There is a programme currently on the BBC called “Guitar Heroes”. Call me picky, (guitar pun there), but heroism is not an attribute that I would normally associate with the playing of any musical instrument, let alone the guitar. Heroes are those people who encounter danger in order to achieve something, usually on behalf of others, such as those who fight against the odds in just causes, or wander naked into Ann Widdecombe’s bedroom. The only guitar player I can think of who encountered danger in the course of earning his living was Hendrix, who appeared on stage with a burning guitar, and as he was the one who set fire to the fucker in the first place, then the poor drug addled bastard was not so much a hero as a loony.
So join me, fellow iconoclasts, in sticking a very sharp dagger in the side of this cult of celebrity and all of the hyperbole that goes with it. Rise up and shout at the wireless the next time you hear of someone who played 4 games at right midfield for Grimsby Town in 1973 being described as a “legend”. When I was at school the word “legend” had some connotations of being mythological. You might say, not very kindly, that I am so old that I was on first name terms with most mythological characters, but then I would have to counter that with some dialectical invective, such as “your momma”.
On the other hand, and taking the entirely opposite point of view, I experienced a smidgen of sadness this evening when some of the panellists on the News Quiz professed no knowledge of Danny Blanchflower. Even Jeremy Hardy was offended at this and challenged Sandi Toksvig and Sue Perkins with the accusation “You are supposed to be lesbians”. Yes, even Danny Blanchflower will be forgotten, not to mention his brother Jackie. How many of you can name the Spurs double winning team of 1961? (I confess I had to think hard about it). (And lose ten points anyone who said “Jimmy Greaves”.) What was remarkable about Danny was that he was intelligent (it is late at night, so I am not going to verify any of the following statements by checking them), a quality as common in the majority of footballers as it is in Republican vice presidential candidates. Surprisingly, he failed completely as a coach and manager after his playing career ended, but I think that he was the one who talked about equalising before the other team scored and maybe even of getting retaliation in first. So spare a thought for these people whose 15 minutes of fame lasted for several years, but are now remembered only by a few. Have compassion on them. Unlike me, whose works are timeless and will be read by every future generation, and will probably be treated as scriptures by some advanced civilisations, these “celebrities” kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Pass the hot milk, please.