Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Try not to 'should' yourself.

This morning I was shocked to hear the sad news of the death of a lovely guy and great guitar player, Norman Conboy. He lived locally and played with local musicians at various sessions. I met him a few times at the Cromar Folk Club and also on the rare occasion I made it down to the regular Tuesday night sessions in the Aberdeen Arms in Tarland. He recently played on the CDs of Paul Anderson  and David Anderson.

When I watched Norman, and watch other guitarists play accompaniment to trad folk music, I am puzzled as to what exactly they are playing. I learnt the guitar playing some blues, rock and the odd bit of bluegrass and jazz. None of what I could play seemed to fit with what trad folk guitarists did. So one night I asked Norman what was he doing? He never really answered my question. He just said come along to the Tuesday night sessions and watch. He also hinted that you kind of had to know the music and know what was coming in the tune - which is where I struggled a bit as our house was filled with jazz music more than folk music.

I knew he was right and I should try to get to the Tuesday night sessions and watch him.

But sadly, I found excuses - during the week I rise at 6am, commute 64 miles every day, work as a Principal Teacher at a secondary school and on average, see 190-200 pupils come through my door every week. When 9pm comes along on a Tuesday night, I really struggle to find the energy to go to a pub session which may end at 11-11.30pm.

Of course, deciding every Tuesday to not go to the sessions and sit beside Norman and learn from him for the fairly pathetic reasons given above, I regret now. Isn't it always a shame that some lessons in life seem only to be learned this way.

You should never 'should' yourself! I have to try harder to stop saying 'I should try to get to ...' and instead say, 'I will get to...', 'I am going to...' more often.

Norman will be sadly missed by many musicians, friends and of course his family. The few times I spoke with Norman, he was a gent. He was a handsome, funny and talented guy.

Rest in Peace Norman.


cromar07 said...

Beautifully put!

Annabel Pattullo said...

touching post and right about the 'shoulds'.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful pictures- i have never seen them before. thank you so much for this paragraph, it really means a lot to find words like these, he would have appreciated them an awful lot! He was also very admiring to your enthusiasm- and i remember him telling us he told you to come to the session.. we all thought " oh god what poor soul has he offended now!?"
Shannon Conboy :)

Anonymous said...

I met then knew Norman when he lived in Corgarff some 20-plus years ago, & recall with affection, his Peter O'Toole like good looks, & his extensive musical knowledge, so firmly rooted in both the local & the universal Scots-Irish tradition, & which he so fluently expressed thru his guitar.
I also recall his somewhat eccentric & at times cantankerous nature that I daresay kinda mirrored my own, & so its with great sadness that I now learn of his passing, some months after the event.
Thus, in the absence of any other forum, I feel compelled to express my sense of loss here on this site, & to extend my deepest condolences to his children Rowan, Liam, & Shannon, & to all who
knew him...
RIP Norm...