This one time
I met a friend of
a friend – they were
all ‘she’s great, she’s
so into music’
or something like that.
and so at some point
we’re all at this restaurant
and I can’t remember the
story exactly – but it was
about people that are good
at things but are total
arseholes, and the whole
idea that there is a compromise,
often – but not always – to truly
excel, to be the very best, the greatest,
there are other parts that are missing, or
run neglected. Stands to reason, right?
I mean if you’re spending 10 hours a day
on something – you’re probably not
answering every call or being in touch
with other people in your life, and maybe
the dishes stay in the sink a little too long
or it’s super easy to have too many drinks
because it’s part of the buzz…and then that
starts to excuse other behaviours at least
in the mind of the one doing all the work in one
area of their life and neglecting human relationships
and forgetting basic politeness…
that was the gist of the conversation.
And we were all contributing.
And then I said my thing that I have said
a few times, about Eddie Van Halen. How, by
so many accounts, he was a bit of a jerk. Just
focused on his booze and ciggies and of course
I said, at some point, “You know, greatest
guitarist in the world – at that time…”
(and I thought the ‘at that time’ qualifier was
the key – and it saved me from going into
my other thing about how he invented a whole
new lexicon for the guitar…)
But this friend-of-a-friend cut me off right
there. She said, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
And I knew I was being mocked, and told off
right-proper, because she said it in an Irish accent.
I mean, yeah, of course, she said everything in an
Irish accent. But this hurt. It really stung.
“Well, at that time”, I started – and I could feel the
‘whole-new-lexicon’ speech rising up
with the blood in my throat.
But nah. She was having none of this.
“What about Clapton, or Page, or Beck”, she
spat. With full anger too. Like I
was this dumb-cunt that had never heard of them,
some arsehole that only listened to Van Halen.
I got up. And left.
And I’m fucking proud that I did.
Left the food, and the conversation.
Went home and opened a bottle
of scotch, played Diver Down
and Fair Warning, self-titled and 1984,
all in a row – as if to illustrate my
point. Not that, by then, I fully
what it was.