Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Musing on tragedy

WE have an inclination to muse and dwell upon tragedy, even assocating ourselves with the Facebook pages and liking the campaigns they spawn: for there is nothing more poignant than not being able to express how a distant, remote figure has been able to touch us, lift us, or even just make us smile with what they did in the public eye.

Of course there is the faux fawning associated by Royal wrecks and celebrity no-marks when they shake off the mortal coil. But when a muscian - and I mean a true musician of any genre - passes it sparks off a reflection.

Too often this glosses over the idiosyncracies and flaws of that musician, not reflecting that it is those same idiosyncracies and flaws that were part of the genius.

That is partly why I have been a little reluctant to post about Gary Moore's recent tragic death.

I had the privilege to see Mr Moore play to a packed Ulster Hall in the 80s, at a gig during which he was joined for the encore by one Mr Phil Lynott.

It was during Mr Moore's metal phase. Whatever inspired Mr Moore to beef up his sound, gather journeymen hard rockers like Bob Daisley around him and go all metal, it was an electric evening, A sign that I am getting old is that I can remember most of the set, but not the surname of fellow Boy's Model pupil Jeff with whom we went into town to get autographs (whatever happened to my old biker jacket that had all the autographs on the lining...) from the band.

Asides from Moore's output in the 80s and his Lizzy contribution - Black Rose being a true highlight for both Lizzy and Moore - I will not profess to be one of his 'biggest fans'. If as many on various posts and tweets were his greatest fans then all his albums would have sold millions each and every year.

But that is a petty thought, and one that deserves noting but nothing else.

Mr Moore was a true guitarist guitarist. I never really 'got' the Colliseum II jazz-rock, and found the blues stuff had amazing playing but not totally to my tastes, but no-one could, or should ever deny that Mr Moore was a great among axe-slingers of any generation. This was a man, who as a 16-year-old was playing with the proto-Lizzzy Skid Row, and churned out an amazing variety of styles throughout his career with a deceptively easy virtuousity.

And he was 'ours'. It seems a little bit silly to 'claim' a man as a city's own, but as journalist Gary Grattan put it on Facebook, for Northern Ireland's guitarists "he was our George Best".

Yes, he was indeed. That may seem over-egging the pudding to those that cannot see past the latest Murdoch output of celebs and footie hype, but Gary Moore touched people through his talent. I may not have been a total devotee, but I know that the city should honour, revere and mark his contribution.

The campaign to have a statue erected in his honour in the city centre deserves to be successful.

Whether the good burghers of City Hall will see that is the case is dubious, but at least we should commend the fact that such staid men and women have at least opened a book of condolences in City Hall.

Mr Moore, thank you for your music, thank you for one electric, unforgettable night at the Ulster Hall, and thank you for sharing your Belfast born talent with the world. My sincerest condolences to your family and friends.


PS - to the reporter who wrote that piece in The Sun about Mr Moore having died after a binge, only to be proved wrong within hours when the post-mortem showed Mr Moore died of natural causes: I suspect you won't have the guts to recant your vile article, nor will your employers print a detailed retraction or apologise to Mr Moore's family. Just like Hillsborough never let the truth interfere with lower than gutter reporting! It sullies the name of every proper, honest journalist that you and your colleagues breathe the same air.

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