Van Morrison’s Irishness

Van Morrison offers what Peter Mills calls ‘candid sketches’ of Belfast and the Ireland where he grew up – ‘sometimes mystical and allusive, sometimes bright and direct’. That ranged from the churchyard of Mystic Eyes, to the trees of Cyprus Avenue, onto the experience of Coney Island, the meditation of On Hyndford Street and ‘bright sketches’ of Belfast childhood in CleaningWindows. The artist has worked in references to Yeats and Heaney – along with quotes from Beckett – and has mentioned Joyce by name several times ‘live’ and on record. There is a ‘locality of information’, a ‘sense of home’, but there is also ‘that sense of being a foreigner everywhere’.