Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Young and Old Momentum

May 22, 2016

Rubyhorse pictured at the White Horse in Ballincollig, Cork

I had a really great, inspirational day at the Dublin Chamber, Momentum Summit, which was held at the Aviva Stadium last Friday.

This was the second year of this full day event, which featured a really nice mix of speakers, master classes and good, old fashioned networking during the many coffee breaks, lunch and drinks reception.

We had top class panelists from a variety of businesses big and small around topics such as “Differentiation“, “Scaling” and “Online Opportunities“, we had a fantastic speaker Jamil Qureshi who spoke about the importance of your Mindset and your Purpose and lastly we had a “Competitive Edge” sporting panel, which included Paul O’Connell (who incorrectly predicted an Ulster win!), Henry Shefflin and Jack McCaffrey.

This easy and relaxed Friday was superb and as Dublin Chamber of Commerce President, Derry Gray eloquently suggested at the beginning of the day, it was “time for you to think and quietly reflect“, which I certainly did.

Improper Butter -

The two young entrepreneurs, Elaine Lavery and Hannah O’Reilly who co-founded Improper Butter spoke really well about their exciting start-up journey and I think they gave me and many others cause for reflection!

Privately while I listened to the story of these two young entrepreneurs I wondered about my life, my career and the things that I have achieved along the way. I have worked in fabulous companies, I opened, closed and sold many different businesses and now I am dedicating most of my energy to Fuzion, which I love.

That voice in my head started: “Should I have done more with my career, have I achieved what I wanted to, have I been a success, do I have the same energy that I had when I was the same age as these young entrepreneurs and I am ready for new exciting opportunities when they come along?

Has it passed me and my generation by, I wondered and is it now up to a new generation to do these new things?

These thoughts were bothering me a little as I ate my lunch and the guy alongside me said loudly what I had been thinking. Some of the others I chatted to during the rest of the day were also saying the same.

While we were so clearly impressed by these young entrepreneurs we were at the same time feeling that our time had come and gone.

I hopped in the car and faced rush hour traffic (Luas strikers adding an extra layer of volume – thank you strikers and SIPTU!) as well as a trip to Cork to get to a long awaited comeback gig by Cork band, Rubyhorse.

Those thoughts about the “Momentum” of youth lingered with me on this longer than usual journey.

Eventually I got home, fed the dog and headed to the White HorseBrendan my son and his buddy Alan were at the gig as well as Alan’s dad Harry – I was chatting with Harry as we watched our two boys, who are now in their late twenties. Both are part of this younger, carefree generation, both with exciting careers. Brendan is flying as a music and advert director and Alan is a writer who is just back after participating in a documentary project in Columbia of all places!

The boys are about to start work on a short film together based on the storyline from the music video that Brendan did for Gavin James “For You”.

We were chatting about this generation and how different they were to ours – at least that is what we feel. How many fathers and mothers have had this conversation about their children?

Harry told me about a young lad, who was a neighbour of his when he was growing up. This lad packed up school really early. As early as the age of 12 he used head to Croke Park from Cork on the train for big matches selling merchandise. At 17 he bought his first pub.

Harry met him recently and he is now working for someone else, happily punching out a weeks wage – we try things and some of these things fail. If enough things fail we retrench, we lose that will to try again and maybe that entrepreneurial spirit gets knocked out of us.

That question was back in my head – Do we lose that ‘Momentum’ as we get older?

The gig kicked off..

This gig is a really significant part of this blog post as there is a very special story behind it so bear with me just a little bit longer!

These guys came from my school in Cork – they formed a band and dreamed big!

Dave Farrell - RubyhorseThe superb lead singer, Dave Farrell (he was born to be a lead singer!) was once sent home from school for declaring he wanted to be a rock star! It was like that at that time – get a solid job was what we were all encouraged to do.

Dave and his band of merry men followed their dreams and their success came in the United States where a few years of hard work and great songs resulted in them hitting the Top 20 with appearances on the top TV shows such as The Letterman and the Conal O’Brien show.

In an interview with the Irish Emigrant in 2003 Dave spoke about the differences between Ireland and the U.S., which he summed up in one comment “Here, you have loads of freedom and opportunities. America grants you the opportunity to pursue a dream“. Things have changed in Ireland..

Rubyhorse

Unfortunately through a combination of burnout, geography and young families these special, very talented school friends called it a day on Rubyhorse and settled in to ‘ordinary’ lives in different parts of the world.

Through a quirk of circumstances (a charity reunion last year) these older and wiser guys are now back with a vengeance and a very privileged audience were treated to a proper Rubyhorse gig full of old classics and some sparking new material from a new album that will come later this year. (Well done Dave, Joe and Deccie and a few new faces!)

After a superb gig and a few beers I walked home and thought – We are older, we have experienced the highs and lows that life throws us but we still have it and we are going to “Sparkle” just like this new generation.

It’s all about our Mindset and Purpose!

If we want it …we have Momentum

Check out “Sparkle” the track that broke Rubyhorse in the U.S.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Grabbing opportunities just like Ferris

April 14, 2016

Liverpool v Newcastle

Part onewritten on a flight from Cork to Liverpool, 14th April.

It was April 1996 and I was sitting in my office in Guinness in Dublin flicking through the newspaper.

In the classifieds I noticed a ticket and travel package for an evening midweek league match at Anfield, Liverpool versus Newcastle.

I am a die-hard Liverpool FC fan but I had never been to a game at Anfield. Liverpool were playing exciting football that year, in contention for the title but Newcastle were the really exciting team of the season that had taken the league by storm.

I thought long and hard about going but managed to find some reason not to and I ended up watching on TV what people still describe as the best match ever in the Premiership as Liverpool scored a last minute winner to win 4-3 in an incredible match that had everything.

I could have been there…

Brendan Canty celebrating Liverpool beatingg Dortmund 4-3 at Anfield

When Brendan, my son called me 20 years later to say he could get tickets for Liverpool versus Borussia Dortmund, the quarter final second leg UEFA Europa Cup match at Anfield I didn’t think too long and hard about it.

Of course I had things in my diary, of course I could think of 100 reasons why I couldn’t go but as Ferris Bueller famously said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it

I embraced this spirit and here I am sitting on a flight to Liverpool with Brendan. Hopefully the match this evening will be great, poised delicately after the away tie finished 1-1 against a really superb Borussia side.

Bring it on..

Part twowritten in the Holiday Inn Express, in Liverpool while Mr Canty junior is working on his next TV commercial (he always gives out to me for working too hard!)

Lovren and Klopp celebrate

At 2-nil down at half time against a fantastic team “we” would have to score three without reply to win the match … This was a monumental task of Istanbul proportions and probably not possible.

It didn’t stop “us” fans (yep, we were in the middle of it, strangely sitting next to a few Borussia fans that had all the officials upset) belting out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the teams emerged for the second half.

The young and powerful Origi scores for us after 3 minutes and the place went berserk …maybe it was possible?

Liverpool piled on the pressure, the fans were urging them on with a wall of noise and then the sucker punch. Borussia score again – this team are just too good for us and the balloon of hope was burst.

The fans recovered and started singing again and my mind drifted back to that famous 4-3 match that I stupidly missed.

Never.. ?

Coutinho scores, 3-2 … The place erupts and now I am witnessing that special Anfield Magic. It’s the team and the fans together in a frenzy, the noise is crazy and there is belief everywhere.

Sahko scores, 3-3 … The place just goes ballistic and the frenzy has been whipped into the stratosphere and there is a tangible electricity flowing from the team to the crowd, from the crowd to the team, a powerful invisible nut tangible force.

Dortmund manage to contain this pressure and the game gets a little stop start as the clock nudges painfully to 90 minutes…4 minutes of extra time.

A strange thing happens..the crowd start to belt out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” again… everyone joins in. This is really odd as the Liverpool faithful only really sing this at the end of a match when they know the game has been won.

Free kick, Milner to Sturridge, Milner keeps running into the box and takes a return ball from Sturridge. We all gave out about Milner’s corners during the game but this time he delivers a perfect cross into the box for Dejan Lovren (who had an awful start to his LFC career the previous year) who rises above everyone and powers a header into the net.

(Admission – At the time I had no idea who scored it happened so quickly!)

Lovren scores the winner against Borussia Dortmund

Oh my god…. I have never witnessed anything like it. I was hugging Brendan, the guy next to me, the people in front of me. Everyone played this match together, singing, urging, believing… When the players lost hope we were there, when we lost hope, they were there.

Now we were there together – Jurgen Klopp walked past us, saluting the crowd and punching his chest, his heart. We got it.

If you haven’t seen it yet you just have to click here to see the incredible celebrations at the end of the match and click here for some crazy fan celebrations!

4-3 ….best night ever?

Ferris was right, we need to grab those opportunities when they come along

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Honesty and Truth in business

February 14, 2016

Jack O'Rourke - Smarter Egg

I attended a really interesting event recently hosted by Aodán Enright as part of his Smarter Egg series at the White Horse in Ballincollig, Cork.

This well attended event was all about the “Music Business” and Aodán had assembled an interesting collection of speakers to chat about various aspects of the business. All of this was after a delicious bowl of curry and a craft beer of course!

The speakers dealt with the impact of emerging technology on music, music PR, the life of an emerging artist and the lucrative business of concert promoting.

The young and enthusiastic Cork singer/songwriter Jack O’Rourke totally engaged with the audience with his presentation. He took the stage and admitted he felt very nervous, awkward and unqualified talking about the music ‘business‘.

He felt he lacked the skills and experience in this area but he did present his simple philosophy about business:

You should be honest and truthful in everything that you do

This pure and simple advice was delivered with personal stories including a very powerful story about the importance of being ‘true to your self‘, which was captured beautifully in his song ‘Silence‘ which he performed for the privileged crowd.

Make sure you check out Jack performing this powerful song on the Late Late Show at the end of this post.

Aodan Enright and Peter Aiken

This was followed by an interview with successful music promoter Peter Aiken who engaged us with many interesting stories about his early career, his dad, Rory Gallagher, the Marquee gigs and the Garth Brooks fiasco.

He spoke about the nuggets of wisdom that his father had engrained in him – you should honour all of your agreements as your good name was a precious commodity when you are in business. This would ensure that you did good business in the long run and not just short term wins.

He shared a story about how one of the bands he had booked actually returned significant money to him as they knew the gig was not a success and Peter would have lost heavily on it.

Honesty, truth and the importance of acting honourable at all times – these are simple and yet powerful pieces of advice for everyone in business to follow.

Gladly from my experience I feel these things are mostly present in business but I am still quite amazed as I unfortunately see the total opposite and in a few cases disappointingly from people I would have totally trusted. Sadly, nothing surprises me.

Honesty and truth in business …what do you think?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

When Johnny comes marching home again!

November 17, 2015

When Johnny come marching home again

For some reason this song was in my head this morning and as usual I just had the chorus and a few of the words.

Curiosity got the better of me so I asked my buddy Mr Google about it.

It was a popular song of the American Civil War that expressed people’s longing for the return of their friends and relatives who were fighting in the war. It was written by the Irish-American band leader Patrick Gilmore during the American Civil War who for some reason put the song out under a pseudonym “Louis Lambert” (very fancy!).

He is said to have written the song for his sister Annie as she prayed for the safe return of her fiancé, Union Light Artillery Captain John O’Rourke (another Irishman?), from the Civil War.

The lyrics are quite hilarious in particular the use of the word “gay”, reminding us that not so long ago we used this word to describe someone who was happy..remember the chain of Irish female fashion stores Gaywear that changed their name to A-Wear?

Here goes, lets welcome home our darling boy ..

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bell will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest pleasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior’s heart,
And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home

You can sing the song yourself to the American Military West Point Band if you are in the mood!

Greg Canty

Take me to the LA Church!

September 5, 2015

Brendan Canty and Con Thomson, MTV VMA Awards

It’s been a huge whirlwind since we got the news that the Hozier video for “Take Me To Church” had been nominated for two MTV VMA awards.

The video was produced at the end of 2013 by Feel Good Lost, my son Brendan Canty and Con Thomson’s company, on a shoestring budget. The video catapulted this unknown singer and his fantastic song to international success and nearly 330 million views later, we find ourselves heading to the awards at The Staple Centre, home of the LA Lakers in Los Angeles.

Brendan and Con are the ‘talent’ so they got to experience the whole red carpet experience, while we had to go in a different door and sit a little further back in the audience. We were expecting a theatre full of the most fashion conscious, outrageous, “bling” people you could ever imagine but this wasn’t the case.

Of course we saw a bunch of ultra-chic ‘where is my catwalk’ fashionistas at the event but we also saw a big crowd of very ordinary-looking people who looked like they were going to the cinema!

The anticipation was building and the tweets were flying, with so many good wishes coming towards us from Cork and beyond, waiting to see if their huge success could be crowned even further.

Hozier couldn’t be there and he tweeted the best of luck to the guys – even though the public vote was restricted to the U.S. many had tipped ‘Take Me To Church‘ as a winner so we had to start dreaming!

We had a few chats beforehand about preparing a ‘winning speech’ or maybe two!

I was trying to picture my boy up there with the stars saying something very profound about how “with the right passion anything is possible”. Maybe if he had enough time he would thank his dad profoundly for being the inspiration in his life and Cork might even get a mention?!

The show started on cue and Miley Cyrus kicked off proceedings.

Miley Cyrus - MTV VMA

We saw performances by artists we had never heard of, we saw lots of different and very provocative outfits by Miley, we saw footage from tandem outdoor performances from Downtown LA and we saw some of the awards being presented in double quick time by people including Britney Spears.

There were breaks in the show every 15 minutes for TV adverts and stage preparation and there were even segments thanking the different sponsors. You knew this was a TV show first and foremost as everything seemed to be very rehearsed, even the banter and occasional exchange of insults between presenters.

Taylor Swift was clearly the darling of the night with a huge entourage and lots of attention and focus on her – at least she had the class to bring on stage her video director who made his own speech. He had definitely rehearsed what he was going to say.
I started thinking about Brendan and Con going up on stage to accept an award and make a speech without a ‘star’. I was starting to have serious doubts as to whether this would not make for good TV.

Justin Bieber MTV VMA

Justin Bieber starting crying after his emotional comeback performance – were those real tears?

Kanye West grabbed many of the headlines for his ten minute confusing ramble about… I’m not really sure to be honest! He must be the most influential person in the industry as all the VIPs stood up for his speech and unfortunately for them they felt they had to stay standing.

West was strangely nominated for an award and then went on to say how music awards are silly as no one should be there to be judged. To cap it all off he announced he was running for President in 2020. The breakfast chat with Kim will be interesting!

Miley Cyrus produced an accidental, totally on purpose revealing of her breast for the TV cameras, and then finished the night with a performance of her latest song.

We looked at each other and wondered… what about the awards we were there for?

We met with Brendan and Con who were just as confused. We discovered through twitter a band called Fall Out Boy had won Best Rock Video and were presented with that on the way into the show. Good video but it was watched 19 million times compared to the 330 million Hozier views ..I’m just saying!

We also discovered that a guy called Colin Tilley won the award for ‘Best Direction’ for the Kendrick Lamar video. Apparently they never present these technical awards at the show as it is bad for TV. Dazed and confused, our gang trooped off to an official ‘After Party’ at a place called Henrys in West Hollywood but this 50-year-old was just too tired and managed one drink and called it a day.

Los Angeles is a fantastic, unexpectedly friendly place, full of surprise and diversity and with an incredible amount to see and do. It is a place where anything is possible and anyone can become a star and even a bunch of Cork lads can walk the red carpet!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 

MTV VMA Awards – Anything is possible !

August 29, 2015

MTV VMA AwardsAre you here on business or pleasure?” Is the question we have been asked over and over since we arrived in LA.

Oh, we are here for the MTV VMA awards. My son has been nominated for two awards for the Hozier video, Take me to the Church” is my response, to the hotel staff, the taxi drivers, the barmen and even to the very serious airport security team!

These surreal words come out of my mouth and in ways I have to keep on saying them to believe them myself.

Invariably we get a “that’s fantastic” or “that’s incredible” or my personal favourite is “that’s awesome” which only the Americans can carry off properly!

LA is a much better place than I was expecting. It is a colossal mix of cultures with people on every end of the social spectrum. On the immaculate Santa Monica beach we passed all shapes and sizes of people, we were entertained by excellent buskers and we watched old fishermen on the pier.

We were passed by David and Victoria Beckham’s three children on their motorised devices while behind them a young woman rummaged through a bin. Sadly we saw plenty of that.

I heard Steven Gerrard remark recently that in LA he can go out in public without being disturbed – here they seem to take no notice of either the stars or the most organised of beggars that you will ever see.

Anything is Possible!

When asked we tell people about the Hozier video that was made in Cork for a budget that literally wouldn’t pay for our highly discounted ‘industry’ tickets for the awards ceremony.

Brendan Canty and Conal Thompson - Feel Good Lost

Brendan Canty, my son and his partner in Feel Good Lost, Conal Thomson produced a powerful video for a great song that had been in the public domain for quite a while. Like so many other great songs it had gone unnoticed. Within days of being uploaded on YouTube the video went viral and this great song finally got the attention it deserved.

Anything is possible!

Over 330 million views later, Hozier is an international phenomenon and while he always gives credit to Brendan and Con the MTV VMA awards is the first time that their work has been officially recognised.

On our second night in LA with Brendan and Con we got to meet the very talented singer songwriter Gavin James from Cabra in Dublin. I predict that this terrific guy who has been signed by Capital Records in the U.S. will be a huge success. This down to earth guy who has a voice from heaven has just done a tour with Sam Smith in the U.S.

Gavin James

We had great fun talking about releasing a cover version of the old song by Cork band, Sultans of Ping, “Where’s My Jumper?“. He knew the words !!

Anything is possible!

He told me he is living and loving the dream but does miss his family and friends. Feel Good Lost did the video for his last single “For You” and are planning his next one.

Despite doing his video Brendan and Gavin had never met or even spoken before now. This is sadly how it goes when you move up the success ladder – there are loads of intermediaries and handlers who get involved in the process, which is after all, big business.

We chatted with Gavin about this and we all agreed that this shouldn’t happen as the ‘magic‘ can easily get lost when too many get involved – simple lesson for all of us!

While we have been here Brendan had meetings …. wait for this, in Beverly Hills and in Hollywood no less! He is now represented worldwide by a London agency called Academy Films and they organised meetings for him here.

He made all of this happen for himself  – he approached his ‘dream‘ agencies with his show reel, organised follow meetings and was signed up. With the right will..

Anything is possible!

We received our instructions about collecting our show tickets. The MTV team had taken temporary office space in the Marriot hotel next to the Staples Centre, home of the LA Lakers, where the awards will take place.

The excitement is well and truly building as we collected our tickets and hospitality passes. Brendan and Con (and hopefully us at the after parties) will be rubbing shoulders with music heavyweights including Miley Cyrus (must ask her how Billy Ray is !), Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Kanye West (regards to the wife!) and Britney Spears.

Anything is Possible!

On Sunday Brendan and Con will be on the Red Carpet from 3:30pm (LA is 8 hours behind Ireland) with the ‘talent’. Unfortunately we have to go in another door!

The ‘show’ starts at 6pm,

This journey has been incredible and will continue to be I have no doubt.

When Brendan volunteered for ‘Seven brides for seven brothers‘ in transition year in secondary school it introduced him to a new circle of friends and ignited the possibility of a different career path. During the weekends and summer breaks Brendan and the guys filmed a few comedies, which were really quite good.

He chose the multimedia course in Cork Institute of Technology and then threw himself into bucket loads of projects including speculative pro-bono work, which eventually led to paying work.

There were many little steps and random projects that brought him to the Hozier video and a lot of exciting work since then including videos for Gavin James and even producing adverts for Gas Networks Ireland.

You might call him lucky to be in LA but in truth Brendan works incredibly hard, he constantly perfects his craft, he builds fantastic contacts and relationships and he is very careful (I always think too careful – you must make some money Brendan!) to only work on projects he believes in.

The most impressive aspect of LA that I have experienced is the attitude here.

Our friendly UBER taxi driver, Indy from Indonesia summed it up best for us.

In LA, no matter who you are – Anything is Possible

The MTV VMA awards are on the 30th August, 2015.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 

Pick the right maverick and get out of their way!

May 13, 2015

Young Wonder

Just a quick note to say thank you.  The video you created is really special; I’ve made videos for 15 years at a major label and hated nearly every single one of them…too many compromises, too many cooks….this is the treatment played out in front of us and its f**king brilliant… many many thanks

Brendan Canty, Feel Good LostThis is a fantastic email my son Brendan Canty (he has his own production company Feel Good Lost) received after completing a recent music video project.

He tells me it was one of the smoothest projects he has worked on and one with a fantastic outcome.

They loved his original idea and he delivered it without any interference.

He tells me this is often not the case. In many projects too many people get involved, there are too many opinions, too many opposing views, too many egos and too many comprises – he is not a compromiser but sometimes he tells me you end up doing what you need to do to get a job completed.

It tells us a very simple message about engaging with any creative talent including artists/designers/professionals.

Pick the right maverick, get out of the way and then let them do what they do best  ..

Brendan  has just finished a fantastic music video for a talented and ‘soon to be huge‘ Irish artist Gavin James.

The track is a beautiful song called “For You“.

You already know about this video by another Irish artist called Hozier, which he also happened to direct. At the time of writing this has been watched 247,000,000 times!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Strawberry Fields forever?

September 2, 2014

Imagine - Central Park

Four days in New York …where do you start?

We were staying quite close to Central Park so that was a good place to start. Looking at our tour guide I was drawn to a quiet little area called Strawberry Fields, which was described in our guide book as a peaceful spot dedicated to John Lennon who was murdered close-by outside his New York apartment, the Dakota building in 1980.

Interesting ..

Off we headed on foot winding left and right through the park in between joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and even cars … Through the park there were footpaths and wider roads all winding in different directions. Eventually we exited the park and this maze of roads and paths onto the Upper West Side and decided to first find the Dakota building, his apartment which was located directly opposite the Strawberry Fields location in the park.

Yoko Ono still lives in this opulent apartment building, which looks majestically over Central Park. The friendly security guards in their smart grey uniforms stand for photos in front of the impressive building for tourists… behind them you can see the obvious wealth and you can just ‘imagine‘ what it was like having famous neighbours John and Yoko pass you everyday going about their everyday business.

We passed on taking photos (tacky!) and headed across the way into the park and within two minutes we were at ‘Strawberry Fields‘ which effectively is a discreet circular mosaic set into the walkway with the words ‘Imagine‘ in the centre. People were walking by, some were stopping and taking photos, taking it in turn to stand on the mosaic and others were sitting on the park benches located next to the mosaic taking it all in.

An enterprising busker was sitting on one of the benches in prime position next to the mosaic playing (quite badly!) one Beatles cover after another.

Yoko Ono donated the mosaic in memory of her husband and it gives us all a tangible way of remembering this talented, thought provoking Liverpudlian and reflecting on the needless violence that ended his life.

John LennonJohn Lennon wanted us to ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ as he sang in his immortal song of the same name that became an anthem for the anti-war movement in America in the 1970’s.

In the mosaic the word ‘Imagine‘ reminds us of his message in that timeless song of how simple life could be if we just lived in harmony:

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…..”

Just as we quietly reflected on John Lennon and his simple messages of peace we heard raised voices.

What the f**k, you have been here for an hour man, you know we all get an hour. Now it’s my turn so get the f**k out of here

Apparently busking here is lucrative business and the busker next in the rota wasn’t going to lose out to the guy who had prime position. He wasn’t shy either and gave the other guy as good as he got:

F**k you man

The mood was now quite aggressive and these two had no bother putting on a performance for all of us that was slightly against the spirit of John Lennon!

We politely moved on before the temperature rose any further and went about our day and wondered if John Lennon’s simple idea of living in harmony is just impossible?

Isis. the Ukraine, human nature, consider what’s going on in the world today ….maybe we just can’t help ourselves?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

For the people who colour outside the lines

August 9, 2014

Moriartys, Gap of Dunloe

I had a fascinating chat with Phil Cullen, the Mountain Man himself who is the really nice guy who started the Mountain Man Brewery in a place that I had never heard of before, Renanirree in Cork. Apparently it is somewhere in the Gaeltacht area with Macroom being the nearest town.

I met Phil at the official launch of the spectacular Heather Restaurant at Moriarty’s at the foothills of the Gap of Dunloe. We were privileged to be looking after the PR for the Moriarty’s new venture and Phil was one of the many artisan local producers that feature in the restaurant who were showcasing their wares as part of the event. If you get a chance at all take a spin to this fantastic restaurant in a breathtaking location and enjoy some incredible food. The team of Denis Pio, Ailish and Jennifer have created a real gem in the KIngdom of Kerry.

Phil, a civil engineer by profession has followed his passion like so many other craft brewers that seem to be exploding onto the market in Ireland. The collapse of the building trade made it easy for this enthusiastic home brewer to make the move and start the business in the Derrynasaggart Mountains in 2012.

Phil Cullen, Mountain Man BrewingPhil who had been home brewing for 11 years, saw an explosion of micro-breweries in Canada where he lived for a few years and the return to Celtic Tiger Ireland in 2005 just before the ‘wheels fell off‘ turned out to be perfect timing for him and his new venture.

Take one peep at the website for Mountain Man Brewing and it captures both his unique spirit and the spirit of revolution that is starting to take hold in Ireland.

We are fed up of the same, we crave things that are not only different but that are genuinely authentic.

We want this in our food, we want this in our drink. we want it in our music, we want it where we visit, we want it where we stay, where we eat, where we drink and we want it in our entertainment.

I believe there is a huge movement back to things that are real and authentic, which for me is all about appreciating craft and produce that is made with passion but it is also a rejection of all things ‘plastic‘ that poisoned us during the reckless, commercial, greedy and very shallow Celtic Tiger era.

We are getting back to so many things that are really important and in many ways rejecting some of the awfulness that was allowed to creep into our Ireland.

We can even see this in the latest trends with Irishmen. Phil’s beard might be something you would expect in the hills of Derrynasaggart but now we are seeing this ‘back to nature‘ look on our city streets everywhere!

I was telling Phil how a Guinness Sales Director said to me about 20 years ago when I was working there that he was surprised that more was not being made about the ‘Craft of Irish beer‘ at the time. This new director, just in from the UK could not understand how more was not being made of the craft and heritage and was surprised that the Guinness company wasn’t grabbing this more …he was right!

While Guinness always explored new products the priority was always the big prize with big volumes of big brands and in some ways less choice may have been an easier option.

Phil mentioned that he toured one of the big breweries and he asked the brewmaster some question about alternative brews. He was surprised when the brewmaster replied that brewing this one product was all that he knew.

Can you imagine turning up everyday and producing exactly the same thing over and over with no variation to an exact formula, which is the case with most of what we consume. The opposite sounds like heaven where you can experiment with ingredients, try different blends always bringing out something new.

Food from Heather Restaurant, Moriartys, Gap of DunloePhil quickly reminded me that the skills of that brewmaster are also essential as you do need the guys who understand how to produce quality consistently, which is just as important with craft beers.

While we love difference we need it to be reliable!

The tagline on Phil’s website perfectly sums up the spirit of Mountain Man, the Moriarty’s, the artisans, and anyone trying something new “Beer for people who colour outside the lines“.

Are you colouring outside the lines?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Are you singing the right song?

June 22, 2014

 

Elton John

We were chilling out the back garden enjoying this fabulous summer weather with our books and some music playing in the background.

I had assembled a very random playlist for the occasion and one to suit both me and Deirdre. I couldn’t be too selfish so there was a mix of George Michael, Glen Miller, Elton John and even Abba mixed in with some of my own favourites but nothing too self indulgent (that meant the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were nowhere to be heard!).

Out of the blue on came that fabulous song by Elton John ‘Song for Guy’ which took me right back to my days of piano lessons.

When we talk about my piano lessons its a topic that brings about lots of stories. I did piano lessons for about five years from the age of seven till I was twelve when my mother eventually relented and let me pack up.

I guess she always wanted both me and my sister Laura to play the piano or at least learn some instrument – she wanted this for us and no doubt it cost her a pretty penny down through the years. Ironically I hated pretty much every single lesson and practicing even more, which is strange as I love music and would love to be able to play some instrument today.

For some strange reason my mother still has the note book from my last piano teacher “Greg is wasting my time, his time and your money

..that was a little harsh!

Song for Guy‘ was the very last song I learnt. I loved the song and as a result I actually did practice it and I reckon if I had the sheet music in front of me now and I practiced long enough I might just about figure it out again (then again I could be dreaming and overestimating my talent!)

This was the teacher’s big favour to me. Mrs Murphy agreed to let me learn a song that I liked and it made all the difference. Once this song was done she then wanted me to learn one of her choices – I had wanted to learn some Queen song (to be fair to her she probably knew this was way beyond my limited capability!) but she insisted on her choice and I quickly lost interest in my piano lessons again.

A twelve year old protesting week in week out was just too much for my mum so my career as a pianist came to a end!

Coincidentally later that evening I was chatting to a relative who was very concerned about her son who had just received his 5th year exam results. He had done really badly and she was really worried about him. Her son appears to be totally disinterested, he is very laid back and extremely lazy when it comes to his studies.

Understandably she is worried about him heading into the critical final year of secondary school, which can unfortunately shape your subsequent career path.

She then told me an incredible story about him.

School Play

During transition year he was quite interested in getting involved in the school play. This really surprised her as he is normally quiet and very reluctant to push himself forward. He asked the teacher could they do a particular play but the school had already decided on something else.

He wasn’t prepared to accept “no” for an answer so he asked for permission to do the play he wanted without the help of the school. He promised he would organise and coordinate the whole thing.

He recruited the actors, he sourced the scripts, he acquired the stage props and he directed, produced and acted in his own play.

At the end of term his play was the opening act for the official school play and apparently it was really funny and quite brilliant. It turns out that when he is motivated her son is a creative, organised and determined leader once he sets his mind to it.

While it is easy to say “don’t worry” about his exam results it is clear that he is very talented and it is just a question of him finding the right song and then letting him sing it!

Are you singing the right song? 

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork


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