Arise Sir Van

The Birthday Honours list contained one name that made me sit up, well metaphorically anyway. Van Morrison is a knight.

Ok, he’s not a member of the Order of the Garter or anything, but bloody hell. Sir Van. Coo. I wonder if he could ever get upgraded to life peer? I am trying to imagine him on those red benches, standing to make a speech opposing cuts in the arts or something. I can’t see him taking prisoners.

Apparently he got it “for services to the music industry and tourism in Northern Ireland”.

That last bit made me chuckle. He has probably done more to put bits of NI into the imagined map of the country than anyone else, but it would be far from intentional. The idea of Van being the face of NI tourism belongs to something penned by Armando Iannucci. Can you imagine it, Van’s face scowling out from beneath his pork pie hat on billboards encouraging you to visit the sights. No, far better let his words and music do the work.

Still, City Airport has already been renamed Georgie Best Airport, so why shouldn’t Aldergrove, aka Belfast International, a destination I am heading for again in a few short weeks, become Van Morrison Airport? They could play his music in an endless loop, which would make me very happy.

And It Stoned Me should prepare anyone for a stay in NI, especially the weather.

There was a piece in the Belfast Telegraph last year about VM themed walking tours. It’s well worth reading, and I do like the word Vanorak. Read it here. Continue reading

Replay: Van the Man

I repost these oldies from MyT in no particular order, This one is from November 2009 and I had been on the boat. I had evidently been chatting with Brendan, whose blog I have been neglecting recently, about Van Morrison. The man is a genius. I doubt if I’ll ever be asked onto Desert Island Discs, but I reckon Astral weeks would be the album I would want to take with me.

 I didn’t get to connect Friday, but am home and online now.

Maybe there’s a secret to it t to which I am not privy, but getting out of London on a Friday afternoon is always a nightmare. I have to travel less than seventy miles so why should the journey take nearly three and a half hours?
OK, I hate motorways, and even if I didn’t ,they are impractical given Cat’s travel sickness record. Believe me, when your car smells of cat sick and the animal responsible is crying loudly you want to be able to stop quickly and clean up, not count the miles until the next exit. But the first of my traffic problems were well before any motorway was in sniffing distance. Near gridlock in SE16.
How come so many people are free to travel in the afternoon? They can’t all be like me, part employed/part freelance can they? And was today really National Bad Driving Day, or did it just feel like ir?
Fortunately Cat slept soundly all journey apart from when I stopped for the loo and to get some food shopping..
The radio was tuned to Radio Two. It was the Steve Wright show. Normally I can’t stand then man . His continued success is a complete mystery to me, but he was playing some good tunes today and had interesting guests. But after a while I couldn’t bear listening to him anymore and , thanks to last night’s ‘conversation’ with Brendano, I had a couple of Van Morrison CDs with me. Well, more than a couple actually. And as I type I’m continuing to listen to him. And he’s glorious,
The marina is pretty empty tonight so I’m hoping no one has heard me when I have felt the need to sing along,. Because Van is a Genius. Deliberate capital G. not a typo. Moody and unpredictable ,as anyone who has been to see him live will know, but an undeniable Genius. And when you do go to see him live, .it’s part of the evening’s excitement and entertainment, not knowing whether he will be Van the Performer or Van the Sulky Bear who hides at the back of the stage barely acknowledging the audience.
So tonight I’ve been singing and dancing and remembering just how good and how wide his range is. Listening to tracks old and new and hearing how his voice has changed, and how he has continually explored and experimented. And I feel amazingly lucky that his career has spanned my life from his Them days onwards – oh Gloria!. I am so struck by the integrity of his music and the way it connects at such a visceral level. Straight to the guts and heart,
And Madame George comes on and I know I am alive, and I’m glad!
The connection tonight is dreadful, so if I manage to post this it’ll be an achievement in itself. In case that’s all I manage to do, goodnight all.