Occasionally in life you may find yourself in conversation with a person who leaves you feeling so utterly at peace with yourself that you cannot but help relax, intrigued with what they have to say, and finding that despite your phone doing its upmost to scupper the connection made between two human beings, that the interviewee is calm, collected and kind enough to understand that these things happen, that at the end of the day the Cavalier approach is quite often the best policy to adopt.
It is one of the defining moments in recent Irish history, the point arguably when the relationship, which was always strained at the very best, broke, snapped and the call of truth, of freedom from a foreign power, became enshrined in the hearts of those who sought to fight the British Government, and those who saw history as being there to hold with both hands and create a home that could not be breached by the powers or influence of Westminster.
Living legend, in a world that seems to be abundant in such a phrase, an expression of the way we perhaps look at celebrity in this modern age and where at times the word itself becomes obscured by overuse and sometime denigration, to be able to talk to a man who was, and remains, a pivotal figure in British Pop history, is to find that much vaunted idiom a true, humbling and heartening experience.
The Blues, for the longest time, seemed to shrink back in itself, a natural reaction perhaps to being seen as a bloated, out of touch, left behind behemoth that many could not face being played in their company. The fear arguably that it had somehow become a pastiche of itself, too drawn out and like Jazz, an entity of music that wasn’t in keeping with the modern way of the world, the bright future that many believed involved leaving such genres of music behind.
The story is age old, the recognition of the writer and the artist not always forthcoming, not always appreciated by the wider world, bypassed it seems by those to whom image is the powerful narcotic, the drug of youth, of representing their ideal on the world. It is a shame, a collapse of hope perhaps that we do not laud the genius in those who plug away at night, forsaking even the life or the other pursuits they wish to engage in as they dig deep into their own memories, their loves and reminisces, in which a sense of order is hunted, dedication and discipline shadowed and overcome; to those we must seek out their charm and set the record straight on their enigma and the mystery they set out for us to follow.
There is no mistaking that the Liverpool Fringe has caught the attention of the public and dramatists alike; it may have some way to go to rival the Edinburgh Fringe, but all in good time, for now it has taken on a life that is representative of the city that bears its name. It is also a festival of drama that sees Brian Coyle and Emma Bird once more collaborate on a play, with Ms. Bird directing and Mr. Coyle having written what should be regarded as a heavy hitting comedy and satirical play, The King of the World.
Pantomime is special, it is social glue that binds generations and allows children their first journeys into appreciating theatre. It is also almost uniquely British, undeniably good fun and something that captures the inner child in us all. We may take our children and grandchildren along in the hope they will entertained, educated and thrilled by the music, the jokes and the magic that comes with a trip to see that Fairy Godmothers do exist, in which the hero and heroine of the story live happily ever after and the joy of the Pantomime Dame lead the audience through the innuendo, however it is as much for the adult in the group as it is the child.
History recalls those who leave joy in the hearts of others with fondness, a certain measure of tipped hat in acknowledgement of the good times provided and the sense of serenity they leave, almost freely, in their wake. History used to view such things perhaps as being unimportant, of being secondary to the writing of events, of generals and kings, of warfare and queens, politicians and plagues; thankfully since the 1950s it has also in abundance properly recorded the thoughts of artists, of musicians, of the drama witnessed from those whose words speak volumes, whose music stirs the passions we wish to see raised.
In all the ways we choose to cope with a particular problem, the choosing of a side, the letting go of the past, the trouble with our own involvement in a situation that go out of hand, none perhaps are constructive or as cathartic as realising that you have to go through the darkness to find the light, that the Bitter Before the Sweet is the only way to suffer if you want to let go of the anger, the possible rage and the undoubted regret.
A town in its own right, yet for some inexplicable reason, the people of Bootle will invariably say that they are from Liverpool when asked, not out of shame, or out misplaced thought, but perhaps out of association; after all for most of the younger townsfolk, Liverpool is a place to naturally gravitate too, it is where, after all, the centre of the Universe actually is, where noted psychoanalyst Carl Jung declared to be “The Pool of Life.”