Friday, October 12, 2012

Well said that man! (Jon Gomm)

Lots of people now know who Jon Gomm is these days.  If you don’t know he’s the ace Leeds based guitar player who plays his guitar like it’s about 4 different instruments and does it superbly well.  Anyway…I just wanted to say a positive word about summat he said on Facebook.  In short he remarked that he found playing his songs like he does really difficult.  I think this is a really good thing to say.  As I suspect most people will agree, there are a lot of people around he seem to think that fame and celebrity come as a result of being just kind of, you know, cool.  The whole being famous for nothing very much thing.  Apologies to Cheryl Cole, but how many people will be playing her records in 20 years time?  There’ll be freely available from your local charity shop if they aren’t already.  And she was at least in a band of sorts.  But on the other side of this are those that hail the apparently innate and easy genius of people who are superbly good at what they do.  A lot of them (the top business people spring to mind) may just be lucky or determined or ruthless or whatever.  But you can’t fake brilliant guitar playing – so hailing is good?  Well, sort of… 

The point I’m groping towards here is that it’s a lot of work to be that good.  I see Jon Gomm and there are bits of his playing where part of me thinks ‘I could do that’ (and some bits where I think ‘I could never do that’ by the way!).  But what I mean is that if I put in a few hours a day I could improve my guitar playing and do some of the things that he does.  But that would be literally hours a day.  For years.  If you can do that sort of stuff it must be tempting to soak up the plaudits (can you soak up plaudits?) and pretend that you’re just some kind of genius and that it’s all pretty easy when you’re gifted.  So good on ‘im to tell people that he finds playing his own songs in the way he does difficult. 

Incidentally I think it’s a shame that the world of clever guitar playing and songwriting are quite separate.  I feel a bit uneasy about those gigs in music shops (or wherever) which are mini-festivals of brilliant guitar playing.  I don’t know whether people go to be inspired in their own guitar playing - to try harder and reach further - or whether it’s just ‘come and look at the clever people who you’ll never be able to complete with’.  I hope it’s the former. 

But that’s another subject… 

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