Sorry but that was the most boring post ever and had to go. I’m using my blogger’s prerogative to delete and finish on a decent note. Cos I can
With wider eyes and less of a nicotine habit, I sat down to begin my Irish music blog in mid-2007. Just home from Castle Palooza, my camera cards were full, my dictaphone had chopped interviews with Fight Like Apes and The Kinetiks and my head was absolutely bursting with ideas. Almost two years’ photography experience behind me at that point, I’d come to realise the real display of talent and strength lay in the unity of our domestic music scene.
All my life I’ve had a special, romaticised vision of Ireland. Music played a big role at home, good and bad – My mum always told me Sarah by Thin Lizzy was #1 when I was born in June 1981 and for years I’d tell people my dad was a bassist in a rock band. Imagine my horror to discover it was actually Shakin’ Stevens‘ You Drive Me Crazy.
That back-to-front standard has stood me well over the years – I’m not your well-rounded, balanced music fan. For a start, I’m deaf. Morning, noon and night my ears hiss with tinnitus’ incessant drone, blatting out all sound below a certain decibel. Music, in headphones and right fucking up front at gigs, has been a salve, literal escapism.
I also have two young children and really greedy cats and know that I skated all-too-close to another life of working in a Spar deli. Music literally saved my life and as I fell harder and harder for this bright future, I wanted to repay, devote myself to its cause so it could never truly leave.
I just didn’t know very much about it. I’d need a yellow Dummies book to recount all the lessons and tests Irish music industry required – what the hell do the Virgin Prunes have to do with Estel? Why weren’t Delorentos just a boyband? Why don’t we slag off Paul Brady but Bono’s fair game?
Our musical heritage is based above all, on quality. Once so insular and closed in to itself, Irish music was a hedge school, the old teachers passing on the wisdom of bards with bodhran and fiddle to pupils, that constantly evolving drum beat was all our nation had for many years. Centuries of turbulent politics and a traumatised pattern of immigration fed the rebellious spirit of folk songs to an inevitable climax – the arrival of Rock in the 60s. With such a formidable giant in Irish Traditional, intruders daring to challenge its grasp would need a silver arm to break our own high standards.
And yet Rock triumphed. Thirty short years have witnessed the implosion of tradition, Ireland broke free of hundreds of years musical insulation and now in the 21st Century, our creativity has truly begun to flex. Heavy metal and contraception are accepted, electronica and head shops are found in every town. We are part of this new movement of the moment.
For everyone else, it’s just there. For me, it’s become my whole life, I’m still affected by The Immediate‘s break-up, I loved following the careers of Delorentos, Director and another thousand, memories of great nights with Noise Control, travelling the country with the first strains of ASIWYFA in my ears, gentle glory of Halves and Tenaka, discovering the brilliant Science of BATS and Adebisi Shank‘s Math Rock, string-tugging pound. And so, so, so many more – the student gigs and competitions, hanging out with bands so thrilled and glad people actually came to see them that it didn’t even matter if their music wasn’t great – you’d still have a fun night out. The ones who still always mailed and said hello even if I’d never made it to their gigs – namely Matt Lane.
This becomes a hard post to write when I try to explain why I’m leaving.
As a single mum in an incredibly messy house, I’m really tired of working on a daily-publish routine. It’s too distracting. My kids’ teachers are not impressed.
I wanted major changes to my site that were incompatible. Though I cannot thank Hot Press enough for taking a chance on me, I need to digest all I’ve learned. I want to write…really write. I’d like to try and really challenge myself to cover new ground and make the most of what I’ve learned.
And I don’t want to annoy people for no reason and I can feel tensions building. Like Lily Allen, I need learn when to shut the fuck up. I’ll argue to death for something I believe in…so I’m gonna get my facts straight.
I’ve just been myself though, loving the music, loving the people and the chance to actually involve myself in some beneficial way of paying back all the joy Irish music has brought to my life. All the times I’ve felt a thrill, a drop of sweat on my lens, a smile, a jiffy envelope and wham-bar EP. The brilliant album launches, the crazy parties, the hugs, the spats, the clinking beer bottles. The nights of good sleep because Butterfly Explosion or The Jimmy Cake make far sweeter lullabies than infinite ringing.
Thanks to all the bands. Thanks to everyone at Hot Press. Thanks to bloggers, to Aoife Indie Hour Nialler9 and Mp3hugger, cheers for great reads from Nick Thinks, Ragged Words and Guess List, Musical Rooms, Thrill Pier and Egoeccentric, Adam Lacey and Drop-D, Asleep On The Compost Heap, deadly photographers Toni Ireton, Roisin Jones, Ruth Medjber, Loreana, Donal and CasaCourtney, and thanks also to Raptureponies, Darragh Doyle, 2UIBestow, Sweet Oblivion and Tenacious Tim.
Apologies to Garageland, Balcony TV, Analogue and On The Record for being a pain in the blogohole. You’re still gayers though.
Big groupie love,