It’s one of my many failings; someone pays me a compliment and I think it’s a trap. Most likely because of the way I’ve been brought up.
I use self-deprecating humour quite often. It’s so I can get the harsh insult in before anyone else can. It steps on their point and grinds it into the floor before it can do any harm.
Take for instance an email from the people who are going to publish my second novel. They’ve had a read and are saying all sorts of lovely things – I had to look up ‘denouement’ at one stage because I didn’t know what it meant.
There were ‘talenteds’, ‘ingenious’s’ ‘noteworthys’ and ‘seasoned professional’ all over the text of the email and all I could think was ‘Is seasoned professional a dig at my age?’ or ‘Yes, but what about my book?- see, I’m doing it again!
I can’t help it. Worse thing is, I’m conscious that I do it to other people. I find it difficult to give a compliment as well. I have to fight every ingrained piece of ‘conditioning’ to actually turn round and say ‘that is brilliant’.
A relatively new but most excellent friend of mine ‘Adam’ leant me a CD of music he’d written, performed and produced and mixed called ‘Animal Magic’.
At first, me being the critical and cynical fucker that I am, I thought ‘It’s going to have Johnny Morris talking as if he’s a camel on it.’
On first listen I was completely amazed and a little jealous. Not only is Adam a phenomenal guitarist, he’s also an ingenious bass player and inventive keyboard player.
Not only did he perform the material, he fucking wrote it and recorded it and even drafted in the talent to complement his music.
Every track was bursting with ideas and in some places you can hear the influences of Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, Tangerine Dream, Herbie Hancock and there’s even a bit of Steve Vai in there.
It may sound like a hotchpotch of styles but it works and it is great. He may have to claw the CD out of my cold, dead fingertips if he wants it back.
I’m writing this so when next I meet Adam I can turn round and say ‘that was amazing mate, thanks for letting me listen to it’. ‘Your work is fantastic’.
Cheers Adam, you’re a genius, mate.