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Sunday, February 01, 2009 

My Guitar Hero


My Guitar Hero, originally uploaded by Kenny Maths.

"On Thursday Morning, John Martyn died.

I've already said much of what I wanted to on my previous posting:

Go Down Easy (John Martyn 1948-2009 R.I.P.)

I spent parts of last night listening to his music, and getting more than a little misty-eyed.

In my experience, the world is divided into two types of people, those who had never heard of John Martyn, and those who absolutely loved him and his music.

There are only two musicians who I've ever seen "cold", and come away from that first concert as a total fan. John Martyn was the first, and Amanda Palmer was the second.

A couple of nights ago, I was asked if Amanda could make use of my concert shots of her. I said "Yes" and also mentioned her membership of this elite group of two.

Less than 12 hours after typing those words, I learned John Martyn was dead.

Damn.

For some years, each time I've gone to see John, I've been prepared that it might be for the last time.

On November 17th in Glasgow, that day came.

Thanks to John Hillarby, I was able to photograph the entire show from the edge of the stage. I was really keen to make that happen this time, as I had a sense of the ticking clock.

The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow is a lovely venue...but awkward for photography, in that the stage is very low. You have to squat or kneel, to avoid getting in the way of the audience.

It wasn't exactly comfortable, but I wouldn't have been anywhere else. I loved every minute of the music...and of being able to photograph one of my heroes. He was recreating one of my favourite albums...and I was close enough that I could see a tear or two rolling down his cheeks as he sang songs written almost thirty years ago about the breakup of his first marriage.

Those are the kind of powerful songs he wrote...and that's the kind of performer he was.

Head and heart.

There's a line from "It's a Wonderful Life" which sums up how I'm feeling right now:

Clarence: "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

Aye...that he does."

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