Monday 22 January 2018

Junk obscures our greatest treasure

Van Morrison hails from the wrong place to be recognised for the great artist that he is, believes Declan Lynch

If you've been paying very close attention, you'll be aware that it is 40 years since Van Morrison made Astral Weeks. In another 40 years, we may be celebrating this cultural landmark with the sort of frolics we see on Bloomsday. But I wouldn't be holding my breath about that.

Though he is arguably a greater artist than Joyce, Van is still coming from the wrong place as regards all that sort of carry-on. We still tend to reserve our "official" recognition for the arts of literature and drama and even painting, which are thought to belong to a higher realm than anything which emanates from the vicinity of rock 'n' roll.

There is no Van Morrison Summer School, at which learned papers are delivered, not by professors from Harvard and the Sorbonne, but by men who know men with names like Professor Longhair, professors in the New Orleans sense. Which of course is a higher sense, a higher sensibility.

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