Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

Christopher Maloney, some Celtic history and my challenge for 2014

Confession. I have a weakness for soppy British talent shows.

Remember Pudsey the dog?

Only Boys Aloud?

Paul Potts from Wales?

Well, this week, I came across another scalp pricking performance thanks to @frecles24 posting the clip on Twitter. It's over a year out of date. I don't get to watch these shows live, residing in Australia as I do. But I thought, hey, if I missed it, there's a chance you may have too.

Christopher Maloney is a Liverpudlian and, from his surname, it's not hard to detect his Celtic heritage. Historically, the Celts inhabited large tracts of what we now call England. With the coming of the Romans, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes and Normans…, these people's were displaced, and much of their language and culture lost. Even today, populations of Celtic heritage suffer the similar health problems, suicide rates and and socio economic status as other indigenous populations of the world.

Liverpool (or Lerpwl as the Welsh spell it) is a Lancashire town at the mouth of the Mersey River. Lancashire was known for it's cotton mills in the nineteenth century when Liverpool was a thriving industrial port. Being only a short ferry trip from Dublin, the city has attracted its fair share of Irish immigrants over the years. Most notably during the potato famines. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Liverpool's population.

The city is also known for its large Irish population and its historical Welsh population.[97] In 1813, 10 per cent of Liverpool's population was Welsh, leading to the city becoming known as “the capital of North Wales”.[97] Following the start of the Great Irish Famine, two million Irish people migrated to Liverpool in the space of one decade, many of them subsequently departing for the United States.[98] By 1851, more than 20 per cent of the population of Liverpool was Irish.[99] At the 2001 Census, 1.17 per cent of the population were Welsh-born and 0.75 per cent were born in the Republic of Ireland, while 0.54 per cent were born in Northern Ireland,[100] but many more Liverpudlians are of Welsh or Irish ancestry.

Now, I don't know Christopher Maloney's background. Whether he was poor, unemployed, had health problems in keeping with other indigenous populations. But I do know two things from watching this YouTube clip.

  1. He faced a wrecking ball of self doubt. People had told him he wasn't good enough. And he'd believed them. So much so that he'd torn up his X Factor application five years in a row. As he stood on the stage this, sixth time the enormity of the step was written in his tear-filled eyes and trembling hands.
  2. Over the years, one person did believe in him. His Nan. She was there, back stage, and the affection between them was tactile. Now call me sentimental but there is something compelling about a thirty-four year old man standing in front of thousands and admitting how much his Nan's support means to him. Frankly, he had my vote, before he'd even opened his mouth.

I'm not going to tell you how this scene plays out. That would lessen its impact. But we all have areas of self-doubt, don't we? Things we'd do differently if only we had the courage. Hopefully, we also have people who believe in us. So, here's my challenge for 2014 – doubt the voice of self-doubt. Believe your supporters. And, if you can get through this video without tearing up, you've got a harder heart than mine.



Some thoughts on Hoovers – and Rod Gilbert


An unco guide to Les Mill’s group exercise classes


  1. Amazing videos, all of them. I went on to watch Christopher’s journey on YouTube – he won the Britain’s X-Factor 2012. Amazing story. It just makes you think of what talented people could be out there – in all areas – who are just being held back by poverty or circumstances that mean they have no ability to really know how wonderful they are. Thanks for sharing this with us, Liz.

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