Small Hours

Yesterday my Saturday musing was on Shoshin, of having an innocent or beginner’s mind. Today, Sunday morning, I have been slowly reading some more of a recently published biography of John Martyn. I first discovered his music in my late teens, that time of innocence and exploration, including immersing myself in music. To this day he is my favourite musician.

Through my late teens and early 20s I saw him play many times, as well as seeing him quite often in my local pub (yes, he lived close by). However, the more I saw him play and the more I met him, I realised, from a distance (and, it seems, everyone was really at a distance from the real John, even John) that the innocence of his music was in conflict with the man he was. A phrase I often use in leadership is:

Business is Simple, People are Complex

John Martyn’s music is simple, listening to it touches my heartstrings. John Martyn the man was complex. Truly.

Graeme Thomson’s book really explores this, is essential to any aficionado of the man and his music. You may also enjoy it as a way of understanding the complexity and conflict often found in the truly world-class in any field, where there focus and obsession often comes at the expense of other areas of their life and even those around them and those they love.

I am reading the book slowly, emotions of joy and sorry, happiness and anger among those flowing as I read, all the while accompanied by his music. A few suggestions are Small Hours, One World (see below), Solid Air, Johnny Too Bad, May You Never, Sweet Little Mystery.


Also published on Medium.