Has his old town changed since the last days of the 70’s and early days of 1980. Phil Lynott the Black Pearl of a rock and roll city might not recognise our place, maybe more startling would be that if he was still with us would we recognise him. Imagine Bartley Dunnes is long gone but there are dark streets offside to escape to, pokey corners and old man bars to hide in, would he go there in a thin moustache and a ponytail, hide behind small shades and pass off affections of older girls who fancied him rotten hooked on X factor porno. He slowly got off the bad stuff ages ago but still thin lizzy he has his hair cropped with a catstail at the back, he keeps to himself and yet if you take your time he’ll show you his notebooks and the words he’s using now. “What about the new bands now Phil?” – I can just see him pulling on a rollie and thinking through the smoke (he’s allowed to smoke indoors because he’s Phil Lynott and that’s a free pass for whiskey coffee and the odd drag) “Its all a bit techno he says – very machiney, but I like that Richie Jape fella he’s a bit rock n roll still”
He’s got the Bob Geldof retired footballer kind of look he’s driving a Triumph or a Citreon.
Out the door of a smoke shop I thought it was him drifting in for a pack of marlboro lights, a big black coat with his collars up he sits down outside Simons and the rain comes down, he has a denim wrangler on underneath and leather trousers don’t suit anyone except him, somehow he goes unnoticed on George’s street – its like that in Dublin now you would care less seeing Bono have cake in Coppinger row would’nt you? So what Phil Lynotts having milky tea outside Simons!
“Phil?” looking up he’s a little grumpy “What?” – “I don’t mean to annoy you but did you not think at the height of it all it would have been better to go out in style like Hendrix or Morrison and Joplin?” he’s staring at me like I have two heads “That’s kinda what actually happened but then somehow I’m still here amid all you flutes casting dispersions” he takes a sup of his tea and I try again “But all icons of rock n’ roll fade away right?” – “Yes of course I may have gone up the stairway but I’m here and there on the streets making sure the town doesn’t go completely mad, although I’d never stand that Fender on its arse, who said that was ok?” he’s getting angry now like if I talk anymore someone else will come over and take a pop at him but he goes on “Don’t get me wrong I love this town but things have changed haven’t they? Like we all went to Spain and came back with Spanish accents lookin for sandwiches and olive oil on them what’s wrong with tea and toast in Grogans, eh….pen and paper or I’d rather speak to you on the phone?” I see what he’s talking about, he’s out of the loop a bit, he just became a memory of the city and less it’s hero we turn to “are you still writing Phil?” he drifts off pulling on the last of that cigarette “yes I am but no-one wants songs about thunder in the mountains and poetry,that’s like being a weird uncle”
There’s the distance between how naive we were and now the saturation of a music generation that doesn’t love music but consumes it, then some will say that music has saved their lives but I don’t believe anyone on TV.
Phil would have sadly drifted across our media like a grumpy old Morrissey but at the same time would have probably been right, made sense. He is a hero for ever more and his imprint left a mark that helped our identity and much like Rory Gallagher or Luke Kelly gave us Irish the permission to be more reckless and legendary, don’t forget we’re still looking for the way forward even though thousands of years of music go by and even though he’s gone and distant we could still do with his view of the world no matter what he would have ended up like. Nothing wrong with straight talk and a bit of madness thrown in, sounds like Geldof actually