|The Them Synchronised Swimming Team|
Here is a selection of reader comments from the pages of this blog.
TMO - Madame George is an impressionistic painting... a Cyprus Avenue snapshot... dark street lit rainy night with the tragic lonely Madame George in focus. It's the feeling of sadness, loss, dreamlessness.
- I was at the concert at the San Leandro Rollerena to see Them and have been a huge fan of Van Morrison ever since. I was the spring of 1966 and I was 16 years old and had just gotten my drivers licence. This was also my home town and my first rock concert. I was sure glad how Van's music evolved through the years and moved away from rock and cemented his own style that showed his true artistic talent. The world is a better place because of George Ivan Morrison.
- I’ve noticed a few lyrical similarities, and even copies, from JP Dunleavy whose intense vivid portrayals of bohemian life of the 1950s and 1960s. He also references Kerouac and Christmas Humphries. He was only 14 when he left school but clearly wanted as a youth to explore literary works if the day. I can easily imagine that he was just trying his hand at writing in the same trendy vein of the day and it is a mistake to try to make a real story out of a fantasy. Of course, there are more concrete references in those early songs but Astral Weeks was more or less composed on the fly with several different versions performed and recorded, something he still does to great effect.
Unknown - The Maritime Hotel was part of my journey growing up.
- I think Beautiful Vision is up there as one of his very best. Greil Marcus is such an elitist. Beautiful Vision appealed to me because I first encountered it fully while living in Italy, driving through the Mountains with a friend. Its appeal was not immediate, it required repeated listens. The last three songs of the album suggest almost an entirely different direction musically thanks to a Moog synthesizer - and listening to outtakes from the period reinforces this. Celtic Ray pulls you into the Caledonian muse and is immensely listenable as it runs into Northern Muse and into Bailey territory with Dweller. Exploration of what it means to be of Caledonia (the northern regions of the West - the north of Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and how this whole area of earth seems to represent something deeply connected and spiritual to him. This infused with the lyrical ideas from Alice Bailey and Glamour and Religion, provides the connective tissue for Van too.
Jim Stanley - Van has trouble with covers? Have you heard Just like a woman? Or Miss Otis Regrets? Or Take Your Hand out of My Pocket? Or It’s All in the Game, etc.
Wabrit - Walked past Van the Man sitting on a law wall on Little Clarendon Street in Oxford in the early 1980s the afternoon before his gig at the Apollo; decided on balance that it was more respectful to leave him alone contemplating the bright young things than blather some banalities at him.
Unknown - Sorry I missed you Ritchie Yorke. You lived in Erin, Ontario when I finished high school there. I was too young to realise how incredible a knock on your door could have been but old enough to appreciate your Van biography Into the Music. The book you donated to the Erin School Library which started me on a lifelong admiration of Van the Man and his work. If Ritchie's family is reading this, please contact me at email@example.com.
- Did Henry McCullough and Van Morrison ever play together?
Jim Stanley - A common phrase in Belfast is I wouldn’t run a marathon for all the tea in China. Van is kinda turning that on its head as his lovely lady is worth more than all the tea in China. I love the way he uses Belfast sayings in his lyrics, takes me back home. Tore down a la Rimbaud being another fine example.
Dan Boulder - Saw Bobby Irwin play at least five times with Nick and I remember him having a tambourine attached to his high hat stand! I was playing at a club called Los Padrinos in San Antone and I was the only musician there that knew and revered him. He sat in with our band and we never sounded better!!
Geoffrey Gustin - The version of Into The Mystic on July 10, 1974 at Musikladen is the opposite of forgettable. I can't get the guitar solo out of my mind and the piano was first rate. This was a superior arrangement to any other live version recorded.
Anonymous - I think most of the comments have covered every possible meaning of Madam George and those of you from Ireland, might have a more accurate image of the time and place. For me, sure, the transvestite, drug and cop themes resonate. I have continued to listen to Madam George for the last 40 years. Sometimes I try to focus on the lyrics but then the violins take over and vice versa. I's a very nostalgic song and one that hits me every time.
- I’ve been working my way through the post Veedon Fleece catalogue, and so far this album is the one I go back to the most. It is most definitely not the narcissistic teenager that is rock n' roll. Maybe that's why the baby boomers didn't like it. It's grown up music produced at a time when growing up was frowned upon. It's also music for ears from a period when music was being overtaken by visual imagery. Even most of the lyrics aren't strongly visual. It really is a meditation that renders words meaningless.
- Van Morrison lives in Pensacola, Florida on Lakeview Ave in the East Hill neighbourhood. I think he also lives with a songwriter named "Constant Change". Yea, that is her legal name! I know this is true because I had business dealings with them both several years ago.
Anonymous - Simon Gee (editor of the Wavelength Van Morrison fanzine) has now retired from the music business.
- Friend and I were debating about what drink to use as a toast for Van's birthday. I laughingly suggested that any such drink must contain bitters. Then I came across a drink containing bitters called The Wealthy Bastard. We had quite a laugh. Happy Birthday, Van the Man.
Anonymous - I saw him at the Orpheum in LA when he did Astral Weeks. Flew from the east coast to the west coast for one day...worth it. But here's my dream. I was somewhere with Van at a music contest, like Name That Tune. His sweater was filthy and when I asked him about it he pointed out a butter stain, like it was a beloved family photo.
- Hi, Here are all the official Van gig dates of the 1985 Australian Tour: Melbourne - February 25, 26 and 27. Adelaide - March 2. Brisbane - March 5. Sydney - March 7 and 8. There was a Perth Entertainment Centre show. I'd like to know the date, because I was there! I've got a photograph of the Man at this gig. I cannot recall Mr Morrison talking at all. It was just head down and one song after the other until the show was finished; no encore. He played Summertime in England, my favourite song at the time. The crowd response was subdued. As the show progressed I was able to move up to the barrier and I spent most of the concert there. For a kid, it was quite special to be that close to this remarkable musician, and I loved every minute. Though others grumbled about his lack of interaction with the audience, I just thought he was great.
- I attended the show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 8 March 1985. Was looking forward to it for weeks. Started with an instrumental version of Moondance that went for 15 minutes. On walked Van who played for half and hour and was booed off stage. Only song I remember was St Dominic's Preview. Toyed with burning all my Van albums when I got home. Despite the concert, still love his music.
Rodney Olsen - There was definitely a Perth show. I was there. Raefaal's story is spot on. There were a lot of people walking out through the night as Van didn't communicate with the crowd apart from mumbling a band introduction a couple of songs from the end of the show. I loved it.
- Still no confirmation of the Perth date. Songkick and the Van Database show the 7 other Australian dates in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. Could it be that there wasn't a Perth date? Is there any confirmation anywhere of the Perth show.
Anonymous - Van Morrison is the Picasso of Rock Music. He takes these songs apart and puts them back together in so many freaking ways. It's like cubism.