The turbulent mind of Sinead O’Connor

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There is little doubting the uniqueness of  Sinead O’Connor’s voice. When you listen to “Nothing compares to you” you can’t but fail to be moved by it, it gets you every time you hear this rousing song. But what about the singer? I had the pleasure to see her in concert in Paris a few years back. I sensed that there was something quite not right about Sinead, there was a palpable edginess to the concert.

In Ireland she is an icon and the press can’t get enough of her, while at the same time she is depicted as being a wild crazy woman, mentally unstable. She is not afraid to be extremely honest about her childhood and the physical and mental abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother (although other members of her family dispute this). In her own words…“I never took time to recover from what had gone on when I was growing up, and to establish a sense of self,” she says, quietly but surely. “The big problem if you are a child abused is that you don’t really have a strong sense of your own identity. She obviously is struggling to come to terms with her childhood, but also the pressures of fame.  In July 2003 she said pertinently “I seek no longer to be a ‘famous’ person and instead I wish to have a normal life,” adding “Could people please afford me my privacy?”

Sometimes her so called “crazy antics” have been very public. Tearing up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live in America in 1992, was followed by coming stage at a tribute concert for Bob Dylan, wrapped a rastafarian prayer cloth around the microphone and sang an unaccompanied version of “War”, a musical rendition of a speech Haile Selassie made to the United Nations in 1963, to which Sinead added her own lyrics focusing on child abuse.  Her performance drew mixed reactions, some booing.

It seems like Madonna, on her Australian tour is going through  a Sinead type phase.

Ripping up a picture of the pope brought about an inevitable  backlash with leading Roman Catholics attacking the singer and urging the faithful not to buy her records. Her relationship with religion seems complex.  She raised many eye browses when it was revealed  she had been ordained as Mother Bernadette Marie by Bishop Michael Cox of the rebel Tridentine Order, at Lourdes. Irish and American newspapers went for Sinead viciously dubbing her “mad”, “deranged” and ” weird”.

Effecting Sinead deeply has been custody battles for her daughter, which even made her contemplate suicide. “I have made one suicide attempt in my life, and that was on my 33rd birthday, after a session in court that day where it was suggested that for the rest of my life I would only see my daughter once a month. I made a very serious suicide attempt, and I did almost die.” She seems dogged by this notion that she is mad.

Sinead O’Connor for many years was deemed to suffer from Bi Polar, which was later proved false. She announced “I do not in fact suffer from Bi Polar disorder and never did . . . and should never have been put on the medication . . . They are extremely debilitating drugs. Tiring to the extreme. Ironically, extremely depressing. They can cause suicidal or self-harm type thinking.” O’Connor said, in an interview in the Irish Mirror, “I’m delighted to be able to say that after ten years of poisoning myself with these drugs and having to live with the extremely difficult side-effects of them I can shortly begin the very, very slow indeed, process of getting them out of my system and my life and getting my life back.”

This poses the question could the constant cries by the media  that Sinead is crazy influence Doctors. Sinead went through a ten year period with different psychiatrists, none of them alluding the effects of the medication she was under.

Sinead seems to be making a constant cry for help. She seems horribly misrepresented by the press. If she is crazy it is a wonderful crazy.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.

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Births and Dispatches on Christmas Day…

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We have no choice (normally) the day we die….William Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday…There are certain days you wouldn’t wish to die on…one such being Christmas day.

Did you know the great Charlie Chaplain passed away on Christmas Day?
Joan Miro, the Spanish surrealist painter, died at his home in Majorca after a substantial life, aged 90.

Go back many years and you will find Adrian I, Italian Pope (772-95), who also enjoyed longevity dying aged 95.

In more recent times you find in 2004 – Gennady Strekalov, Russian cosmonaut left earth for the afterlife.

In 1995, Rat Pack member Dean Martin died on Christmas Day, at the age of 78.

In 2006 – the legendary James Brown, rhythm & blues, gospel, jazz, soul and funk singer dubbed The Godfather of Soul passed away following a heart attack.

Eartha Kitt, American actress and singer, (she has that instantly recognizable voice) died in 2008.

There are those equally unlucky in a way who are born on Christmas day. Christmas birthdays are so rare: according to a 2006 Harvard University study, December 25 is least common day for births (after February 29)
One such person is Shane MacGowan, lead singer of The Pogues, also a man who must lick his lips around Christmas, as he must look forward to royalties for a well-known Christmas hit, The Fairytale of New York.

One of Hollywood’s leading men during the 20th Century, Humphrey Bogart also celebrated his birthday day on December 25th every year until his demise in 1957

Annie Lennox, that singer with the fantastic voice, one time lead singer of the Eurythmics was also born on Christmas day.

A brilliant influential musician Cab Calloway, celebrated as one of the undisputed giants of jazz, scat pioneer Cabell “Cab” Calloway came to define the Harlem sound, is another born on Christmas day. Cab Calloway is noted for his barnstorming performance of Minnie the Moocher, which received a lot of attention as it was included in the much celebrated “Blue Brothers” film.

Sir Isaac Newton One of the most influential scientists of all time who formulated the laws of Gravity. Sir Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day in 1642.  The  legend goes he was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell and hit him on the head, thus giving him the idea for gravity…maybe the reality was different.

I happened to see Quentin Crisp give a talk in Vienna many years ago. Quentin is another born on Christmas day. His life was subject to a film, “The Naked Civil Servant” which starred John Hurt. Quentin Crisp was a kind of 60s version of Oscar Wilde.

Have you ever seen Stephen King’s Carrie, then you would know the actress Sissy Spacek. She spent her late teenage years hanging out at Andy Warhol’s infamous Factory

 

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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…

I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.

Living in the Shadow of a Genius

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What would the world be like, if all gifts and talents were shared equally. A Utopian world of matching talents… A world in which all spoke with the wit and eloquence of Oscar Wilde. All had the calm of Buddha. Could sing with voice of Aretha Franklin, Bjork, Kate Bush, or perhaps Elvis Presley, or Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, or whichever singer you deem great…Could dance like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Margot Fonteyn, Vaslav Nijinsky, Josephine Baker, Rudolf Nureyev or “Pina” Bausch. Could draw like Leonardo De Vinci or MichaelAngelo, or depending on your taste Picasso. Could run as fast as Usain Bolt. Have the brain Einstein. Write a piece of music as powerful as that of Carl Orff: Carmina Burana, or Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Brahms.

But no…we are all blessed with a variety of different talents, at different levels. “God” does not bestow talents far and wide, only the lucky few are blessed…and the rest of us can only admire with awe…or perhaps curse our luck…

I was really impressed by Amadeus, a film directed by Miloš Forman, written by Peter Shaffer. Two men (different ages) go down the same path, of being musicians. We can say that the Antonio Salieri character, is by most people’s standards a reasonably talented musician, the trouble is he has to coexist in a world of Mozart…this prodigy who has this natural talent and to put it crudely the “X factor”. Salieri is crushed into mediocrity by the looming shadow and pure talent and glaring genius of Mozart.

In my story “Slashed” I write about two brothers. One is a genius painter (a Leonardo type figure) the other is rather like Salieri, left behind in the wake of his looming shadow. The genius brother is simply called “Maestro”. The brother Constanzi arrives by chance drunk at Maestro’s studio and forces his way in. He is stunned by the brilliance of the work of his brother, which is about to be shipped off for a major exhibition, his brother’s name on the verge of being cemented in immortality… Constanzi then goes on a rampant wave of Art vandalism, pouring paint, dubbing graffiti…slashing works…It is not puerile vandalism…it is laced with revenge…but I also imagine him conducting himself like Jackson Pollock…there is elements of creativity…be it in a style that does not exist in the epoch the story is pertains to. The two brothers are both painters, but one has been given an incredible gift, the other the far lesser light is prone to be accused of living off the coat tails of his eminent brother and has little chance of flourishing, whatever he does. Constanzi’s destruction is a way of cleansing all the pain and hurt he has experienced over the years.
Here is a short exert from the story…as Constanzi enters his brother’s studio.
Even drunk, and in the gloomy light, the works looked
magnificent, more so than the few people who’d been privy to see
them claimed.
Swaying back and forth, he marveled at the way hundreds of jars
of pigment were meticulously laid out each according to hue. In front
of the jars were rows and rows of brushes arranged in descending
thickness. Unlike his, this studio was impeccably organized. He
mumbled something unintelligible, and listened to it echo throughout
the room. This studio felt more like a mausoleum, or, at the least, a
sacred space, leaving him feeling small and unimportant.
Unimportant? He’d show everyone he was far from being unimportant,
his inebriated mind screamed.

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