“Guitar Star” is a short television series on Sky Arts. It is a talent contest, aiming to find a star guitar player. I normally avoid talent contests on television like the plague, but since I do like guitar music and Sky Arts have shown themselves to be above the crowd-pleasing gimmicks of other channels (raucous major key numbers when we are supposed to be happy, minor key strings when teary-eyed Annie dedicates her off-key rendition of “Wind beneath my wings” to her dead granny/ dog/ lost comfort blanket, high-pitched, over-enthusiastic presenters in over-tight suits, Z-list celebrity ‘judges’, 90 minute programs with 4 minutes of actual music, you know the ones), I thought I’d watch it.
The detail of the program isn’t important, but in one episode the Montenegrin classical guitarist Miloš made a statement that rang true. He said:
“In order to build a beautiful house, you need a strong foundation and the foundation can only be achieved by very, very hard work. Hard work is everything until you get to the very, very top of your ability. Then the talent will surface and it will make you stand out or not. And this is what makes the difference between great guitarists and start guitarists.”
Replace “guitarist” with “chess player” and you get the message. Nobody gets to be outstanding without very hard work.
Here are a couple of my favourite moments from the show. Enjoy.