Sean’s music 25 … Damien Rice

There was a particular period, a few years ago, that I have mentioned before – Sean’s last year at school, I think – when he and I used to spend a lot of time in this office in the evenings … I was on this computer, probably blogging, and Sean was immediately behind me, facing right, on the other computer … probably chatting or playing games (in exactly the spot where he would die).

He played music all the time while he was doing this, and I was introduced to a lot of good stuff that was new to me. We would talk about the tracks and the bands he played, many of which I have already featured in this ‘Sean’s music’ series of posts. There were two tracks by the Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice (with Lisa Hannigan) that we really liked … softer, gentler music than Sean usually went for. ‘Nine Crimes’ and ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ – beautiful and wistful. We listened to them a lot, and they capture part of the mood of the time, which I remember so well.

Eight months today, Sean … we love you, and miss you terribly.

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22 Comments

Filed under Death, Ireland, Memories, Music

22 responses to “Sean’s music 25 … Damien Rice

  1. Cymbeline

    Good afternoon Brendano. I find the bodyless heads in the first clip upsetting, so I don’t like the song. I like the second song. I have heard it before, from you. You posted it on MyT, but the video was different. As I recall, there were no Hollywood interspersions. Poetic and Irish. You must have posted the song after hearing it with Sean in your office.

    I have often thought of your office. So much was written to me and others from there. Do you remember the time a bird crashed into your window as you were writing? A place of work and companionship within your home. The place of a terrible thunderbolt too. I have never forgotten the tiny detail of that thunderbolt in warm, domestic surroundings. In your poem, you spoke of the Guinness slippers and I wept tears for you and your family. I so wished that I could have helped or had the power to change things, but nothing can change what has happened.

    Now, if I go to bed before my children, I always wake up and go straight to where they were when I left them the night before. I do it with a sense of disquiet.

    Of course I do not know what it must be like for you and your family. Please simply accept my deepest feelings when you write of how much you miss your child.

    • Thank you, Cymbeline. You have been very kind to us. You’re right … nothing can change what has happened, sadly.

      Yes, the head in the first video is a bit strange – Pauline commented on that too. Symbolic and poetic, though, I think. I do remember posting something by Rice on MyT … I thought I’d posted both clips, but maybe not. NoBrand thought it was anodyne, as I recall.

      A blackbird crashed into my office window a few weeks ago while I was sitting at my desk – it was dead when I went out. Then a bullfinch did the same, but seemed to be just stunned … I picked it up and put it in a nearby hedge; I think it was none the worse. It’s strange, as we have a stained-glass star hanging in the window to try to prevent this.

      To be able to sit in my office and communicate with people all over the world is great. I’m very glad of it.

  2. Cymbeline

    Welshgirl was probably Welsh, but could speak no Welsh and was brought up to pander to the English. I felt enraged when she mocked the Mabinogion for her English audience. I have no respect for that sort of playing to the gallery. She was very concerned about the upkeep of an English cathedral though. Very South-Walian. Janh is of that ilk. They are a funny lot in South Wales. Many of them are English of course, and came because of the coal-mines, and have lived in Wales for generations. Pembrokeshire is another thing again – it is known as ‘Little England beyond Wales’. Mrs Osborne is from there, or says she is. Not really Wales. Lots of Flemish went there, helping the Normans against Wales.

    The Gray bloke was born in England and went to Wales for a while as a child with his English family. Not Welsh. You should not have said that he was a Welsh musician.

    As a general rule of thumb ; Gwynedd is Wales, and Welsh people who speak Welsh are Welsh.

    • Fair enough … he sounds English to me, but I saw him described as Welsh in Wikipedia or somewhere.

      I remember thinking you were being a bit ‘purist’ in your argument with Welshgirl … I think we’ve discussed it since. Nuala ni Dhomhnaill and all that.

  3. Cymbeline

    Purist? You have accused me of being a bigot on that score.

  4. Cymbeline

    I was delighted when I told you about Nia Ben Aur, and you replied that you had played her in a school play. One of the best MyT moments for me.

    • I’d forgotten about that. Yes, Niamh Chinn Oir, as she was known here. The joys of going to an all-boys school.

      I still have nightmares about appearing in a play and not knowing the lines.

  5. Cymbeline

    Next year I will be working with a Breton linguist. I will enjoy polishing all those old bridges of gold.

  6. One of my comments seems to have disappeared … no great loss.

    It certainly sounds like your kind of thing … the Breton linguist.

  7. Cymbeline

    Well, France has tried to destroy Breton and Breton identity. Of course it is my sort of thing to be interested in Breton and Brittany. I am a Welsh-speaker. These people are my people.

    • I haven’t shown much Celtic solidarity on matters Breton, I must admit, although I did listen to Alan Stivell a bit.

      I remember that friends of mine went to a Celtic music festival in L’Orient … something else I may have mentioned before.

  8. Cymbeline

    I am not interested in generic Celtic music festivals. They are state tools to try and make people forget that they have lost their language.

    • I’m not interested in them either, although probably for different reasons.

      On the matter of music, I had a nice little session here this afternoon with Andy and Jake … Jake being a friend of Sean’s whom I didn’t know. He plays the guitar and has written songs about Sean.

      Jake told some stories. He was in Sean’s apartment when Clio and Sean first met … Jake said he fancied Clio but she walked past him and sat down beside Sean.

  9. Cymbeline

    Glad you had a good afternoon.

    Yes, where people instinctively choose to sit.

  10. Cymbeline

    I have just had a very funny interlude on language.

    We have returned from dinner in an ‘Indian’ i.e. Pakistani restaurant. So much for my boycott. Charming waiter and waitress. At the end of the meal, the silent waiter, a gentleman from the East, brought us a sort of sweet carrot cake.I tried to show off and said ‘ah yes this is kulfi’ (actually I was wrong; kulfi is an ice-cream). The waiter smiled and uttered his first words of the meal to us. In halting French he said that he did not understand as he had just arrived from the Orient. L’Orient. Everyone nodded. Now, Lorient is a nearby Breton town. How we larffed.

    It was time to pay, and I wanted to pay because I wanted to ask the staff about the language I had heard spoken. Hindi or Urdu? I wandered up to the bar, looked at the bill, and typed in my code. Raised my head and asked the waitress where she was from. Turkey she said. Ah, said I, my sister lived for a while in Van. The boss in the background said ‘Ah yes, Vannes’. Vannes is another nearby Breton town. No, I said, Van in Turkey. Near Iraq. Everyone nodded.

    It was then established that the boss was a Pakistani and that he had been speaking Urdu to the waiter. Perhaps the waiter was told not to say ‘Pakistan’? The boss asked me where I was from. British I said. Now HE wanted to show off. Scotland or England? Er Wales. Still trying to maintain the friendly linguistic thread, I added that there were of course many Hindi and Urdu words in English, because of our historical links. Bungalow, pyjamas and um shampoo. I fingered my hair for ‘shampoo’. Yes, he said. There are many Pakistanis over there.

    We left the restaurant, and I wept with laughter on the street about Vannes and Lorient.

  11. Nice example of cross-cultural confusion, Cymbeline. At least it gave you a laugh.

  12. Cymbeline

    Ah, it wasn’t unkind laughter. The whole thing just tickled my sense of the absurd, and I was part of the absurdity. Best thing about the meal really. The food was not very good. Pakistani restaurants in France tend to serve rather bland food. Catering to French taste-buds I suppose. Not a patch on Pakistani restaurants in Britain.

    • I think the ‘Indian’ restaurants here are mostly Bangladeshi. There are some good ones. The nearest one to us tends to have very heavy cream-laden sauces.

      I still remember the Kastoori in Tooting with fondness … Gujarati, I think. Vegetarian.

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