Fucking Hell, Fuck It. Rock and Roll Part 228.

Ages ago, maybe early 2007 maybe earlier, I bought a song on iTunes called ‘Born on the Wrong Side of Time’. I liked it but hardly listened to it unless it came up on shuffle. You might say I appreciated the sentiments.

I’d heard of the performer along the long road they call the rock historical world; had heard his name get checked in a live version of a Thin Lizzy song called ‘Sugar Blues’.

If you’ve been hanging out with me long enough, you can see where this is going. You might be shaking your head sadly because you know where it’s going, where it will go and what’ll happen to me in the meantime.

I was in Cork this summer. It was a cold, wet day that one expects from Mother Ireland. I was wandering, had wandered and would continue to wander through the Huguenot Quarter and so forth. I was soaking wet, cold, getting towards tired and hungry, was listening to my iPod. I’d probably just come back from the main city museum. My feet ached, I know that much. I was still mourning Ronnie Drew, so I was listening to the Dubliners almost incessantly. I was keeping Thin Lizzy for when I was in Dublin for Philip’s birthday, like.

As I turned the corner, I think to go to Tesco’s for some food and I saw that the square I was in is called Rory Gallagher Place. For some reason, cold, wet, hungry and weary though I was, I turned in the opposite direction to go to HMV. There I marched straight to the G section and within about two minutes (less if I hadn’t stopped to admire the massive Ronnie Drew ‘inspirations’ poster they had. It’s Nora by Sean O’Casey if you care) I walked out having purchased The Essential Rory Gallagher. I couldn’t play it of course, until I got home. It went straight on the iPod. I figured if I was going to buy a Rory Gallagher CD anywhere, it should be in Cork.

Since August, I’ve been fighting a pointless and vain battle against what has come. On and off, and more on, I’ve been listening to my Rory playlist. Certain songs, particularly, at first. ‘Moonchild’ and the first song of his I truly loved, ‘Barley and Grape Rag’. If I have a Christmas gig to perform at this year, I’ll be singing that. Incidentally, it turns out that my own loved Dubliners have covered the song although I can’t find it online.

I’ve been joking that that the last thing I need is another dead Irish musician to care about since then. Problem is, I already do. I realised when I started watching Rory videos on YouTube earlier: I already care. It’s already fucking happened.

He was amazing. I mean honestly, I don’t know why he’s not mentioned more in the annals of Great Rock Guitarists (not even on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 best, although they’re fucking idiots generally). He could play pretty much everything and anything, although it seems his heart belonged to the blues. His voice isn’t anything special but it’s unmistakably his. There are songs on that Essential that have moved me more than anything since… since Philip’s little band tore my heart of my chest and refused to give it back when I ask. I must have looked and sounded a sight when I walked home last night, screaming along to ‘I Could’ve Had Religion’ as I walked through Holborn. I didn’t care.

Not add Rory to The List? I’d have more luck trying to hold back the tide in the Severn Estuary. Not take Rory to heart? That battle was lost when I bought that CD. It was probably lost back when I heard Philip yell "the Rory Gallagher Blues!" during Sugar Blues live.

The music of Rory Gallagher makes me feel alive. That’s the thing. I knew it had happened about two hours ago when I started checking out the Rory vids on YouTube and I got that feeling… that terrible, too-familiar feeling. The pull, the grip, whatever it is… that quiet melancholy of "Bloody hell, he was wonderful and he’s gone and I’m too late." It’s the feeling that I’d cry for the loss if I wasn’t too busy smiling at the brilliance. Like when the only thing that stopped me feeling sad that George was dead back in 2001 was George himself.

You know, it’s the same thing I had in 1997 for John Lennon and the Chosen Ones since. Just this Friday I told someone that it had to stop, this ridiculous clinging to people who don’t and never have and never would have given a damn about me… the constant looking to them for whatever it is… the incessant reaching for a past that I can never, ever reach. A mere five days later it would appear that I’ve caved to another.

It was bound to happen: only last week I started reading a book about Bill Hicks to discover that he listened to Rory’s album Deuce so often that his copy of it wore out. It can’t be too bad to join a club Bill was signed up to… can it?

I don’t think I have the energy or the strength to go through this again. I cannot become obssessed again, I cannot become consumed. Please. If you see me buying books about Rory, kick me in the shins. I’ll probably buy a couple of the records at HMV, but please don’t let me fall down the hole again.

Isn’t it funny that I say that as if I have a choice? I didn’t before, why should now be any different. I don’t learn. I don’t change. I’ll fall down the hole, I’ll drink when the label says so and the Walrus and the Carpenter will have me, just like always.

Fuck.

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