Poem: the miracle

Will the miracle begin on time?

Will there be an opening act?

Will there be an intermission

To step out for a snack?

Will no refunds be given

30 minutes into the show?

Will it be everything they promised

And when it’s over, can we go?

Poem: Elizabeth

When I write Elizabeth

I do it without shame

or regret

but with intensity

as if we just met

because it is Elizabeth

when I write Elizabeth

there are standards

that i set

and many things

i must not forget

because it is Elizabeth

when i write elizabeth

i use a secret alphabet

that all may read

but none may get

except, of course


Robyn Hitchcock – One Long Pair of Eyes

Usually, surreal lyricism isn’t something you associate with beauty.

But Hitchcock always seems to come up with melodies that transform his odd musings into something transcendent.

This is a good example, originally appearing on his 1989 album Queen Elvis.

It is probably not fair to compare him to Syd Barrett, but I can’t help but think this is what Syd might have done had he managed to keep it together and stay in music.

I also highly recommend Madonna of the Wasps from that album, a soaring bit of jangle pop that manages to be indelibly lovely without compromising its otherness.

Van Morrison

Once upon a time, on Twitter, I observed that I wanted to give a copy of Astral Weeks to an architect and tell them to design a home for me that embodied the spirit of that album.

It has been a long time since I listened to that album.

And I suspect I may never listen to it again.

Two weeks ago, Van Morrison announced he was taking legal action against Northern Ireland’s ban on live music due to COVID-19.

This followed on several anti-lockdown recordings he made, and a statement calling out the ‘pseudo-science‘ around COVID-19 that led to the lockdown.

I get that he is frustrated.

A lot of musicians are.

But his songs, his statement, his legal action, all undertaken as the UK has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, have essentially ruined his music for me.

Morrison has always been a crank and a contrarian.

If you know his back story, some of that is understandable.

But not this.

Over the past year, we have lost John Prine, Manu Dibango, Lee Konitz, Adam Schlesinger, Matthew Seligman, Wallace Roney, Alan Merrill, and Charley Pride, among others, due to COVID-19.

And millions have lost relatives and spouses and friends to the virus.

The fact that Morrison has decided that the best approach to this crisis is to call the evolving science around it ‘pseudo-science’ and to call measures to contain it a form of slavery is not just ill-advised or ignorant.

It is dangerous.

I know people say ‘separate the art from the artist.’

But the art is the artist.

One does not exist without the other.

And so, I am essentially done with Morrison.

To think I once thought that his dabblings in Scientology was his biggest failing