VAN MORRISON – Like A Jelly Roll

Van The Man. What kind of nickname is that? Its as if he was so dull that the couldn’t think of any distinguishing factors of his personality to hang a sobriquet on. Truth is of course that a lot of people have been brought up with the ridiculous notion that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Suddenly the name Van The Man makes sense. Well, I have no such compunction.

Van Morrsion is a fat, curmudgeonly old Irish git – whose success lies squarely at the feet of Irish isolationism and racism. His version of red-eyed soul was the nearest the Republic got to Motown, which is to say that it was significantly distanced by an ocean in between. Adding more Celtic lyrical touches ended up with the boglands version of Joe Cocker wibbling pointlessly about shaking his tush in the moonlight, before losing it all completely on Astral Weeks. What is it about Irish popsters that compells them to write songs about dancing under the light of the moon? Surely a lack of light would be the only thing that would make the corpulent Morrison and the stick thin (and rotting significantly) Lynott look good.

Back to the Moondance album though, when Van was supposedly at the height of his powers – before he started doing Christian rhymes with Cliff Richard. It kicks off with “And It Stoned Me”, a song whose drug pretentions are so hidden that even a nun could work them out. But how – you ask – did this mythical substance stone Morrison? Well, it stoned him – and I quote – “Just like a jelly roll”. Suddenly it all makes sense why Van is so damn fat. A roll. Full of jelly. Lawks a lordy, I bet it isn’t a fruit set jelly either – more the scrapings off of the side of a tin of corned beef.

Of course Van, being the God botherer he is, could mean stoned in the biblical sense. The jelly roll line still makes no sense, but the fact that he was getting stoned by people who had bought his other records – and not for the first time. And its happy thoughts like that which will stop me from completely crucifying Morrison in the way he deserves.