Once upon a time I only enjoyed classical music - and was incredibly (if silently) snobbish about this - as if somehow true virtue could only be found among those who shared my tastes.
Thankfully, God sent me 3 children who are bright AND musical - and whose horizons are infinitely wider than those of their parent.
He also arranged things so that Greenbelt (off our family map for many many years, since it's pretty impossible for a Bed & Breakfast business to close each year for the August Bank Holiday) should relocate to Cheltenham racecourse - absolutely on our doorstep, even before I became curate at St M's - and via Greenbelt practically every aspect of my life was picked up, shaken and put down in a new and exciting order, which included all sorts of wonderful new sounds.
Greenbelt is the perfect opportunity for even a cautious soul to explore different sorts of music, to hear bands that would have been completely off my map - and to fall madly in love with some of them.
Streets ahead of the field among my brand new passions is Duke Special. I won't even attempt to describe his music* - except to say that he is amazing...both as a writer and performer. I'd first encountered him very briefly at Greenbelt 05, and and this year was among the several thousand who were wowed by his mainstage performance. To find that he was playing in Oxford at a time when I really could get there was almost too good to be true, given the insistent demands of a busy Advent. So last night Hugger Steward and I found ourselves in the relative intimacy of the Carling Academy - and even more bowled over than we'd been at GB. Stunning performance. Stunning performer.Towards the end of he had us all singing along at the top of our voices to "Love goes deeper than this" and bouncing off every surface...then held us spellbound with the intensity of "This could be my last day" - with an ad lib section "sometimes you have to be a little bit broken to let the light shine through" -
Maybe a little broken - isn't everyone?
Unmistakeably deeply deeply special.
ETA **At his My Space page I found this - which gives a slightly clearer picture but really you just need to go over there and listen:
"Using cheese graters, wardrobe doors, pianos, harps, brass, strings and an old gramophone to record the twelve-track debut, Adventures in Gramophone is truly a musical spectacular. Duke Special is one of a kind, a unique and talented young Belfast man whose bruised romanticism and soft Northern tinged vocals are at sharp juxtaposition with his wild dreadlocks, smudged eyeliner and unfeasibly wide trousers.
On stage, Duke Special explodes into musical mayhem the battered old trademark gramophone wheezes, huge cymbals clash, egg whisks and cheese graters break free from the kitchen, a stumpf fiddle screeches and the crushed velvet covered piano thumps and tinks in unison but its the very core of the songs, his heartfelt, passionate poems, that will remain in your head long after the lights have gone down."