Monday 15 September 2008

Who's gonna plug their ears, when you scream

About 5 years ago, the CPF and I were walking down Wexford Street in Dublin.

We have just been to see The Walls perform in what was then the Mean Fiddler. It had been a tremendous gig - their usual set list had been liberally sprinkled with a couple of songs from their days as The Stunning, a cracking cover of Tom Waits' "Going Out West" and, in closing, they aired a new song called 'Drowning Pool'* - a roof-lifting, vitriolic diatribe directed at some of the shady characters who operate in the music industry.

As we walked, still in a sort of post-gig euphoria, we chatted enthusiastically about the gig, music in general, manufactured pop (which we both despise) and the numerous acts who have graduated from the 'Louis Walsh School of Shite' TM (the band had sarcastically dedicated Drowning Pool to Louis).

As the CPF was making a point about how unfair it was that honest, hard working bands have to slog it out on the circuit for years while saccharin sweet, candy floss acts go straight to the top of the charts, a huge Bentley stopped in traffic on Aungier St. caught my attention. "Jayziz", I thought "that looks like Louis Walsh".

"Honey? Is that Louis Walsh over there"

As she looked, Mr. Walsh noticed us looking in his direction and waved a wave that said (to me) "Yes, I am pop svengali Louis Walsh" and smiled a smile that said (again, to me) "Feel free to prostrate yourself before my majesty".

"Louis?" I shouted.

He buzzed his window, probably hand-made by Indonesian orphans, down about 4 inches.


And he just grinned. He grinned a grin that said he didn't care what I thought. A smug wealthy grin which made it abundantly clear that money, and not the artistic merit of the acts in his stable was all he cared about. Then the lights went green and he moved off.

"You're a bollox Louise" a disgusted CPF chastised. "You are more intelligent than that. You are more articulate than that. You have more class than that and you were certainly raised better than that".

Suitably humbled, I turned to her....

"But Honey, I didn't have time to explain in depth why I think he is single handedly killing the Irish music industry. The lights were likely to turn green at any second, I couldn't exactly walk over and start a lengthy discussion during which I could ask him give it a rest with the auld boy bands. I had a limited window of opportunity to have my say and I needed to go for something that summed him and his enterprise up in as little time time as possible".

The CPF still likes to remind me about this from time to time and, while I will freely admit it wasn't my finest moment (for that was obviously letting Ronan Keating have it in Heathrow airport) it was a tactical decision made in the heat of the moment and I stand by it.

* Mail if you would like a copy. Of course, it will be distributed on a trust basis - I assume you will pay the appropriate loyalties to the appropriate parties"

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