Friday, 13 July 2012

Being Van Morrison

The following article by adrastos at First Draft reveals a lot about a Van fan's questioning his love for the great man.  We all ask ourselves "Why?" but it's a question we can never satisfactorily answer.  Adrastos mentions a bootleg album consisting totally of audio of Van losing it on stage in various countries.  Sounds like a great gift for an enemy.  Anyway, some fans want Van to be nice - something like a cross between Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Paul McCartney.  Nice guys both of 'em.  Van is different and to me more real.  He's got problems, we've all got problems.  also, there's a lot not to like about modern life - the screaming headlines about every tiny issue, the incredible number of rules about everything, the use of taxes to attempt to solve every ill in society, the crassness of modern reality TV, the sudden rise of undeserving music performers, the decline of reading, the growth of facebook and twitter, the increasing influence of Islam in Europe, the increasing sense of entitlement among the young, etc. etc. For Van, he has extra burdens.  Smiling fans approach him thinking he's going to be "awfully nice" about either signing an autograph or being told how wonderful his music is for the millionth time.  Fans in concert demand Brown Eyed Girl and boo him if he refuses to play it!
Social media access seems to make people think they can control their 'celebrities' or music performers.  Now here's a message for the people, especially young people.  That tweet you got from George Clooney?  It came from a PA hired to perform such tasks.  Don't go around saying "George told me he's really enjoying Lake Como".  Don't be an idiot.  Now here's adrastos talking about The Man:      

No, I'm not stalking one of Ireland's finest exports. I'm riffing on the title of the surreal comic film Being John Malkovich. I've always liked Van Morrison's music but wish I knew less about him as a person and have no desire to spend any time inside his head. In a word, Van is dickish. Or is that malakatudinous?  

Van sings like a drunken angel but often acts like a drunken demon. I've seen him live 7 or 8 times and you never know who's going to show up. He's been great, mediocre, bad and downright insulting. A few years back I wrote the following about him at the Adrastos Virtual Cafe:

Van the Man is one of the most erratic and irascible artists ever to hit the stage at Jazz Fest or anywhere else for that matter. His live performances run the gamut from sublime to wretched. You never know what you're going to get with Van and, frankly, my dear, he doesn't give a damn.

There are times when it's perilous to know what some of one's favourite musicians are like offstage. Van Morrison is one of them. He's a big talent who can also be a great big jerk. But I gotta give Van credit, he's not afraid to show his surly side in public. Not long ago, I downloaded a Morrison compilation via Bittorent. But it's not actually a bootleg per se: it's a collection of Van's public tantrums and drunken meltdowns. It's called Who's Grumpy? It was compiled by a fearless chap known as NK.

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