Sunday, 4 July 2010

Van is the man

I liked Van Morrison before I ever heard him. Van Morrison is to music what dark matter is to the universe:

In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that is inferred to exist from gravitational effects on visible matter and background radiation, but is undetectable by emitted or scattered electromagnetic radiation. [Wikipedia]
Of course, what I've just written is completely pretentious twaddle.

And, personally, I'd almost certainly heard some Van Morrison already without realising it, although it didn't feel like that when I went out and bought "Moondance", an unlikely pick of record for a teenager in the 1980s, on what felt like a hunch.

I haven't "loved him ever since", and I don't like all his stuff, and he's not my favourite artist, and I understand that sometimes he can turn in a lousy performance, but... on his night he is really great. I saw him this Friday at the Hop Farm Festival in Kent, his singing was great, his songs great, all the musicians were wonderful.

And when all's said and done he's just a working-class Belfast boy that loves music. Van Morrison shows what humans, some of them born very lowly, can do. Here are a few lines from his song "Philosophers Stone" which seemed to me most apt:
Out on the highways and the by-ways all alone
I'm still searching for, searching for my home
Up in the morning, up in the morning out on the road
And my head is aching and my hands are cold
And I'm looking for the silver lining, silver lining in the clouds
And I'm searching for and
I'm searching for the philosophers stone
And it's a hard road, Its a hard road daddy-o
When my job is turning lead into gold
He was born in the back street, born in the back street Jelly Roll...

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