Strange thing, Life! I was in Belfast City Hall last night performing for Mayor Tom Bates of Berkley, USA and Californian Senator Loni Hancock. There I was: me, wee Joby Fox, playing “Belfast “, the song I wrote when I was 17. Belfast was a pretty scary place then. It was ’79 and with all the sectarian tit for tat killings and what ever else the thought of getting pick up or picked off was always in the back of your mind. I remember realising back then that things were not normal where I lived!
Punk had just been and gone, and I was falling in love with music. The idea for the song ‘Belfast’ came to me on an old guitar that my brother Hugh had left behind. It was my first song.
Last night at the Mayor’s chambers I expected it would be full of people I wouldn’t have anything in common with, but to my surprise I knew half of the people in the room, and most of them were people I had shared a little something with somewhere a long the way. It pleased me! There was a good down-to-earth open and easy atmosphere. This is Belfast in 2011. A more relaxed place, not all pomp and ceremony – a million miles away from the hopelessness of the past. And we have a mayor who is 26 years old… That’s great!
Playing ‘Belfast’ last night was a moment for me to afford myself a wry smile and a wish that
I could pass the feeling back to that 17 year old lad: ‘wee Joby Fox’, who loved his city so much he wrote a song about it!