So Congratulations Van The Man. Freeman of the City of Belfast.
Who would have guessed it.
Certainly not me in the early 1960s, when I used to walk past the Sailors Club and long haired people in jeans could be seen. Not “Beatles Long Hair”…longer hair, scruffier.
Who knew that Belfast had an R& B band called “Them”?
Actually not many of us…then “Gloria”, “Baby Please Dont Go” and best of all “Here Comes The Night”. Thats a genuine classic.
Then they split up. Van Morrison went to United States, had legal problems with his record company. But “Brown Eyed Girl” is another classic.
And frankly nobody ever heard of him again…until he showed up living in a luxury house somewhere in the Republic of Ireland. Living with a former model.
To be honest, nobody seemed to like him very much. He was…best described as “diffident”. Or “pig ignorant”.
Oh…and doing the cabaret when President and Hillary Clinton visited Belfast and switched on the Christmas Tree lights.
“Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”…..nice wee song but Rod Stewart does it better.
The Christmas Tree thing re-habilitated Van. Suddenly he was OUR ” Van The Man”…not really “diffident” or “pig ignorant”.
He is a CHARACTER. When you are classified as a “character”, you can get away with anything….like wearing dark clothes, shades and a daft hat.
The Christmas Tree thing…..that was the first Days Like These.
Titanic, MTV Awards, G8 Summit, Barak Obama Visit, Derry City of Culture and World Police and Fire Games, all designed to make us feel good about ourselves. Dont mention the fact that Van Morrison from East Belfast gets the Freedom of the City in the same week that a new Peace Wall is announced for ….East Belfast.
So its Bread and Circus Time again.
Another distraction…to take our eyes away from a corrupt government, police inaction at rampant criminality, Orange Culture and Flegs.
And the people will fall for it…again.
Free Tickets to see Van Morrison. And a minor scandal as some have ended up being sold on Tinternet. And dire warnings that if you have bought a “free” ticket for £100, you will be turned away.
Welcome to the “no mans land”….the Shared Space between Post-Conflict and Pre-Conflict.
We will have even more Days Like This.
To dissent from this…is to be a traitor to Belfast, a grumpy old man but surely, there is somebody in public life with the guts to tell the Norn Iron Establishment that the Emperor has no clothes.
All this is a sham.
Someday the Man Who Sold The Monorail to Springfield (The Simpsons) will show up in Norn Iron.
Oh and by the way Van Morrison gets the Freedom of the City of Belfast in 2013 but …in 2001, he was on an Irish Stamp.