|Alex Higgins - world champion in 1972 and 1982|
As a blogger I decided to put a Facebook page so I can share my work with more people that have the same passion as I do. I have many friends, don’t ask me all their names for I can’t remember all 1,198 of them :-)) and while some of them prefer just to read and like my posts, some or them prefer to interact and chat about snooker related subjects. One of them is Snooker King a huge snooker fan and an everlasting admirer of the one who changed the way we look at snooker- Alex Higgins. He dedicated a FaceBook page (you can find it under the name of Snooker King) and a FaceBook group (under the name of “Alex was the man”) for his favorite player. It always moves me the story a true fan, not a fanatic one but one with strong rationality and with strong and healthy beliefs like Snooker King is.
Snooker Loopy: Needless to ask you if you are a Higgins` fan :-)), but please tell me how did this passion for snooker start?
Snooker King: “Alex Higgins ignited my passion for snooker. He was amusing, unorthodox, bewildering complex, funny, charming and annoying just like any other human being but he was also a genius gifted player with a unique playing style. In my view no one could ever defeat the “Hurricane” as log as he was at his peak all the time. I couldn't stop watching the television when he was on, he was so charismatic!”
SL: You’ve dedicated a FaceBook page and also a FaceBook group to the late Alex Higgins. When did all this start and how did you come up with the idea?
SK: “I don't believe Alex got the recognition he deserved. Yes, he wasn't always the best behaved person on the planet but he had so much to cope with from a young age and never really had the people or real friends to look after him, in my view, although I understand how difficult it must have been for those around him. I decided to start the page as an ongoing memorial to the “Hurricane”.”
Without any doubt Alex Higgins has captured the minds and souls of generations and although he left us to play “heavenly” snooker up there he will still inspire and mesmerize people. Maybe many of you didn’t see anything special when you first saw Alex, but when “The Hurricane” was in action, then everything was changing and nothing would ever be the same.
Snooker treasures its legends but fans do it in a more special way, the support that Snooker King has received for starting this online campaign being huge.
One day I read something really awesome on his page, the fact that a friend of his had written a song tribute for the late Alex Higgins and that he will publish it very soon on his profile. To be honest I was very nervous at the time, I thought that it will be some really “silly lines-nothing profound about it” kind of song…but it wasn’t. It was such a genuine way of paying a tribute to a man that has inspired some many players and people. When I first listen to the song I was totally stunned by the message, the way things were being said (or sang), about the story, the feeling that it gave me and by the end of it I found myself tearful. It was a piece of art …right there on a FaceBook page. So this type of communication is not just about crazy, creepy people trying to steel your identity and hack your account, is it? :-))
The name of Snooker King’s friend, the song composer is Joe McNally, an artist with a big soul and meaningful inspiration on board :-) I wanted to know more about him so I asked him to share some sort of “short biography” so people will know more about “who’s the man behind the artist” and that’s how I found out he has been a musician for approximately 25 years, that he is a self taught pianist and that he loves all genres of music.
Snooker Loopy: Please tells us more about your musical career. How did it start?
Joe McNally: “I spent three years as a musical director for Emerald Music Ireland selling in access of 150.000 units for the company in that time. In 2008 I won a place on the BBC new songwriters talent contest for up and coming songwriters. I have been mentored by Tony Arata (writer of Garth Brooks` song "The Dance") and Jason Blume (who has written hits for Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and NSync) to name but a few. I have currently set up my own music company UAC Music.”
|Alex with one of his closest friends, Jimmy White|
Joe McNally: “I have always been a fan from a young age and was mesmerized by Alex Higgins and his utter brilliance on the snooker table but also intrigued by his off the table antics. He was a one off like no other and there will never be another “Hurricane” Higgins.”
So in love with snooker due to a player special performance…sounds familiar right? Some of you, my dear readers, have found yourselves in this short sentence? :-P I think so. :-)
SL: How did you come up with the idea of writing a song for/about “The Hurricane” Higgins?
Joe McNally: “Two days after Alex had died I was very moved at some of the old pictures and television clips of him and was inspired to write the song “Alex was the Man”. It took me two days to write and a further two days to come up with the musical arrangement etc.
My idea was to ask local celebrities from Northern Ireland to sing the song as a tribute to Alex unfortunately it was not taken up and I must say I was very disappointed with this. I decided to go on my local radio station U105 and spoke to presenter Frank Mitchell and explained what I had been trying to do. He wished me all the best but really even he said he couldn't see me getting the stars to do it. After my radio interview the station was inundated with calls about the song and one woman suggested I sing it myself which I duly did and here we are.”
An interesting journey so far and who knows what the future might hold?! Well, the future has had some really excitant plans for the song and Mr. Joe McNally, as the “big boss”, “the man full of innovative ideas”, Mr. Jason Francis from the Snooker Legends tour was checking the latest news on his FaceBook page. And just like me, he found something that deserved more attention and more publicity. Mr. Francis was so kind as to share with me his thoughts on the subject.
Jason Francis: “As soon as this year’s tour was launched fans were asking whether or not we intended to run any sort of tribute to Alex Higgins. As you know the last time he played was for us at the Crucible in April at the launch of the legends tour.
Via FaceBook I heard of Joe McNally and the tribute song he had written and Snooker King had done an excellent job of running a series of photos to accompany this song. This gave me an idea: we have TV screens at our events that show the scoring and I felt what better tribute to Alex than to play this song at all our events and run our own montage of pictures to accompany it.
The response to the song has been amazing so we've gone one better and got it published and it will be for sale for the very first time at our Ronnie O'Sullivan v. Jimmy White exhibition on February 1st and even if you can't get there you'll be able to hear it, and see the pictures, as we are streaming the event for fans all around the world. This is a fantastic tribute to Alex and I am really pleased we are able to help Joe launch his song.”
So here it was, the most important thing had happened and the song got its well deserved publicity. Such thrilling news for Alex Higgins` fans and for snooker fans in general! But there is more to the story, as one of Mr. McNally’s biggest dreams is that this song tribute will help in making a film about the life of the “Hurricane”. Something has been made in that direction, as I have been told by Mr. McNally, for there is a play dedicated to Alex Higgins witch runs at The Grand Opera House in Belfast (starring Richard Dormer) , play that has been re-launched 1 month ago. It was originally launched back in 2002 and Alex himself turned up at many of the shows and he loved the show.
“The guys at the Opera House will be playing my song at the celebrity VIP reception on Tuesday 25h of January and I have been invited to the show as a special guest. My ambition now is to get this song onto any film that will be made about Alex Higgins` life.”
I took the liberty to ask Mr. McNally if he plans on writing songs about other snooker players and he replayed that as a continuing writer and composer if he would receive any requests he will be honored to do it. So beware snooker players, the next song might just be about you! ;-)
Inspiration can come from many places: from a little child who’s playing at the park with a ball, from a hard working man, from the image of a perfect sunny day, from a smile but it can also come from … inspiration. Yes, inspiration generates inspiration and if that sounds stupid, just think about the person that has inspired you most in your life…think about her or him and tell me if that person doesn’t generate such an enormous flow of energy that can sometimes transform itself into inspiration.
Maybe someday you’ll write a book about a person that inspired you, maybe it will be a song…who` knows? :-) The important thing is that when we are touched by inspiration we feel the need to give something back to the person that has inspired us and that’s what Joe McNally did. Snooker King shared his passion so the two of them team up in a quest of sharing that same passion with the whole world, because they strongly believe that “Alex was the man. “ :-)