Gathered at the feet of the legendary Pierce Turner with perhaps a hundred and more others at The Village in Dublin last night and marvelled again at my being there at all. Whilst he doesn't finger the world of branding as such, the man that Hot Press Magazine described as 'Joyce with a voice and Yeats on skates' is scornful of much of what passes in modern life for getting on, driven by the constant 'pep-talk' of business. Instead, he champions a gentler, uncalculating life that is content to be an end in itself and resists the measure of the progress report and the balance sheet.
As I sing the words, I sometimes feel like a fraud or a fugitive from another regime. To read the newspapers and magazines of that other world, it's as if there's no place for anything that's not Premier League, global or franchised. The Village on Saturday night is a far cry from Premier League. There's little that's slick or hyped about Pierce Turner and yet he enjoys a rapport with his ragtag supporters that the big players can only envy (even if they are likely to sneer at his takings at the door).
Most of the businesses that I'm lucky enough to work with are brands that live in a place that's closer to Pierce Turner's '3 Minute World' than to the stadia of the global players. Most are vendors working closely with a loyal group of customers to build something substantial. They resist the temptation to hype their offers, preferring instead to build a business that's based on a genuine exchange between buyer and seller.
If you are to believe the headlines, these are the 'forgotten' businesses, yet they are more real for their customers than many of the celebrity brands that strut across mainstage.
Just as there is something true about a Pierce Turner gig in a three-quarters full Village ("this is my song...and I'm the boy to be with"), there is a brass tacks certainty in the honest exchanges that take place on shop-floors in tens of thousands of small businesses across the country and in millions more across the world.