Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Sinéad O'Connor, Pantheism, RTÉ and 100 windows!

Raidió Teilifís Éireann or more often refered to as RTÉ or even RTE is an Irish public broadcasting service.  It is funded by both commercial revenue and a television licence fee.  It could perhaps unfairly be compared with the British BBC.  I never knew that before today but I was drawn to finding out via Woman's Hour on Radio 4 - A BBC radio station.

Since I have nothing better to do I will explain that I woke up in pain.  This is not unusual but invariably the pain gets worse.  When it is the same or less than before I can live with it because I know I have survived it before.  But my legs were aching and my lungs felt as if they had fiery cinders in them.  My heart was beating too strongly and felt as if it was struggling to cope.  I had only slept intermittently and partly the discomfort is a result of that.  Of course the old "cause and effect" question arises - is it anxiety which causes the symptoms and the restlessness or is it the lack of sleep that causes the symptoms and hence the anxiety?  In my opinion it is clearly the anxiety which comes first.  It is caused by too much trauma.  However, if I get enough sleep it does reduce the detrimental effects.  So I awoke feeling crap and turned the radio on.  I listen to Radio 4 because I have managed to tune the damn radio into that station and I don't want to change the settings for fear of losing the good reception.  So it is laziness in a way but I mostly find Radio 4 innocuous even if I cannot stand John Humphrys' amazing and almost fascist naivety and it also contains a lot of interesting material.

It was very interesting this morning.  Woman's Hour was on and someone was singing.  The voice was amazing.  It was Sinéad O'Connor singing "Reason With Me" from the album "How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?"

The section in Woman's Hour was called "Sinéad O'Connor and 2012 musical highlights" and I continued to listen with interest.  Sinéad O'Connor has always impressed and moved me beyond the norm.  I am not a fan as such but, like millions of other people, I was profoundly moved, even stunned, by her video rendition of a cover of Prince's song "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1990.  I could say a lot about that particular masterpiece but it touched me.

Having listened with a great deal of interest to the interview I went to the internet to try to find the song I had heard and the most identifying phrase I could recall was something about minding monkeys (the line transpires to be "I ought to wrap it up and mind my monkeys").  Well what I found was a track called "Monkey In Winter" which was a collaboration with Colourfield...

Reading around the subject of Sinéad O'Conner on Wikipedia I ended up back on YouTube and discovered to both my delight and almost shame that she had also collaborated with Massive Attack.  I discovered it via the Monkey In Winter Track because it was on a compilation called Sinéad O'Conner Collaborations.  Obvious title for an album of collaborations I guess.  But what I discovered was that it is one of my favourite tracks and is on the album 100th Window by Massive Attack.  It is called "Special Cases" and is one of the most haunting tracks I have ever encountered.  I have always loved the vocals and wondered who the singer was.  Now I find out it is the incredible and inimitable Sinéad O'Connor.  How did I ever not realise that?

Here is a version presented by Blagovest Stoichev on YouTube with an interesting video giving a kind of surreal juxtaposition conjuring new interpretation and significance.

Sinéad made a number of insightful and interesting points not least of which being that she prefers to call her "faith" "knowledge".  But she also explained her change in attitude towards Ireland recently and I have taken the liberty to transcribe a short excerpt from the interview because I think it is a valuable observation...

"I've changed my attitude towards Ireland since cringingly embarrassingly recently we had to have a referendum, believe it or not, to establish the rights of children to exist as individuals in their own right.  It was in our constitution that they didn't exist as individuals so they had no rights.  You know, I mean, that's very dark ages kind of stuff.  And when I realised that night that only 30 percent of the population voted I stopped giving a toss about Ireland.  Genuinely;  I don't care anymore.  Up until that point I was interested in campaigning for Ireland.  I had Irish flags painted up the side of my house which I've now changed with Rasta colours.  But now, I tell you honestly, I will never fight for an Irish issue ever again after the fact that only 30 percent of the people voted for children's rights in the constitution.  If that, er, vote had been about material things and money and this, that and the other everybody would have voted.  So I was staggered to see that, you know, you might put in all this love to your country;  70 percent of the people couldn't be bothered voting.  So I couldn't give a toss now.  So I don't care what happens to Irish people anymore."

Unfortunately this is how I am beginning to feel more and more about the people of the world in general.  Particular people are different, of course, but in general they seem like a pretty numbskull lot.  Fantasies such as the Zombie takeover of the world are beginning to seem far less fantasy and frighteningly more like reality.

But during my hunting around for information on Sinéad O'Connor I came across a truly amazing rendition of "Once in Royal David's City" performed Sinéad specifically for Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) for Christmas 2012.  Which is where this article started.

Apparently Sinéad is a pantheist - I think I am too.

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