I have skills. Mad skills. I’ll even end it with a …z if you want.
My skills are simple but effective. Fine, motor or otherwise.
I can make people talk. Make ‘em laugh. Believe in themselves. Achieve what they set out to do.
I can pick things up. Spin plates. Be open and honest. I can get to the heart of a problem and I can surround myself with better, more talented people – to get the job done.
I can pick my nose with my tongue. Get it right up inside there. There are other benefits to this skill. Like when you are in the zone and want to lick out a jar of Nutella. Not all the way to the bottom. It’s not that big.
I can play bowls, beat match without a sync button, work my way through a wine list or cook a meal via the thoughts and words of a dozen cooks or more.
Skills. Mad skills.
As I listen to the audiobook of the Beastie Boys, aside from being late to the party and having an exceptionally cold take, I realise that – well, maybe – I don’t have talent.
Skills are great. They get you somewhere. Higher – further. Talent gets you further than that. Blows others away. Creates a space for you where no others have stood before.
I hadn’t really thought about it that way until I listened to the intricate details of how Adrock, M.C.A. and Mike D set about making the music they did. From going on tours as teenagers, releasing an album in their early 20s – making videos, adapting sound techniques, creating magazines and labels. Generally defining the lives and generations of those around them.
That’s talent. That’s way beyond skill.
I have a way with words, a lightness of touch, insight, clarity and understanding. I have skills that have got me to where I am – but I don’t have talent. Not in the sense that spun around inside my head as I listened to artists, musicians and actors bring to life the words – no, the lives of three exceptionally talented men. One, sadly no longer with us.
I’m OK with this. I have talented people in my life. We can’t all be talented. Sometimes you need skills. Mad skills. To get you and the talented people to where we all need to be.
In the spirit of the audiobook, I’d like to apologise to the Volkswagen Polo owner who lived on St Andrew’s Avenue in Sudbury Town, London in 1986. Who woke up one morning to find a circular hole in the front of their car where the VW badge should have been. My bad.