Note to new readers: This article was written to be, and is, the first part of a two parter wherein I establish the causal link between Irish music and a rejection of anti-Irishness which is endemic in Northern Ireland, where I am from. It should be obvious (but it apparently isn’t) that the end point of the article is the end-point of anti-Irishness, a rejection of it and an acceptance that Bell X1 is one of the best bands on Earth. Sorry some people didn’t get that.
Some of my guilty secrets are really secrets I’m proud of; marching through life as a member of what I like to imagine is a dwindling cognoscenti, sometimes the best music just seems to pass other people by. The stunning thing, however, comes when discovering something wonderful everybody else has known about for years. Stunning in the same way as being hit between the eyes with a tyre iron.
For me, Bell X1 was a perfect example. Due to my vaunted anti-Irishness, I had decided all bands were as bad as U2. I consider U2 execrable, with the exception of ‘Stay (Far Away, So Close!)’ from the derided Zooropa album, and ‘If God Will Send His Angels’ from ‘Pop’.
I am nonplussed by Mundy, consider Glenn Hansard an unwelcome negative connotation to the official Parliamentary record and think the film ‘Once’ works best as a silent film. With the TV turned off. Other Irish bands may as well not exist. I am able to walk past posters for Electric Picnic and Oxygen (which I am told are ‘music festivals) and not recognise 60% of the acts. Which is fine by me, and unnoticed by their legions of happy and adoring fans. Everyone’s happy.
Truly, I was a sub-human wretch. Xenophobic even to the nerve endings in my ears, I wore my mental block as a wonderful badge. I was (and remain, to a large extent) an active opponent of Irish culture and music. But when I first heard ‘Flame’, driving through Wicklow’s hills, I was actually annoyed to discover that it was by an Irish band. Which caused consternation.