Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 21/06/09

  • Read: 3731 Times

Looking For Eric. Flawed genius. Flawed expression. Every Genius is flawed. And all genius is flawed. By its very nature, the wayward mind, the extraordinary imagination of the greatest artists, entrepreneurs, inventors and sportsmen, is flawed. It cannot be anything else: not ordinary; never stable, and impossibly exasperating. Read Eliot and take your time. Research the allegories and the allusions to obscure, arcane Greek literature and myth. Cantona, Zidane, Best and Maradonna. Michelangelo, Picasso, Stubbs and Turner; Darwin, Einstein, Gates and Hawking; Fosse, Prince, Rogers and Hart; Bernstein, Epstein, Faraday and Wilde; Lawrence, Shakespeare, Steinbeck and Hemingway. Think Hemingway’s rare gift for story-telling in the narrative. Think the shortest short story to grace literature’s annals: For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn. Charlie Scribner prize winner. Saw this quoted recently in a broadsheet. Misquoted, actually. After each pair of words, Hemingway carefully, meticulously, pedantically, placed a point. Not a comma, as in the paper’s poor quote. But a full stop. Each pair represents a third of the story. It had, according to Scribner’s rules, to have a beginning, a middle and an end. So points it was. Full stops. Hemingway was a Genius. But he blew his head off once he realised he’d never find the ultimate answer. Flawed, then. Not superman, merely a Genius. Such a gift must be a burden.

Joined Robbie Gladwell for an Age Concern charity fund-raiser at a village church in north Essex. Sang a half-hour set with Adam Houghton on drums and Lincoln Anderson on bass, with Robbie on guitar. Before I played, two sisters played and sang. Inspirational. Doesn’t happen very often. Special. Unique. You won’t read that word in these pages very often. But they were. The younger (maybe 18, 19?) played open D-tune guitar like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Thunderous, passionate; beautiful and pastoral. Her sister then sang with poise and beauty, poetry in voice filling the tiny 11th century church and making it seem like a cathedral. They had told me earlier in the evening that they had seen me in concert, when young, and I had picked them out with the line “couldn’t mum and dad afford a babysitter?” Dad was there then and was there with his beautiful and talented daughters on Saturday. Small world. Looking for genius. Never know what’ll grab you if you keep looking, exploring, hoping. Britain’s got talent; it’s just that the real talent ain’t on the tv. But it’s there, waiting to be discovered. The sisters can join us when next we tour the UK, if they fancy. I will investigate tomorrow and get the right spelling of their names before I tell more. Sounded like latte, as in frothy coffee. But it must be some different spelling. They are enigmatic. Not frothy.


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