Just before Christmas, I was fortunate enough to share a few moments with a gentleman I know. A man who I have an incredible amount of respect for as a thoroughly decent human being, an incredible musician, a humanitarian, a recipient of an Amnesty International award, a man who has worked tirelessly in pursuit of levelling the playing field for the downtrodden in our global society, and above all a humble man.
This man is Martyn Joseph.
Martyn has been a professsional in the music industry for the best part of 35 years. However, a large proportion of his amazing work falls under the radar of mass attention.
While being a songwriter and a poet myself, I have followed Martyn’s career, seen him play more times than I can count, and each time have been left with a significant pause for thought. When asked by my friends, about this ‘geezer’ and his music, I have always come back to the common element of describing Martyn as a man whose music has significant social conscience.
Martyn is an inspiration to me, pure and simple.
Food for thought
By contrast, a few days ago, whilst doing the chores required by ‘just an ordinary bloke’, I was at my local supermarket at the ungodly hour of 07.00am … hurtling around like a greyhound … let’s face it people, this is really not the most joyous task of one’s existence, is it?! So, my unilateral focus is to have my list in hand, not to be distracted by anything and go in like a special ops military unit, ready for ‘extraction’ 10 minutes after ‘insertion’! I think you probably get the picture!
Anyway, having collected the items I needed, I headed for the first human checkout I could find. It was a lady, probably in her late fifties or early sixties. I don’t know her name but as I am in the store frequently, faces become familiar so I approached the checkout and greeted the lady.
“Good Morning, how are you doing?” I said.
“Fine, did you have a good Christmas?” she replied.
“Yes thanks and yourself?”
“Yes thanks …” and then she continued in a very serious tone, “I’m afraid the stage I am at now, the only thing I think about is myself and my kids. I am not interested in any of the world’s problems or charities or anything that doesn’t affect me”.
I was stunned, well to be honest I was speechless, which was probably a good thing. I carried on listening as I was packing my shopping, but to be truthful I don’t recall anything else she said because I was so blown away by her statement. Now I don’t believe the lady is excessively rich, but from previous conversations, I know she has a holiday home in Florida and probably has a very comfortable lifestyle, and works at the supermarket, probably for ‘pin money’. I left the supermarket, wishing the lady a Happy New Year, and continued to think on her words.
Arriving home, this short interaction played on my mind with such tenacity that I simply felt I had to write about it. I am not going to write about what I concluded after much thought; I will let you good folks reach your own conclusions about this.
A few days later, while with my best mate, we shared a few humorous memories of when, as kids aged 12, we used to be milk boys. For myself, I would get up at 03.30 am Saturdays and Sundays and work in total for about 20 hours, and get paid two quid. Part of my round was on a very posh estate and the other half was on a council estate. I did this for about three years and, at Christmas, never once got a tip from the folks in the ‘big houses’ … but I would often get a 10p tip from folks on the council estate.
I suppose the only conclusion I can draw from this, for myself, is that there is a big world which, in today’s society, is right on my doorstep. I simply cannot turn away from that, neither do I wish to. If that means going to places where I can simply play a few songs for kids in a refugee camp and give them some temporary relief, or a reason to smile, then I am compelled to do so.
I wish you all peace, love and hope,