Sunday, 29 May 2016

Vanatic: The Greatest Book Ever Published?

No Poster is Safe With Pat Around
The global publishing coup of 2016 has to be Pat Corley’s first foray into print with Vanatic: the story of a Van Morrison fan.  The book is based on Pat’s 43-year career as a devoted follower of Van Morrison and has has been based on his writings from his Visions of Pat blog which I religiously follow.  Pat is probably the most recognisable Van Morrison fan (other than the few celebs who follow him). He has also reached out to other Vanatics around the globe. 

Vanatic is a privately self-published work printed by the Self-Publishing Partnership of Bath in conjunction with Brown Dog Books.  Pat has produced only 200 copies all of which are signed.  He’s kept more than 50 copies for local friends and the festivals he’ll attend this summer.  However, 130 copies are available online at ebay.  As I put this post up only 30 copies are left. It is being offered for £12.99 plus postage and is a must for all Van Morrison fans. 

Pat at Glastonbury
Naturally I ordered my copy and the 86,000 word and 292 page volume is winging its way to Australia right now.  Copies are selling fast so get in quick.  The book is not another Van Morrison biography written by someone with an axe to grind.  Rather, it is simply the story of one fan’s obsession with Van.  I really am looking forward to reading it. 

For more related Pat Corley stuff read his Vision of Pat blog or you can go to Fan Pop and find a Pat Corley thread there although it offers little that could be considered sensible.  On a personal note, I have made two purchases from Pat on ebay: copies of Wavelength magazine and some Van Morrison ticket stubs.  In both cases he included extra stuff. The man's generous to a fault.  Check out his book store on ebay which specialises in Irish themes, music and beat generation writings.     

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Believe it or Not - Part 9

1. The three piece sister group called Haim admitted they used to play Van songs at state fairs in their parents’ band, Rockinhaim.  

2. On the website Villians Wikia it describes a Vince Van Morrison as a villain from the anthropomorphic web comic Jack who is a hideous mutilated fox who also acts as one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

3.  Van was unable to attend John Lee Hooker's memorial service on June 28, 2001 but daughter Shana Morrison read a message from her father.    

4. A site called the Catalyst Blog suggested that Axl Rose and Van Morrison were twins 'Separated at Birth” by virtue of their resemblance to each other. 

 5. In the book 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, 10 Van Morrison songs are recommended.  Brown Eyed Girl, Into the Mystic, Domino and Cyprus Avenue are included.  

 6. Bryan Adams, Alice Cooper, Destiny's Child, America, Anita Baker, Michael Bolton, Pat Boone, etc. have all been deemed worthy of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, Van hasn't made the cut yet. Van shouldn't be overly concerned since Bob Dylan misses out as well.  

 7. The large key and leather-bound scroll that Van was presented with in 2013 as part of the Freedom of the City of Belfast award was last seen in a 24-hour security control room at Belfast Waterfront.

 8. According to the Belfast Telegraph by 2014 Van had sold 75 million albums.  (And five copies of Lit Up Inside) (Just kidding).

 9. In 2007 it was reported that Van Morrison was looking for a director to make a biographical documentary about his career. reported that Van was interested in a feature along the lines of Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan film, No Direction Home. Van supposedly said, "I have all this material collected and I realised we weren't getting past 1968".

10. Van Morrison was the first famous person mentioned by the Royal Hotel in Bangor in its advertisement for trying to sell the iconic hotel. Wrestler Giant Haystacks was another "celebrity" mentioned in the promotional material.    

11.  In 2001 Van played two shows in Majorca, Spain that were organised by actor Michael Douglas.  Prince Felipe and his sister Infanta Cristina were honoured guests.  Van, ever the contrarian, began his set before the royals were seated.  He also left immediately after the show even though the royals had hoped to meet him.  

12.  Van Morrison was awarded a knighthood for services to music and tourism in his native Northern Ireland. The value in pounds of all those Van pilgrims is at last being recognised.

13.  Van songs are used everywhere. Back on Top was used on New Zealand radio in 2000 when the Kiwis won the America's Cup.   

14. Van made one website's list of the 123 Worst Musicians of All Time. Their stinging criticism consisted of one line, "It’s amazing to think that Van Morrison made Astral Weeks at the age of 23. Most people don’t lose touch and make terrible adult contemporary music until they hit 40."

15. Van Morrison's name was used on an American Psychological blog discussing how to give citations in articles.  The controversy concerned the hypothetical situation where someone's name is 'van Morrison' with a small "v". If Van discovers his Dutch roots he'll know how to properly spell his name.   

Friday, 13 May 2016

Names For Van Morrison

A lot of people seem to be given to renaming Van.  On the one hand people make out that he's the least likely kind of person to receive a nickname yet people seem to have a compulsion to call this incredible performer by anything other than his performing name: Van Morrison.  In my reading about Van I've come across so many names that the whole thing seems like a conspiracy.  Was there a "Name This Man Morrison Competition" or something that I missed?  Why don't Bob, Paul, Neil or Joni attract this sort naming mania?  

By the way, maybe Robbie Robertson start the trend when he called Van "the Belfast Cowboy"?  Here are some of the names I've uncovered so far. I might just turn this into a PhD research project.       

George Ivan Morrison
Van the Man
The Belfast Cowboy
Wee Van
the drunken Irishman
the mad monk
The Curmudgeon
Soul Master
The Irish Mystic
The Mystic Poet
Irish Hippie
An enigma in Celtic garb
the odious toad
The Man Morrison
Van the Sulky Bear
Bard of Belfast
Celtic Mystic
a seer
Sir Van

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Van and Yoga

Here's an interesting post from a yoga site.  The conclusion seems to be that if Van did yoga instead of his music he,d be a little happier.

To say that I have been obsessed by the music prowess of Van Morrison would be an understatement.  This genre-defying songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, soulful singer, and mystic who was recently “knighted” has been my inspiration and my hero.  To claim my number one bucket list item, attending a Van Morrison’s concert in his homeland of Ireland, my husband and I recently made the pilgrimage to the Emerald Isle.

As we explored this magical, mystical island, we would occasionally meet a local and explain that we were visiting to attend a Van Morrison concert in Northern Ireland. The response was usually the same: “Why would you come all this way to see him?  He certainly isn’t known for his friendliness and he doesn’t interact with his audiences at all!”  Always relating to this highly sensitive being, I found myself defending him by explaining that he is just an introvert and it is all about the music for him. The story I tell myself is that he goes so deep inside that he is able to access a creative force and soulful place that most people can’t imagine, and this explains the source of his five decades of iconic music.

Sir Van has been known for closing his eyes or facing his back to the audience for an entire concert -- no encores and screaming at his band members.  I saw him in 2008 when he played Astral Weeks in Chicago (considered by many as his masterpiece and still makes the “best albums lists” of all time).  He began the concert before the scheduled concert time.  There were still hundreds of fans on the sidewalk outside when he started playing.

The bucket list concert itself was indeed a dream come true, with an intimate of crowd of less than 400 people. There was one point during the concert when I had a revelation.  Van is known for his chanting, incantations, and nuances of the voice like mercurial musings.  On this particular evening he was “ranting.”  He ranted on and on about some person trying to ride on his coattails and asking, “Where were THEY when I needed THEM?”  The concert was part of his 70th birthday celebration, and I realized he sounded like a grumpy, old man.  He may gain the respect and honor as someone who has mastered his craft, but what is the point if you aren’t able to relate to people?

It was a reminder of why I practice yoga.  It is not to master some showy poses or to become a famous, celebrity yoga teacher, or for the famed yoga butt.  I practice so that I am able to have intimate, meaningful relationships.  The fruits of the practice are the real litmus test to determine the success of your yoga.  If yoga students are becoming more patient and kind, better listeners, more present and loving, than I think this it a worthwhile practice.  Recently, I had someone tell me that students at Cascade Yoga were gracious and warm.  I don’t know if this type of student is attracted to the studio or if the style of yoga we teach helps to foster this kind of person.  I hope it is a little of both. 
I hate to be too hard on Van the Man.  For the thousands of hours of musical enjoyment, I am truly grateful.  I mean, “He is just a man, trying to do the best he can.  Don’t you understand, I just want some peace of mind.” 

I can’t help but wonder if he spent less time perfecting his music skills and more time practicing yoga, would he be a little nicer?  I would be happy to teach him.