Sunday 20 February 2022

I Don't Want To Know About Evil

 I saw more films in January than I saw in the whole of last year. Among them was 'Belfast', which I really enjoyed. My companion for the evening took a different view, complaining of a lack of realism. She even donned a metaphorical anorak and question the accuracy of the way that the buses were portrayed; for the record, I have no reason to believe that she has any particular knowledge of public transport in the Northern Ireland of the 1960s. For me the fact that the film was a view through the eyes of a nine year old meant that one wasn't meant to take certain things entirely literally: the unfeasible good looks of the parents; that a miscast Dame Judi Dench is at least a generation too old for the part; and, OK fair enough, the unlikelihood of the airport bus leaving from the end of their street (*). I also felt that the music of the genius that is Van Morrison added greatly, whereas she felt unable to look beyond the pandemic having led to him completing his journey from curmudgeon to dickhead. 

This dichotomy between the teller and the tale also came up when I recently saw Sarah Jane Morris in concert, as in the first set she concentrated on the songs of John Martyn. Martyn was a sublime practitioner of jazz tinged singer-songwriting; he was also an alcoholic drug-user well known for inflicting physical and mental cruelty, especially against the women in his life. Morris didn't avoid that aspect - she is personally close to some of Martyn's surviving family -  but chose to focus on interpretation of his soulful, and often sad, lyrics.

She was backed by distinguished guitarist Tony Rémy (who has played with Herbie Hancock and Jack Bruce amongst others) and, to my surprise, the wonderful Marcus Bonfanti. I've only come across him before in a blues context - he is a member of the current incarnation of Ten Years After - but he demonstrated that he has the jazz chops as well. In the second set they played a wider variety of music including fine covers of 'Imagine' and 'I Shall Be Released'. The song I think I enjoyed most was 'Piece of My Heart'. Mostly associated these days with Janis Joplin, it was first offered by Bert Berns (who co wrote it with Jerry Ragovoy) to Van Morrison, Berns being Morrison's producer at the time. Morrison declined it, probably grumpily; dickhead. 

Not at all grumpy was Sarah Jane Morris, whose between song monologues about acts she had worked with, activism, and karma added much to the gig,  which I very much enjoyed. In case you are wondering where you have heard that name and voice before, it was her that duetted with Jimmy Somerville on the Communards' 'Don't Leave Me This Way'. Here they are, lip-synching creatively:

Great hat.

* Although, as it happens, in real life the airport bus leaves from directly outside my front door.

1 comment:

  1. I had thought the image was just another gratuitous Flame Haired Doxie! Your comment that your partner did not have expert knowledge of Belfast public transport in the 1960's made me laugh :)