I'm a person who can get passionate about a whole lot of things. Pre-children, I sometimes let myself drift by my passions. I travelled, learned languages, read books, and above all, I listened to music. Like any teenager, I eventually found the kind of music for myself that was oh so meaningful, oh so different to what other people were listening to, oh so telling about who I thought I was/wished I was/was sure I was. I would go to some lengths to enjoy the music I loved live. And like anyone else, I clung onto that music and go back to the handful of voices of my youth.
It's not that there isn't great new stuff out there. Just the discovery of great new stuff doesn't tickle the passion button anymore. Mild interest has replaced it. It must be middle age, or the constant grind of juggling work, home and family has rubbed off the writing on that button.
Every now and again, the passion for music that is still there, hidden underneath nursery rhymes and Disney soundtracks. Once a year, Celtic Connections comes to town and boy if I had known at 23 (when I first heard of the festival and considered travelling up from England to it) that I would end up living in the city of Celtic Connections, I'd have been one happy bunny.
So last week I went to what must been my umpteenth Luka Bloom gig. I'm not counting, but I definitely treated both my girls to his music live in utero, and the first time I saw him play live was in 1990. And after both pregnancies, on of the first gigs I went to was your man too. Or at least one of the other 4-5 other musicians who provide my soundtrack of choice and happen to grace Glasgow every so often because they go under the ever widening banner of "Celtic".
On such an evening, when the cold gig turkey that early/late evening nursing of a newborn/toddler brings about is finally overcome by a shot of the wonderful pleasure that is live music, it's like a wave of feel goodness that washes all over me and gets to every cell of my body. There are memories of wonderful nights spend with wonderful yet geographically distant friends, the memory of late nights, of my travelling days and all the things seen and learned, the people I met, the friends I made, the lessons I learned, the illuminating conversations I had. All at once, so many beautiful memories, so much feeling alive with it all.
22 years ago, I travelled from Cabinteely, Co Dublin (north west Dublin), to Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin (south east Dublin) and back to listen to his music. All I can say is that I wouldn't have undertaken such a mad journey for many musicians. I was 20 and didn't even know if I would get transport home that night. On Wednesday, with the in-laws looking after the kids, it was a short comfortable hop in comparison.
And then, I went up to the man himself and brought out the understatement of the year, when I simply thanked him for the music.
Happy Birthday to U., who shared many of the gigs with me and unfortunately didn't manage to make it here for last week's. There's always a next time!