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Friday, December 31, 2010

The changing of the year

I'm sitting in my mother's house, it's just past 9pm on the last night of the year. I'm tired because I had a late night last night and I'm sitting here watching the worst television, drinking a bottle of wine and writing this blog because, frankly, I'm bored.

What is it about New Year's Eve that has turned it into an endurance event? I know it's not the world, it's me.

I sense changes afoot for 2011 but no resolutions.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No Cowell Bitch, Me

While the nation decided, without any sense of irony (see below), which forgettable Cowell cash cow to promote over the other, I was ramping up some enthusiasm for playing a few songs myself. Not to millions of slavering, television-fixated fuckwits, but to a bar full of real people. Yes, here is the news - music is alive and well, despite the best efforts of The High-Trousered One. And let's not have any post-X Factor whines of 'I only watched ironically' - the viewers and voters are complicit in the misery now to be unleashed on our unprotected ears. Mercifully it'll all be over by Xmas + 10. Oh, and here's a prediction. X-Factor Matt's second album, around this time next year, will be a forgettable mish mash of self-penned ditties, written from the sanctuary of rehab.

No, what my little foray into open mic territory has proved is that you could throw a net over any group of 50 people and get one X Factor final-quality performer. This means that all of this bullshit is just a big musical lottery show. Imagine going through all that only to find the public like you less than a cuddly painter and decorator. The 'it could be you' strapline is more appropriate for X Factor than it is for the Lotto.

You might think that as a middle-aged man still playing at playing, this might be sour grapes, a lament for my never-started music career. I have always been around much better musicians than myself. My own brother, for one - a prodigious talent who, it would appear, can play anything with a keyboard or strings and compose orchestral works or play concert grade piano. He teaches music. He IS music. That has cast a long shadow over my own noodlings which I have never really escaped. But he's just one. I have a lot of friends who are simply excellent musos. Some play, some don't. As for myself, I have no illusions. I'm a mid-table, second division bass player and a Vauxhall Conference (or whatever the lower divisions are called now) guitarist. I know it, my friends know it. I don't let it hold me back.

Tonight, however, I finally felt validated. I got to play with 'Doc' Doherty of the mighty Xdreamysts. That's proper NI New Wave royalty right there. I have his records, and I told him so. And tonight he joined us, on a stage, to jam some songs to real people.

So Mr Cowell - while you're selling your anodyne, vanilla-flavoured pap as some kind of significant cultural moment, I have been down with the resistance. We'll be back.