Wednesday, 24 February 2010

"Anyone can do this job" Patrick O'Connor

Patrick O'Connor has passed away. I was shocked to realize how young he really was, as he looked eternal, like he's stepped out from the Bible. He seemed beyond time. Please read his obituary. "Anyone can do this job" was what a US Immigration official said about Patrick's job as a music critic. And yes, the official was right. Anyone sentient has an opinion, which is what art is about: you're supposed to respond in whatever way you can. It doesn't matter at all what the opinion is, but how it's arrived at.

Patrick was good to read because he did more than reactions. His opinions put things into context, stimulating you to learn and think and feel beyond the short term. So much opinion's just about consuming product, taking. Patrick, on the other hand, gave. HERE is an example. The concert was cancelled, but Patrick understood why it would have been important, and what it signified, so what he wrote endures. Ultimately that's much more valuable than "I love/hate". At the end of the day, whether one likes or hates anything isn't worth a bean. It's "how" knowledge is processed, and used towards greater understanding and insight. Knowledge makes a difference, but even then it's not quite as important as things like sensitivity, perception, humanity. These aren't things you can learn, like getting a B Mus and thinking you're God. Buddhists teach that "not" being full of oneself is the path to wisdom. Writers like O'Connor, John Steane, Michael Oliver, Neville Cardus, are/were all "ordinary" people but they put what they had to the benefit of others.


ianosmith said...

One of Patrick's tenets was "Life is nothing but one huge bad joke " which says it all.

Doundou Tchil said...

and he was right in that, too..