Darren Hanlon

I think I am a tiny bit obsessed with Darren.

He’s the one artist I’d really like to have a chat with one day, and not just to say how much of a fan I was (I’ve done that already). But just to talk about shit. He seems to be so wise, so interesting but also so ordinary/pedestrian at the same time. I think I see a lot of myself in him — not his amazing talent if course — but it’s more I think he shares some of my little thoughts and philosophies and intrigues about the world.

But in saying all this I have only seen him live once. And it’s mostly because I am lazy, but also because I had events conspire against me when he was in town and also because I don’t really know anyone here in Brisbane that loves him as much and would be willing to come with me. (If you are out there — let me know!)

In days gone by that was different. Some of my Briz friends (now living overseas) had him play at their wedding a few years back, but I didn’t know them very well at that time. I am so, so jealous and because I am getting married later this year, I am even more jealous and consumed with envy — a nice “envy” I think. Maybe.

So the one time I saw him was in New York in 2011. It was at a tiny bar in Brooklyn and we’d only just been in town for a few hours and we were jet-lagged, only awake cause we had just got toasty, but also excited to be in NYC again.

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So we jumped in a cab, too fuzzy with fatigue (and booze) to comprehend the subway system or work out maps. And then we saw him play in a room with maybe 30 or 40 people.

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After the show I just had to say “hello” even if I fucked it up and looked like a douchecanoe. I didn’t say much, just “hello” and “this is awkward being an Australian coming to see you in New York”. And then I think I said he was awesome and then I made a retreat before things got out of control. So not too embarrassing I think. Quite an achievement for such a deadshit like me.

It is so hard being a fan and talking to a rock star – especially one you adore. How can you seem sincere? How can you seem like a normal person when you are obviously comprimised by gushing wonder and “unbridled enthusiasm”?

When I was in a band and someone would come up to me after a show and say they enjoyed it I would get so embarrassed. And because I am naturally suspicious of compliments — I would think they were either crazy or just pretending. Of course I would be polite and grateful, but I would not be able to hide my nervousness and awkwardness at this attention.

Anyway — back to Daz.

He has a new song that I cannot help but feel those spine-tinglely sensations about. And when I discovered you could only get it if you bought a t-shirt I decided I wanted that song WAY more than the shirt — which was white and I don’t do white shirts very well. (I am a ginger and white fabric on bleached-white-skin is tragic. Trust me.)

(The other option was snot-green which as it happens suits me even less than white).

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And I ordered the white one and I’ve worn it with pride (around the house and maybe doing the gardening when it was getting too dark for anyone from the street to notice) and it was all so worth it. The song — “The Guitar” is simply amazing. It is draw-droppingly good and such an incredible feat of songwriting. It’s over 8 minutes long and it seems to have been recorded live.

It is a story-song of a trip to a market in Berlin where he discovers an old guitar and the gypsy-seller tells him the epic story of it’s provenance.

It must be at least 2000 words long and written with such dedication and thought and belief. Some of the rhymes are a tiny bit gratuitous but that feels like charm and I know it’s probaby all fantasy – but you still kinda believe the story is real – it is that plausible – maybe only cause Darren is singing it.

Anyway — I will see Dazza live again. I promise.

The other thing I would encourage you to do, apart from listen to his music, is to read his tour diaries/blog. It makes sense that he would be a great writer as well as being so great at everything else.

And also — Cass from the Melniks had some wonderful things to say about Darren in my old zine. Check it out HERE!

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