I was probably the first to ask, and the first to cop the answer.
My old mate Dave Browne called me in Stockholm to tell me he was going to try to break the world record for the longest guitar gig ever played, which at the moment stands at 100 hours.
A musical genius from Cuffe Street in Dublin’s inner city, Browner is probably the hardest-working and most creative musician in Ireland.
Not only is he a great songwriter and player, he has a bottomless pit of ideas for gigs and festivals and scams that keep him and three or four dozen of his loyal cohorts working, despite the worst recession in living memory.
It’s not the first time he’s done it either. For a period during the nineties we were all famous on a shoestring, our Travelling Circus tour with a band, a DJ and a stand-up comedian just one of the ingenious ways we got gigs where no-one else could get in the door.
So I learned a long time ago not to question Browner’s desire or ability to deliver on his hair-brained scheme, and I’m confident he’ll do this one too. Because playing and being on stage is what he was born to do.
People have asked me about the record attempt, and the most recurring question is “what’s the point?”.
Why is Dave putting himself through this physical and mental challenge? What does he hope to achieve? And how will he measure it?
The answer is there are probably many reasons, but ultimately there is no real point. Dave is doing it simply because he can. His talent and his personality and his iron will will keep him going to the bitter end.
And that is the lesson here for all of us, especially the seemingly toothless semi-state bodies who are tasked with stemming the tide and setting Ireland on a course back to prosperity.
Sometimes you have to do something. It might not be measurable in terms of click-throughs or “client touch points” or “interactions” or any of the rest of the management nonsense that is used to justify taking the easy way out.
Sometimes you have to take a gamble on something big and realise that, even if it does fail, it sends a message.
It tells the world that we are still here and we have talent and drive and ability, and that our dreams and our hopes and our desires are bigger than than they could possibly dream of.
So while you’re all sitting on your hands and counting the pennies left in your budgets, pay a visit to the live stream from Dave’s attempt, then take your business plan for the remainder of 2011, tear it up and throw it in the bin.
Then dream a big dream on behalf of us all. Because, as no doubt Dave will sing at some point in the 101 hours he needs to break the record, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.