Last night I watched a BBC4 documentary about music from Northern Ireland, as part if the channel's Ireland week. There were some great acts on there: Therapy?, Iain Archer, Snow Patrol (known in Bangor as 'no show patrol' but that is a different story), Duke Special and Van (the man) Morrison.
It is amazing how there is such great talent from such a small place. One thing that really stood out for me was Duke Special's comments. He was remembering a dark time in his life when he was doubting his own abilities and wondered if he could even consider himself to be an artist. A year little he is on Jools Holland performing!
What I remember though is a night when I turned up in the Spring and Airbreak in Belfast with two other friends. We had been drinking and the place was empty. Duke Special was on the stage performing. We got a seat right in front of the stage and were impressed by his version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." We shouted out a request for "Better Man" by Pearl Jam and really pleased that he knew it. We had a really great night, though I am not sure what Duke Special would have thought of us! We did get a bit silly, shouting out other requests such as themes tunes for children's television programs.
He really didn't have to put up with that but he took it in good humour.
It really is such an obvious thing to say but if you do have self belief it is amazing what can happen over a period of twelve months.