It would have been my father’s 77th birthday today. He is gone almost 10 years now. I wrote this piece after BB King passed away and it is as much about my dad as it is about him.
When I was a kid we listened to a lot of music in my house. My dad had a vast record collection and introduced me to countless great artists from the world of jazz and blues. BB King was one of those. I can still picture the yellow gatefold double vinyl with BB King on the cover, caught in the spotlight, sweat on his brow, wearing a full suit, eyes closed in enchantment as he played Lucille, his beloved guitar. I still remember the first time the needle hit the groove on that record. Energy. Emotion. Everything.
“Every day I have the blues”
As the years went by my music tastes broadened, narrowed and changed. I remember the strange joy of hearing BB King appear on an album by my beloved U2. Two favourite worlds colliding in real harmony. My friends shrugging their shoulders at it. Me knowing it was the height of cool.
“As the music played I saw my life turn around
That was the day before love came to town”
But the reason BB King always sits in my heart is because of what his music meant to my dad. Whenever we had a big gathering or party at our home, you knew how good it was going to be based on the records he picked out to play. For the really special, really rare out-of-this-world parties, he would put on BB King to close the party. That was the sign that everything was really cooking and there was only one way to close out the night. No one follows BB King. No one.
“Oh I’m free, free, free now
I’m free from your spell
And now that it’s all over
All I can do is wish you well”
This online journal of creative musings is a year old. Did I hit the creative bullseye with it? Maybe not. Did it give me a place to share my ideas and inspirations? Definitely. A creative failure is a successful creation, or somesuch. I’m going to keep going with it. Will you come along with me?
It’s ok to fail. Bob Dylan said so.
The art of music video making is alive and well in Ireland. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a selection of some exceptional videos to accompany some remarkable songs by Irish artists. Hit play and be spirited away by their brilliance.
It’s my birthday today. Here is a haiku.
sometimes take a long time
to reach the shore
Back in 2014, myself, Erin Fornoff, Colm Keegan, Linda Devlin, Phil Lynch and Stephen James Smith founded and ran Ireland’s first ever (and only) spoken word festival, and it ran for three glorious years. It was a wild, wonderful rollercoaster of a journey that is worthy of a much longer post. But for now , marvel at some of these beautiful posters designed by Lorenzo Tonti.
A pumpkin that I carved with my friends to look like Klaus Kinski as Nosferatu.
Rutger Hauer is a cool dude and, as an actor, is probably most well known for his role as the replicant Batty in the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner. I was recently reading an old interview he gave to the AV Club (the wonderful pop-culture and media magazine operated by The Onion) and spoke about some of his iconic roles. In the course of the conversation he discussed his most famous cinematic performance as the android Batty and how he was seeking to imbue him with the essence of being human. As a poetry fan, I was particularly taken with Ridley Scott’s response to that very question.
“One of the first things Ridley [Scott] said when we finally started to talk about what he was looking for from me as an actor, he said, “I want everything and more, because that’s what makes a human.” So the first thing he says is poetry—that’s not strange, because it’s sort of in the character. He has a few moments where he recites poetry, and I love the fact that he has no clue what it means, but it comes out of him. So I said, “Can I do a sense of poetry, and maybe a sense of beauty, and can I have a soul, or sense of humor, or be a seven-year-old?” [Read the entire interview with the Dutch master here]
And no finer example of that poetry can be found in Rutger Hauer’s lyrical final scene in Blade Runner. It really does stand out as the most human and poetic moment in the film. All the more remarkable when the legendary line “…tears in rain…” was apparently improvised by Rutger Hauer himself on set. So, we tip our hat to you Mr. Hauer. A fine, poetic human/replicant. Take a moment and marvel again at his subtle performance and the dazzling imagery of the words. “I’ve seen things…”
I’m fascinated by creativity (hence this website) and I admire so many forms of creativity. In a world increasingly dominated by automation and technological solutions, creativity is quickly becoming the most precious asset any employer or industry can have. But what is creativity? It’s not that easy to define, yet we all know creative people when we see them. We all know when we have sparks of creativity and ingenuity, but you’d be hard pushed to define it, or how to access that place in your brain easily.
I think there is a lot of bullshit spoken about creativity, and in different ways, almost everyone has some semblance of creative thoughts – be they artistic impulses, inventive problem solving, flair for cooking or handicrafts.
To me, creativity is ultimately about making something new.
Asking a question and finding an interesting path to the answer. Sometimes that question is directly posed and other times it appears to you (but not necessarily to others) and only you can see an inventive way to respond to the prompt.
All art is a response to something. The world around you. The challenges or restrictions placed in your way (creativity loves constraint). Or indeed the need to put an idea or piece of art out into the universe to bring a creative balance to the world you perceive & receive.
Creativity is a key.