I do wonder about how much genuine talent never sees the light of day, or even when it does, it’s a mere chink of light and not a golden dawn?
The world appears to be full of unsigned singers and musicians, unpublished authors and poets, ‘resting’ actors, painters with their studios packed with unsold art. So much talent.
I would not pretend to include my own efforts at writing as being in the upper echelons of great undiscovered talent but as I develop ideas for my first book, I am under no illusions as to how difficult it is going to be to even get my money back from the project, never mind make anything.
Some of my favourite talents have been unsigned, unpublished or maybe slightly published. Why?
In the 1980s, I followed a band round Bristol who were called Misdemeanor. They played mainly pubs and small clubs, but there was a time when they shared management with U2 and it seemed they were on the brink of a breakthrough. I can still remember their songs today and, thanks are due to Mike Darby at Sugar Shack Records who found and remixed some of the best tunes before putting them on iTunes. If I was to describe their music, it would be a heady mixture of Bruce Springsteen, REM and the better bits of U2 from their early days. It was nearly criminal that they didn’t make it. The lead singer and writer Kevin McFadden, who was talented beyond words lives, I believe, in America. I don’t think he has made any music for years and if he has, he never put it in the public arena.
Geoff Davis, the Professor of Bristolian is someone I have known for many years. Geoff is a highly talented ball juggler but more importantly, a great musician, poet and writer. I still have his mildly satirical ‘How at the end of the day Avon County won the cup’ somewhere in the house. Geoff now lives in Sardinia where I understand he still writes and performs and I have urged him, with one final throw of the dice, to publish ‘The Professor of Bristolian’ book before some other bugger nicks the idea. Make sure I get my 10%!
Chris Brown, who I met up with last night for a few pints, has written three books, two specifically about football, the legendary ‘Bovver’ – an utterly essential read for any football fan – with its follow up ‘Booted and Suited’. And more recently, Chris dipped his feet into the world of fiction with his explosive and very clever first novel ‘Guilty Tiger’ which continues to shift large numbers of copies.
And these are just examples of the talent that is out there, some of which is on our bookshelves, some of which isn’t but should be.
I realise that you don’t get writers and painters on the X Factor or on any of the other wannabe ‘reality’ or talent shows on television but it bugs me that many of those who win and gain record contracts have not served an apprenticeship or even played a live show or written a tune. Or have any real talent. We live in a world where people want to become famous for being famous and often talent doesn’t out.
If you see Kevin McFadden, tell him to make more music. If you see anything anywhere from the Professor of Bristolian, then tell him to publish and quick: it could make his retirement even more comfortable than it already is.
And Chris Brown’s books? Just buy them. You don’t want any ‘Bovver’, do you?