If you have ever played hide and seek with a two year-old, you’ll know that they don’t really want to stay hidden. The fun in the game is all about the finding, and hence they may giggle, cough or more blatantly give the game away just so you will find them. It’s not just toddlers who behave like this however – adult artists, authors, musicians, entrepreneurs are the same. Although the game is sometimes about not revealing what we have been up to, deep down we don’t really want what we create to stay hidden. And neither does the rest of the world.
Doing is the best way to learn. You’ll find out very quickly what your strengths and weaknesses are. And it’s the only way to get anything done. But you’ll keep doing the same things unless you have time for some thinking around the doing. Thinking is crucial in order that you spend your doing time doing the right things, things that can help you grow and learn. Too much thinking stymies progress however. It can be the enemy of doing. It’s sometimes easier to sit on your own and think rather than endure the public scrutiny that doing can bring. The trick is to have enough time for each, to know which stage you are meant to be in at any one time, and to give it your all and carry each particular stage out as efficiently as possible while you are there.
One of my favourite stages of preparing for a theme night is the current stage – listening through the catalogue of possible songs, figuring out which songs might suit which singer, the songs on which I want to put a new twist, and hearing back from singers as to what songs they would like to do themselves. Stevie Wonder has so many great songs. Wonderful chords, rhythms and harmonies to get stuck into. Loads of songs I have never heard before. Here’s one I was looking at this morning. It’s an accompaniment part rather than the melody but check out how gorgeous the chords are. Would be surprised if many of you knew it – it’s a real hidden gem…it’s on Spotify here.
Diego Maradona was the greatest footballer of his era. Some would argue the best of all time. His national team – Argentina – have won two World Cups in their history. Firstly in 1978 – in Argentina (when Maradona was 17 and thought of as too young by the coach), and then in 1986 – in Mexico – when an unfancied team led by Maradona at his peak confounded expectations to lift the trophy. One year later – in 1987 – Maradona also led the Italian club Napoli to their first ever Italian title. Another huge achievement but when he was interviewed immediately after the final game of the season, in a moment of enormous personal triumph and vindication – interestingly he spoke not of his joy at winning the title, not of how it compared to winning the World Cup one year previously, but of his hurt and anger at being left out of the 1978 squad. Why? Because
Slightly off-topic today, but I had an interesting lunch-hour and thought it was worth writing about. Today I am in Dublin, a city in which I lived for a while over a decade ago. Whatever about then, nowadays I no longer know many people living here, and certainly don’t expect to bump into people I know like I would at home in Sligo. Coming off the train earlier I stopped for lunch, and surprisingly within ten minutes had three different interactions, all with people I had met once before. 1 – I spotted a well-known broadcaster walking past the window. It’s not that long since I met him and I instinctively waved and smiled at him when he looked in the window. He gave me a sheepish wave back, one which said to me that he knew I knew who he was but he wasn’t quite sure who I was. 2 – A lady sat down at the table next
Denniz Pop (real name Dag Krister (Dagge) Volle) – was a Swedish DJ, producer and songwriter who in the 1990s produced music for some of the biggest stars in the world and laid the foundation for a golden age of music production and songwriting in Sweden. He was responsible for not only giving the more celebrated Max Martin his first job, but also naming him. Denniz’s first breakthrough was with the Swedish band Ace of Base. He produced their two biggest hits – ‘All That She Wants‘ and ‘The Sign‘ – but it could have all been so different. Ulf Ekberg and Jonas Berggren were two of the four members of Ace of Base. They heard some of Denniz’s work, and loved his sound. They approached him and gave him a demo tape of the song that eventually became All That She Wants, but was then called Mr. Ace. Denniz put it in the cassette deck of his Nissan Micra
For centuries, farmers have known that their livestock not only gather in large herds but also tend to face the same way when grazing. It wasn’t until Google Earth images from all over the world were examined by a team of German researchers however, that they realised that cattle generally line themselves up like compasses on a North-South axis. And they aren’t the only animals to do so – deer, flies, bees and goldfish naturally line up in a similar way when left alone. So what looks like a desire to be part of the herd and do what everyone else is doing is actually a more fundamental instinct. As humans we all regularly follow the herd too. Maybe like the cattle however we should pay more attention to our instincts. Sometimes they may line us up with the herd, but even when they don’t, they still might be worth following.
I remember seeing my Dad get presents of new socks when I was young and thinking what a terrible present that was. Now I sometimes get presents of new socks and I’m delighted. The intention of the sock-buyer was the same each time – but my interpretation of their action has changed. Actions will be interpreted differently depending on the viewpoint of the person interpreting them. It’s important to remember that when analysing reactions. It’s also sometimes crucial to forget it, especially at the moment of action, or you might never act.
The longest day of the year (in terms of daylight hours) was yesterday. We were lucky in Sligo with the weather we got and the sunset was beautiful. So – today does it upset you that we have started an inexorable six-month fall towards shorter daylight hours? Or instead do you enjoy the fact that it’s the second longest day of the year?
On the afternoon of May 18, 1998, many young South Korean girls had what is known as an ignition moment when a twenty-year-old woman named Se Ri Pak won the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and became a national icon. Before her, no South Korean had ever succeeded in golf. Fast-forward to ten years later, and Pak’s countrywomen had essentially colonized the LPGA Tour, with forty-five South Korean female golfers collectively winning about one-third of the events. An ignition moment is a potent experience when a young person falls in love with their future passion. For Albert Einstein, it was when his father bought him a compass. As Walter Isaacson wrote in Einstein: His Life and Universe Einstein later recalled being so excited as he examined its mysterious powers that he trembled and grew cold…. [Einstein wrote] “I can still remember – or at least I believe I can remember—that this experience made a deep and lasting impression on me. Something deeply hidden