Friday 9 December 2016

Divine Comedy singer Neil Hannon reveals father's Alzheimer's inspired new song

Published 12/03/2014 | 08:32

Neil Hannon
Neil Hannon

Divine Comedy frontman Neil Hannon has opened up about his father's battle with Alzheimer's disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2008.

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The singer wrote an op-ed in yesterday's Guardian newspaper, documenting the six years since he was first told about his father Rev Brian Hannon's condition and the subsequent inspiration for his new song, To Our Fathers in Distress.

"It's six years now since my father told me he had Alzheimer's disease," Hannon, who wrote the Fathed Ted theme song, began.

"At the time, I was rather non-plussed by the revelation. I did my usual trick of ignoring it and hoping it would go away. Six years on and I wish he'd told me his legs had been chewed off by a combine harvester instead.

"At least then, we could have discussed the gory details while I wheeled him around. But Alzheimer's is a miserable slow retreat from the world and from all that you are. It's not fair on him, or mum."

His newest song is a tribute to his childhood, featuring in 1970s and 1980s Ireland, which 'begins with a breakfast of lard' and 'ends with Ireland being beaten in the rugby.

He was approached by the Southbank Centre in London to write new music for the Royal Festival Hall's new organ.

"I straight away put forward the idea of writing something for my dad as the pipe organ naturally put me in mind of his ecclesiastical career in the Church of Ireland.

"I am deeply grateful to the Southbank Centre for giving me the excuse to gaze lovingly at my navel for awhile. And of course, I dedicate this piece to my dad, his memory is not what it used to be, you know."

Hannon will be performing his new song as part of 'Neil Hannon's Guide to the Organ' on Saturday, March 22 at the Royal Festival Hall in London.


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