What I said back then:
It took a long time, appreciating Van. I remember little bits and pieces over the years, but I didn't get it at all. I remember Graeme and I in Phoenix Records in Edinburgh, me looking at all the nasty, hairy rock albums, he emerging triumphant with 'Inarticulate Speech of the Heart'. I didn't get it. Graeme lent me 'Veedon Fleece' so that I could let my future mother-in-law hear 'Streets of Arklow' (she came from Arklow), I didn't get it. Over the years, I heard other songs and snippets, I didn't get it. One year, I bought Zoë 'Have I told you Lately' for Valentine's Day - who says I'm not romantic? I listened to the B side, 'Coney Island', and I started to get it. I bought, or was given, the first Best Of... album, and he started to work his magic.
And then, one glorious late summer day, I'm driving through the borders on my way to Jedburgh. I was on a 3 day trip, doing some research for work, visiting a number of smaller supermarkets and so on. The previous day, I had been back in Perth and had spent the evening in Edinburgh, which put me in a wonderful mood anyway; I had bought A Night in San Francisco to give me something new to listen to on the way home, and it was helping to speed the journey along. Then, somewhere between Dalkeith and Jedburgh, I hear the piano introduction to 'In The Garden’; I'm instantly humming along, then singing the bits I know. There's a bit of Sam Cooke in there, and a wonderful folk song called 'Allegheny', and then we're back into the coda - full speed ahead now, Van and I roaring at the top of our voices: "No guru, no method, no teacher.." Oh, now I get it....
What I think now:
I’m a little alarmed to realise that I don’t listen to Van as much as I used to: I just checked the iTunes playlist, and there’s my copy of ‘A Night in San Francisco’ on there, but nothing else – I have all these CDs in various rooms in this house, but in all the time I’ve been here, I’ve never felt the need to convert any of them for portable playing, and I’m not sure why that is – whenever I hear any, I’m uplifted in that specific way only Van Morrison songs can do. Maybe doing this will renew my enthusiasm.
Van Morrison became our official ‘driving home in the dark’ artist of choice, and on the odd occasion when we are coming back from somewhere at night while looking out for deer, moose or bear wandering on to the road, he still is.
I really must grab those CDs and upload them…