Today I received an apology. A proper one. A man looked me in the eye and told me how sorry he was for something that happened almost 5 years ago. It was specific, heartfelt and touching. The interesting thing was what happened to me. Our meeting today, instead of bringing back the memories of what happened in the past, actually heightened my respect for him. He made a mistake a long time ago, but today had the decency and the character to do what he did, and hence I think more of him now than I did yesterday. Apologising can be difficult. Especially if you leave it a long time. So mustering up the courage to do so and preparing what you are going to say will probably be difficult, all the more so because of the pride we all have. But having done this, when it comes to the apology itself, if you’re going to do it, you may

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“Are you busy?”

Did you have to go to jail,Put your house up for sale, did you get a good lawyer?I hope you didn’t catch a tan,I hope you’ll find the right man who’ll fix it for yaAnd are you shopping anywhere,Changed the color of your hair, are you busy?And did you have to pay that fineYou were dodging all the time, are you still dizzy? Dave McCabe of The Zutons, who wrote Valerie (later covered by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse), asked a question in the second verse that I hear regularly, being asked of me and others. “Are You Busy?” The question is often asked in relation to work, and it seems that people want to hear ‘yes’ as the answer – it means you have plenty of work and things are going OK. “Flat out” is an answer you hear regularly in this part of the world. Busy can be good, as long as you’re not the busy fool. Someone

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Ray McAndrew and Mary Kennedy have been recording The Kendy and Raybo Podcast for over a year now. They have put out 61 episodes and have gained a steady and loyal following who want to listen to what they have to say every week. It has become so popular that they were asked to open the SO Funny Sligo Comedy Festival last week and by all accounts a great night was had by all. I was a guest for the first time on a podcast yesterday. Barry Power hosts and creates the podcast From The Maker to the Made and we recorded the upcoming Episode 10 yesterday. It was a lovely chat about creativity and the creative process when it comes to music. The thing is – it’s easy to do. Set up a couple of mics, have a chat and off you go. And for people who feel that they can’t be artistic because they may not be much

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I heard a new proverb today. New to me that is. And when considering whether to share it or not, I tried two assumptions. Everyone has heard it before. In which case then there is no real point in blogging about it. Very few have heard it before. In which case there is a reason to blog about it. The proverb? To assume makes an ass of u and me. And since I’ll never know how many readers have heard it before, I’ll heed the proverb, assume nothing, and share it just because I liked it.

Wine and Song

If a wine is good, it’s possible to enjoy it decades after it was bottled. The colour, taste and most of all label will give away its age and origin, but if it was made with good ingredients and care, it will last the test of time. Likewise with a top class piece of music. The instrumentation, quality of the recording and style may give away its age, but if it’s well-made its quality can shine through and it may be enjoyed for years and decades after it was recorded. Some music, and indeed wine is made for the short term. Mass-produced, with the aim of it being consumed as widely and as soon as possible. And there is value and merit in that. If that is your goal. And it’s not always possible when you make something to know whether you’re making it to last or not. But isn’t there something magical about the thought of people enjoying the

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The thing about waves is that there’s always another one. And when you’re in the water and they’re coming thick and fast, there is no room in your mind for anything else other than the next one. How big is it? How soon is it going to be here? How powerful is it? Do I dive over it, under it, or try and stand my ground? It forces you into the present. It demands focus. And as a result, that’s what you give. Things come at us all the time out of the water too. A 30-min practice session at your instrument, an hour with your children, a meeting with a client. These should get the same focus that the waves get, but it’s harder, because they don’t demand it like the waves do. So instead you need to demand it of yourself.

Do you like new things?

Billy Beane revolutionised baseball. The team he managed – The Oakland Athletics were one of the poor relations in their league. Before the 2002 season started, they lost 3 of their star players to bigger clubs who could offer more money and Beane knew he had to try something different. So with some help from Harvard-educated statistician Paul DePodesta, he came up with a system which used statistics to focus on previously undervalued skills in players. In his own words – “it’s all about evaluating skills and putting a price on them. Thirty years ago, stockbrokers used to buy stock strictly by feel. Let’s put it this way: Anyone in the game with some money has a choice. They can choose a fund manager who manages their retirement by gut instinct, or one who chooses by research and analysis. I know which way I’d choose.” The reaction, as depicted in the 2011 film Moneyball (with Brad Pitt as Beane) was

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A handwritten note…

This morning a friend who had a recent bereavement in his family thanked me for a handwritten card I sent him. I was also told a story by a colleague about a handwritten letter he received years ago from a client that he still remembers as the nicest thankyou he has ever received in many years of business. And I have been lucky to receive some heartwarming handwritten thankyou notes over the last while. So I know that a meaningful note, written by hand, gives a strong message to the person receiving it. So strong that if you want to convey something important to someone, it trumps almost all other methods of communication. Email, online messaging, a typed letter, even sometimes verbal communication. It’s a lovely way to spend some time for the writer, and always a pleasant surprise for the recipient. And there really is no good reason why we all shouldn’t do more of it.

The end of the tour

“Why did you choose music over football?” ‘Did you like the bouncy castle we brought you a few months ago?” “Are you going to teach your son how to play football?” Some of the questions I was asked over the last 10 days or so on what I have loosely christened The Ignition Tour – visiting 10 primary schools around the county of Sligo – listening to, answering questions and playing music for some of the children in each school. It brought me to Ransboro, Rathcormac, Maugherow, Ballymote, Killavil, Bunninadden, Sligo town (Scoil Ursula, The Mercy and Carbury) and finally today Geevagh. I heard children performing songs they had written, an original version of Despacito as Gaeilge, Adele’s Someone Like You, traditional Irish pieces, and lots of music from Queen. I ended up talking in depth and in public about things I hadn’t spoken about in years – our harrowing loss in the 2000 county final to Bunninadden, a gig

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There is nothing good or bad – but thinking makes it so…

Frank Lampard is the new manager of Chelsea. An ex-player for the team, he is generally popular with the fans. Recently his team lost at home 2-1 to Liverpool, a rival, and he and his team got a standing ovation at the end. A former manager of the club ridiculed the fans for this reception, saying that they would have booed his team for the same result in his time, and warning the fans that this attitude of glorifying defeats could transform their club from a big one to a mediocre one very quickly. This is an example of the same people (the Chelsea fans) seeing the same action (losing 2-1 to Liverpool) in two different ways (standing ovation/booing). Similarly – two people will regularly see the same actions by the same person in two different ways, depending on their perception of that person. You only have to look at the world of politics anywhere in the world to see

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