YOU MUST LISTEN! NO REALLY!". I know, and I'm at least less awful than I used to be (just ask anyone who was around when I fell down the Doors rabbit hole).

I posted a bunch of videos, and also, while I'm at it, the profound FB status message "RANDOM SCOTT GORHAM ON TV!" so it's fair to say I was in a particular frame of mind: the oh my god, rock music is all I care about and all I can think about frame of mind. Haven't been there for a while, and it was fun. So imagine the mixture of emotions the next day when I read an email alert that someone had replied to my posting of the above video.

"It's not as if he's the best or anything - do you just fancy him?"

On the face of it... it's just a slightly stupid, shallow remark. There's more to this than meets the eye, to borrow a phrase from the movie Help! (more on that later).

Let us examine this, because I'm still angry two days later. Leaving aside the quality judgement, because that's not the issue and is always going to be contentious in rock geek circles, the question.... do you just fancy him?

Exsqueeze me, baking powder? (another quote from another rock music movie). What did you just say? It was a boy who said it, for the record, called Adam. I have had several online discussions with him about music, the blues, Clapton and Gallagher. I know he falls on the side of Clapton. I do not. I only know him via my brother, so I can't claim to know him at all well. I can't speak to his motives or meanings behind the remark. I can only speak to how it feels to read such a remark. And I'm fucking well going to speak to it.

How dare you.

I was immediately put in mind of a fascinating feminist post over at Shakesville: The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck. If you, men and women, read nothing else about this post, click the link and read. I was put in mind because the question that came to me as I read the comment from Adam was: Swallow shit, or ruin the afternoon? As the article suggests, moments that wear/cut away at a woman's sense of self, worth, importance have already ruined the proverbial afternoon for them. So fuck it kids, I'm going to ruin the afternoon.

I am sick and tired - oh so weary - of being treated in a particular way for being a rock fan with a cunt. The number of times I've had men (and some women) patronise me, scorn me, outright mock or attack me for it... I took a Pop Music Culture class nearly a decade ago in which I had to stand up for myself - and all the other female rock fans - for wanting to love the music.

So let me ask a question. If a man posted four or five videos of a musician they liked a great deal, would 'do you fancy him' be a question that even occurred to anyone? Rock music is still so skewed towards men. That's fine, as long as they're good at it. I mean come on! My absolute favourite musicians are all men! This may be due to a conspicuous lack of choice in the female rock department.

Who is there? In mainstream rock music, I mean. There are the Bikini Kill and Riot Grrrl types who are to be respected and commended, but you can't call it mainstream... Who is there who ROCKS THE FUCK OUT while in possession of a vagina?

You're having trouble, aren't you? Don't worry, you're not the only ones: Rolling Stone's Immortals list has only four women in the top fifty, and Aretha (number nine) is a soul singer, Madonna's (36) a clotheshorse bandwagoner. Only the other two, Janis Joplin and Patti Smith, can even reasonably be considered to share the same space as the guys. I don't say this to deride the Queen or Madge, just to point out that they're not rockers. Janis and Patti are at places 46 and 47 respectively. The bottom fifty has six females/girl groups.

It's not because girls don't like rock music. It's not because they can't play it. It's because they're told they can't, or just plain told not to. I remember why I asked to learn the guitar when I was seven years old. I was watching Top of the Pops (a very long time ago, when I could still find something on there to like). I made the connection between rock music, guitars and cool pretty easily. I was a kid who had her own record player at the age of six and listened to Buddy Holly records. It was 1989. I wanted to play the guitar. The electric guitar like all those cool-as-fuck musicians. Can you imagine the disappointment I had to hide when my mummy took me to the music school and introduced me to my classical guitar teacher? I wanted to ROCK OUT but it had been assumed (I assume in turn) that it would be classical. I turned out to love my lessons and stuck with them from the age of ten to nineteen, and I only stopped them to go to university. (Sidenote: Mr Burden, you're a fucking legend.) But the assumption hurt.

For the record, I'm sitting within two feet of two guitars: a Fender California series electro-acoustic slice of gorgeousness and a gold copy-Strat. There's a bass (Fender jazz copy.) (rarely played) sitting in my spare room.

So anyway, I've been dealing with this shit for twenty years and it still stings. I wouldn't be writing this if Adam's remark didn't hurt a little. How can I explain without seeming like An Irrational Female or A Bitch? I can practically hear the TVTropes names forming. How can I adequately explain the shredding of my heart every time some ignorant tossmonkey suggests that the only reason I could ever love music is because I fancy the musician? My God, it still hurts, every single time, and partly on behalf of the musicians in question. What an insult it is to them to suggest that I could only love them for their face and body? (There is an argument to be made that Robert Plant asked for it).

I suppose it couldn't possibly be because of the music, could it? Or them as humans for being charismatic or intelligent, or funny? It couldn't be because of a MONSTER RIFF or a STONKING BASSLINE or a PROFOUND LYRIC? God, the mere idea of loving the Beatles for the music! Why didn't I think of that before? Whyever would I like Led Zeppelin for Jimmy's fourteen track guitar solos or for Bonzo's extended Moby Dick drum solo? (for the record: I actually love the version of Moby Dick that's in The Song Remains The Same).

I couldn't possibly like Rory Gallagher for his mad guitar skills, could I? Or his often excellent songwriting? There are a couple of his songs that are such excellent examples of their type that I assumed they were covers. 'Goin' To My Hometown' is a particularly excellent example. It couldn't possibly be because he brought an Irish lyricality to the blues and a deep authentic feeling that I have never once believed from Eric Clapton, could it? It couldn't be his dedication to the music, or the simple-but-effective live shows? No, I must fancy him.

A far more stinging and accurate mockery would've been to suggest I only like him for being Irish. It'd be more accurate than 'oooooh, you lurrrrrrve him!' but it'd still be wrong.

Why are women still barred from being considered 'proper' fans of anything? Why are we still having our motives questioned? Are we still tagged as groupies, no matter what we do? Are we all supposed to be crazy fangirls, as if my love of rock music is the same as a tinhat Supernatural fan's love of J2? Even if it is, what would be wrong with that? A guy can own thousands of records and be a fan, a girl could own the same and be tagged as a crazy fangirl.

I appreciate that the screaming girls since the Bobbysoxers have not helped the cause. However, you don't know what it was they loved, and not all fangirls are the same. Twihards right now are not helping, but it's possible - just possible - that they love the books above loving Robert Pattinson. Have you even asked?

Oh hey, Fact Fans! For all the crazy fangirls that clutter the internet and the world, it was a white man who killed John Lennon. To extend this further, a white man killed Jim Morrison, when you think about it.

I sit opposite a rock fan called Phil at work. We routinely drive everyone else mad by bickering, for one thing, and for droning about rock music for another. We also quote A Hard Day's Night and Help! at each other for a good portion of any given day. Swine flu has been particularly good for this: He's a swiiiiiiine. Phil can speak at length about the differences between the stereo and mono mixes of the Beatles records and on Friday spent some time waxing truly lyrical about the new remaster of Abbey Road. He is almost as much of a fan of several other bands. He dislikes my ironic love of Xanadu because that's when he finally gave up on ELO. He's seen Clapton tons of times. I don't believe he's ever been accused of being in love with any of the bands he likes.

Go over to YouTube and read the comments on Rory Gallagher videos:

Do please pardon my language.But Goddamn fuckin amazing ... 5:49 ... with the bass ... and the ... the ... oh god i love it .....  by someone called Brianlovesiobhan on the video above.

ah for feck sake!!!!!!! that was just unreal. Vids of Rory blow me away everytime! thanks a million for sharing! from someone called MonkeyMan198599, video and comment linked in quote.

Now, I can't be sure that these people (there are hundreds of similarly adoring comments on most of RG's videos, but I'm not going to spam you with them now) are men... but I can surmise it. I suppose that they too must fancy Rory? Or am I to understand that only men can be obsessive about music and that women must only be obsessive about musicians?

It's entirely possible for a woman to fall in love with a rock and roll musician. It's just as possible for her not to. It's actually a pretty complex set of emotions for me, so for someone to reduce it to do you just fancy him is infuriating. Even if I did explain, I don't think most people would be interested, which is fair enough, but don't reduce it to the lowest common denominator. I've sat for hours watching old concerts for these people, I've lost days of my life to listening to their records. I'm poor because of them. I've travelled the globe for them, I've stood at their graves. I've danced around the living room alone at 2 o'clock in the morning because of a funky song. I've read books. I've written dissertations and blog posts. I've laughed and I've cried. I've watched great documentaries and shit documentaries. I've defended and attacked them. I've fought their corners. I've sung their songs on stages. I've written songs about them. I've done all this because of the music.

To quote briefly from a long-ago post I made that was nominally about the Phantom of the Opera but was actually about Jim and Me:

It is a handy little extra that Jim Morrison is Adonis. It makes putting pictures of him up on the wall a genuine pleasure. It's always nice to have beautiful things to look at. But you don't get pictures when you're listening to a record. When it's just you and the vinyl, the only thing he has to win you over completely is his voice singing his words. No pout, no smirk or smoulder or trousers. There's none of the slumping onto microphones or falling into a heap. Only a voice.

Would I love Jim Morrison if he were ugly? I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a choice in the matter.

Note the phrase 'would I love' rather than 'would I be in love with'. To me, they're not the same thing. In fact, I believe I use the word 'love' as shorthand a lot of the time, because everyone understands love but they don't necessarily understand the rock fan - musician relationship. 'Love' is an easy way of avoiding exactly what I mean.

To quote briefly from a post I made in July 2007:

Without music I'd be dead. Or at least very, terribly hollow and dead inside. I might still live and breathe, but who would I be? I talk music most of the time, I think music even more. The only things that distract me from music are writing, movies and myself. That's it. There's nothing else.

I'm not saying you can't crush on musicians, can't be in love with them... it's just that it's not why a lot of us women love the music first and foremost and above everything else. To suggest that I could only love the music because of the man makes my stomach twist itself inside out because I love the music so much for itself. Yet, it's hard often to explain adequately how or why a piece of music is so important... but it's relatively easy to talk about people. I have talked about how I love Jim Morrison or any of the others - but it's not a crush. It's not romantic and never was. It was a depth of affection for someone who gave me that music. If Jim hadn't written those songs, I wouldn't give a flying rat's arse about him in or out of a shirt. I love the music, so I love them for the music. That doesn't give them a free pass to make shit music and it doesn't mean that I sit here daydreaming about them.

Wouldn't that be a waste of fucking time in my case, given that most of the bastards are dead?

I don't want to fuck or marry these people. I want to see them live in concert. When I hear the music I love, I feel alive. I feel like there's meaning to the world. I feel like there's wonder and brilliance in the world. I feel like I could fly. My heart soars or dips depending on the song. I get songs stuck in my head. Some songs make my blood run hot, some turn my blood cold. Some songs make me want to die. Others make me want to live. That makes you and me and all the other rock fans pretty much the same, whether we have a cock or a cunt, something else or none of the above. Amazing, right?

I'm going to leave you with a few choice quotes that, depending on your point of view, should leave you squirming and uncomfortable or punching the air triumphantly, mostly from women in music, because the only real difference between the person on stage and the person in the audience is what side of the security guard they can see.

People don't want to see women doing things they don't think women should do. Joan Jett

Girls have got balls. They're just a little higher up that's all. Joan Jett.

Aggressive, tough and defiant may describe me, but that leaves the impression I'm mean and I'm not. Joan Jett, again.

I figured out it was a social thing, what women were allowed to do. At a very young age, I decided I was not going to follow women's rules.  Joan Jett, once more. Has she had to spend her entire career explaining and defending her choice? (answer: Yes).

As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag. Patti Smith.

No, my work does not reflect my sexual preferences, it reflects the fact that I feel total freedom as an artist.  Patti Smith.

On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone.  Janis Joplin

Some nights I look out and want to fuck the whole front row. Robert Plant

The so-called feminist writers were disgusted with me. I did my thing, and so I guess by feminist standards I'm a feminist. That suits me fine.  Chrissie Hynde

I dig music. The fictional musician Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, a film which didn't help the girl-fan (not fangirl) cause but was otherwise OK.

and a final word from one of our sponsors:

You know, people can't fall in love with me just because I'm good at what I do. Robert Plant, 1977 (I'd be interested in the context of this quote if anyone has it).
apolla: (Percy)

I realised something quite important today. I am not currently fixated on any one musician or musical group.

Not a one.

I searched back, but could hardly remember the last time such a thing happened. I've been listening to Julie London a fair bit the last week or so, but while I'd willingly be her when/if I grow up, it's not the same as listening to the same song six times over because you like the chord change at 1:23.

I had this particular realisation while listening to The Doors, who are mightily pissing me off at the moment, and for once it's not the singer's fault. Yes, there's another Doors compilation out, this time with yet more unheard bonus tracks which you can't get singly on iTunes. Well, a handful you can, but a lot of the stuff actual fans would want is 'album only', which is code for the company screwing the fans again. Remind me to show you the piechart of who gets what in the 79p per track (clue: between 7-11p is for the people who actually created the music) one of these days.

So, I'm walking along, cursing the names Manzarek and Krieger (Densmore's banking his cheques I'm sure, but as someone who was not in the Doors For the 21st Century/Riders on the Storm, I'll give him a break)... and I realise that I've got my iPod on shuffle because I'm flitting between everything like a moth with ADHD. None of the artists whose music is on my iPod has my attention sufficiently these days.

Now, normal people would say this is because I'm entering society as a more rounded human being, but they'd be wrong. Some would say it's because I have actual real life stuff going on and I'm concentrating on that, but they'd only be half right. The Inner Circle would point out that I probably can't concentrate on Rudolph Valentino and anything else at the same time They'd be a bit right.

Fact is, this obsession thing, for me at least , is pretty cyclical. Dunno about anyone else, but I can't sustain it at Defcon Whatever's The Highest forever. Years, certainly, but not forever, especially if like me, you're dealing with discographies that don't get added to, with artists who cannot create new and interesting things because they're, you know, dead. Even I can only listen to Jailbreak so many times before needing something else. Even I can only endure The End all the way through so many times. I haven't abandoned them, but they've been put aside.

This would be OK, but nothing's replacing them. In the wake of Thin Lizzy, there were The Small Faces and Humble Pie for awhile, about a year ago; there was the George Harrison Renaissance. There was even a time when I was hardly listening to anything but Mario Lanza. Now? Nothing. I listened to nowt but The Planxty Collection at work today, but I'm not sure if they're a band I can fall in love with, much as I like and respect the music.

Where does this leave me? Am I capable of being interesting, or even existing successfully, without someone there in my head to latch onto? Perhaps this ridiculous Valentino thing will be enough, perhaps it won't, given that the man was tone deaf and left only one recording of the Kashmiri Love Song. I need the music, you see, and without it...

I'm self-honest enough to know and accept that I define myself, my character, by what music I like, what music I listen to. I do the same to other people, which is why I find it important to know what they like (theory being that Robbie Williams fans should be treated with caution and Phil Collins ones with near-contempt, of course). I define myself by the music, and if there's no music, what's left?

apolla: (Percy)

I realised something quite important today. I am not currently fixated on any one musician or musical group.

Not a one.

I searched back, but could hardly remember the last time such a thing happened. I've been listening to Julie London a fair bit the last week or so, but while I'd willingly be her when/if I grow up, it's not the same as listening to the same song six times over because you like the chord change at 1:23.

I had this particular realisation while listening to The Doors, who are mightily pissing me off at the moment, and for once it's not the singer's fault. Yes, there's another Doors compilation out, this time with yet more unheard bonus tracks which you can't get singly on iTunes. Well, a handful you can, but a lot of the stuff actual fans would want is 'album only', which is code for the company screwing the fans again. Remind me to show you the piechart of who gets what in the 79p per track (clue: between 7-11p is for the people who actually created the music) one of these days.

So, I'm walking along, cursing the names Manzarek and Krieger (Densmore's banking his cheques I'm sure, but as someone who was not in the Doors For the 21st Century/Riders on the Storm, I'll give him a break)... and I realise that I've got my iPod on shuffle because I'm flitting between everything like a moth with ADHD. None of the artists whose music is on my iPod has my attention sufficiently these days.

Now, normal people would say this is because I'm entering society as a more rounded human being, but they'd be wrong. Some would say it's because I have actual real life stuff going on and I'm concentrating on that, but they'd only be half right. The Inner Circle would point out that I probably can't concentrate on Rudolph Valentino and anything else at the same time They'd be a bit right.

Fact is, this obsession thing, for me at least , is pretty cyclical. Dunno about anyone else, but I can't sustain it at Defcon Whatever's The Highest forever. Years, certainly, but not forever, especially if like me, you're dealing with discographies that don't get added to, with artists who cannot create new and interesting things because they're, you know, dead. Even I can only listen to Jailbreak so many times before needing something else. Even I can only endure The End all the way through so many times. I haven't abandoned them, but they've been put aside.

This would be OK, but nothing's replacing them. In the wake of Thin Lizzy, there were The Small Faces and Humble Pie for awhile, about a year ago; there was the George Harrison Renaissance. There was even a time when I was hardly listening to anything but Mario Lanza. Now? Nothing. I listened to nowt but The Planxty Collection at work today, but I'm not sure if they're a band I can fall in love with, much as I like and respect the music.

Where does this leave me? Am I capable of being interesting, or even existing successfully, without someone there in my head to latch onto? Perhaps this ridiculous Valentino thing will be enough, perhaps it won't, given that the man was tone deaf and left only one recording of the Kashmiri Love Song. I need the music, you see, and without it...

I'm self-honest enough to know and accept that I define myself, my character, by what music I like, what music I listen to. I do the same to other people, which is why I find it important to know what they like (theory being that Robbie Williams fans should be treated with caution and Phil Collins ones with near-contempt, of course). I define myself by the music, and if there's no music, what's left?

apolla: (OTP)
Heather Mills really will do anything, won't she? Even if her accusations (including that Paul beat Linda) are true... wouldn't it have been best to keep it in the courtroom and not everywhere else?

Still, he wouldn't be the only Beatle to have suffered from a giant ego or beaten his wife. He has taken all manner of drugs and quite openly said so. He does drink, sometimes to excess. He does surround himself with people too willing to do exactly what he wants. Still, I find it hard to believe his children would adore him so much if he'd beaten their mother. I don't know. I hope that it's all false- I'd rather believe her a mental fantasist than reconcile myself to another of my heroes being a total cunt. Mind you, he'd be in populous company.

Anyway, I scribbled this a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it with you:



apolla: (OTP)
Heather Mills really will do anything, won't she? Even if her accusations (including that Paul beat Linda) are true... wouldn't it have been best to keep it in the courtroom and not everywhere else?

Still, he wouldn't be the only Beatle to have suffered from a giant ego or beaten his wife. He has taken all manner of drugs and quite openly said so. He does drink, sometimes to excess. He does surround himself with people too willing to do exactly what he wants. Still, I find it hard to believe his children would adore him so much if he'd beaten their mother. I don't know. I hope that it's all false- I'd rather believe her a mental fantasist than reconcile myself to another of my heroes being a total cunt. Mind you, he'd be in populous company.

Anyway, I scribbled this a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it with you:



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: (OTP)
My Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous DVD finally arrived today and proved an even huger let down than one might have expected. SOMEONE needs to pull their finger out of their arse and start collecting the Lizzy stuff together properly and not in a half-arsed wank of a manner like this was. Whatever.

That's not what my post today is about. Today is all about those moments in songs that you love.

You know the ones I mean. It might be when Bowie sucks in a deep breath before declaring "you're life itself" in Wild Is The Wind... or the way Sinatra sounds so sad singing 'one more for the road' and the piano joins in the pity party... that giant opening chord in The Boys Are Back In Town which can shake a building and rattle a soul... or a thousand moments you all have of your own. I can't tell you what those moments are because they're the most personal things we have with music.

These moments make us go back and listen to a song ten times, fifty times... in my case, I've listened to Opium Trail by Thin Lizzy one hundred and twenty eight times on my iPod alone... and that doesn't include the times I've flicked past the fade out... and all for the moment where Philip growls-slurs 'my love' towards the end. Or the moment where the percussion kicks in during Feast of Friends on Jim Morrison/The Doors' record An American Prayer when I find myself tapping along with the two sharp beats no matter what I'm doing when it comes along.

These are the moments people like me live for... and these are the moments you sane people are content to merely enjoy.

The moment in I Will Never Be Untrue by the Doors, where Mr Morrison promises to "never stay out drinking no later than two..." *pauses* "Two thirty."

The moment in Angels and Sailors, on the aforementioned An American Prayer where Jim, in the middle of a poem suddenly says "I love you" for the one and only time in, as far as I can recall, his recorded output. And even manages to sound like he might have meant it once.

The moment in The Air That I Breathe by the Hollies where the harmonised chorus kicks in for the first time and it feels like one is being lifted up onto a fluffy white cloud with a silver living by rosy-cheeked cherubs.

The moment in Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd when the guitar solo finally kicks in after 4.55 minutes.

For that matter, when Stairway to Heaven finally ratches up a gear or eleven. That is why the world loves Stairway.

The moment in Into the Mystic when Van Morrison calls out that "I.... want to rock your gypsy soul". That sustained 'I' is love and lust and poetry and beauty all in one moment. 

The first line of the third verse of Spirit Slips Away by Thin Lizzy: "When the music that makes you blue unfolds its secrets... the mysteries are told to you.." at mention of the music that makes you blue, the entire universe seems to become just a little bit clearer than before.

Then again, there's the wail two thirds of the way into I'm Only Dreaming by The Small Faces where Steve Marriott makes a good song brilliant and proves himself one of the greatest soul singers in the world ever.

The 'born' in A Change Is Gonna Come. Sam Cooke is great, but Otis Redding's version contains the moment.

"THE LAND IS FREE!" as wailingly declared by Philip Lynott in Eire, on the first Lizzy album. Haunting.

The moment in Who Are You by the Who when Roger shrieks "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU" and manages to distill his guitarist's anger into a moment, just before The Who as we knew them were gone forever.

The last 'you belong to me' in You Belong To Me by Dean Martin, where he sets you free with such melancholic love that you'd be willing to stay forever.

"God willing we will meet again, someday" in Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe. If we do, I shall be happy.

The first crooned words of What Is And What Should Never Be by Led Zeppelin. Worth more than a thousand blokes in tight trews.

"The revolution will be live.." by Gil Scott-Heron. The live makes me both hopeful and worried in almost equal measure. Hopeful more than the other.

The heartbreaking murmured "I sure miss you honey, now you're not around, now you're not around this Old Town" in Old Town by Philip Lynott. Yes Philip, I'd noticed.

There are a thousand more of these. Some for musical reasons, some for personal, some for emotional, some for strange and bizarre reasons (like a moment in the Phantom of the Opera during Don Juan, just because His Maskedness says 'here' like Richard Burton')... I'm sure you have your own, and this only includes a few plucked from my iPod.

These are the moments when life makes sense.
apolla: (OTP)
My Thin Lizzy: Live and Dangerous DVD finally arrived today and proved an even huger let down than one might have expected. SOMEONE needs to pull their finger out of their arse and start collecting the Lizzy stuff together properly and not in a half-arsed wank of a manner like this was. Whatever.

That's not what my post today is about. Today is all about those moments in songs that you love.

You know the ones I mean. It might be when Bowie sucks in a deep breath before declaring "you're life itself" in Wild Is The Wind... or the way Sinatra sounds so sad singing 'one more for the road' and the piano joins in the pity party... that giant opening chord in The Boys Are Back In Town which can shake a building and rattle a soul... or a thousand moments you all have of your own. I can't tell you what those moments are because they're the most personal things we have with music.

These moments make us go back and listen to a song ten times, fifty times... in my case, I've listened to Opium Trail by Thin Lizzy one hundred and twenty eight times on my iPod alone... and that doesn't include the times I've flicked past the fade out... and all for the moment where Philip growls-slurs 'my love' towards the end. Or the moment where the percussion kicks in during Feast of Friends on Jim Morrison/The Doors' record An American Prayer when I find myself tapping along with the two sharp beats no matter what I'm doing when it comes along.

These are the moments people like me live for... and these are the moments you sane people are content to merely enjoy.

The moment in I Will Never Be Untrue by the Doors, where Mr Morrison promises to "never stay out drinking no later than two..." *pauses* "Two thirty."

The moment in Angels and Sailors, on the aforementioned An American Prayer where Jim, in the middle of a poem suddenly says "I love you" for the one and only time in, as far as I can recall, his recorded output. And even manages to sound like he might have meant it once.

The moment in The Air That I Breathe by the Hollies where the harmonised chorus kicks in for the first time and it feels like one is being lifted up onto a fluffy white cloud with a silver living by rosy-cheeked cherubs.

The moment in Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd when the guitar solo finally kicks in after 4.55 minutes.

For that matter, when Stairway to Heaven finally ratches up a gear or eleven. That is why the world loves Stairway.

The moment in Into the Mystic when Van Morrison calls out that "I.... want to rock your gypsy soul". That sustained 'I' is love and lust and poetry and beauty all in one moment. 

The first line of the third verse of Spirit Slips Away by Thin Lizzy: "When the music that makes you blue unfolds its secrets... the mysteries are told to you.." at mention of the music that makes you blue, the entire universe seems to become just a little bit clearer than before.

Then again, there's the wail two thirds of the way into I'm Only Dreaming by The Small Faces where Steve Marriott makes a good song brilliant and proves himself one of the greatest soul singers in the world ever.

The 'born' in A Change Is Gonna Come. Sam Cooke is great, but Otis Redding's version contains the moment.

"THE LAND IS FREE!" as wailingly declared by Philip Lynott in Eire, on the first Lizzy album. Haunting.

The moment in Who Are You by the Who when Roger shrieks "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU" and manages to distill his guitarist's anger into a moment, just before The Who as we knew them were gone forever.

The last 'you belong to me' in You Belong To Me by Dean Martin, where he sets you free with such melancholic love that you'd be willing to stay forever.

"God willing we will meet again, someday" in Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe. If we do, I shall be happy.

The first crooned words of What Is And What Should Never Be by Led Zeppelin. Worth more than a thousand blokes in tight trews.

"The revolution will be live.." by Gil Scott-Heron. The live makes me both hopeful and worried in almost equal measure. Hopeful more than the other.

The heartbreaking murmured "I sure miss you honey, now you're not around, now you're not around this Old Town" in Old Town by Philip Lynott. Yes Philip, I'd noticed.

There are a thousand more of these. Some for musical reasons, some for personal, some for emotional, some for strange and bizarre reasons (like a moment in the Phantom of the Opera during Don Juan, just because His Maskedness says 'here' like Richard Burton')... I'm sure you have your own, and this only includes a few plucked from my iPod.

These are the moments when life makes sense.
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?

Profile

apolla: (Default)
apolla

October 2012

S M T W T F S
 12 345 6
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sunday, 24 September 2017 06:51
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios