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l()l.K SINEAD O’CONNOR Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 6 Nov

It’s been many moons since my last confession, so I’m disappointed to be denied a personal audience with Mother Maria Bernadette, otherwise known as her holiness Sinead O’Connor. Back on the road performing songs from her latest album Sean-Nos Nua, a disarmingly moving collection of traditional Irish standards, O’Connor was last spotted somewhere between Dublin and Egypt, and will be gracing Scots fans with an imminent appearance at the Usher Hall.

The new album, which includes souped-up versions of such familiar folk classics as ‘Molly Malone’ and ‘l’ll Tell me Ma’, returns the emphasis at long last to the frail beauty of O’Connor’s voice. For too long the Dublin-born O‘Connor’s considerable talent was consigned to the backseat, while controversy sat angrily behind the wheel. Whether tearing up a photograph of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in protest against the Catholic Church’s complicity in paedophilia scandals, or discussing her own abusive childhood in tandem with 1994’s Universal Mother album, the singer’s contentious views and actions have always garnered more column inches than her songs.

After having railed for so long

against her native Ireland, including referring to the Emerald Isle as a backward country built on denial, many have expressed surprise at O’Connor’s decision to directly embrace her heritage with this album. In fact, Sean-Nos Nua is merely the latest unexpected step in the singer’s reconciliatory journey. Having been ordained as a priest in 2000, O’Connor joined the Mater Dei, a quasi- Catholic sect, then came out as bisexual, claiming that her involvement in the religious order facilitated changing attitudes towards homosexuality. Further evidence that

t seems a bit shite to travel I hall-way around the world to gel on a stage and moan about my ex-birds . . .' spake Aidan Moffat as the boat cruised around Sydney Harbour. Playing on a boat in Australia With Arab Strap must rank as one of the finest and most surreal experiences of my life. The Strap were in fine fettle and as well as playing a bunch of new songs from their almost finished album (tentatively titled The Cunfs' Circus) they also paid tribute to Australia and Glasgow's finest. AC/DC. by tackling ‘She Shook me All Night Long'. As the last night of our tow and the first of the Straps. the Spunk Records (I knoW) boat party was as memorable as it was oversold. Trying to play while a boat reverses

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(Allan Radcliffe)

What do you do on a boat called Spunk? Pay tribute to AC/DC of course

isn't easy and thankfully it all passed without tragedy or incident.

After the show. with the next days epic flight in mind and the rigours of the previous two weeks of excess finally taking their toll. I retired to my sleeping quarters. l was told the next morning that the festivities had continued with n'iembers of . . . Trail of Dead and Arab Strap doing as good a job as ambassadors of Texas and Falkirk as could possibly be asked. Heard it.

'Tweritytwentytwenty-four hours to go! I wanna be sedated!‘ sang the late. great Joey Ramone. l have more than an inkling of suspicion that the Gandalf of punk was referring to the hideous journey from Australia and Scotland (it was probably New York to

her famous antipathy towards her native land has now abated is provided by the fact that she has now settled in Dublin with her family. ‘I don’t believe in angry for the sake of being angry,’ she said recently. ‘lt has been my intention always to make the journey into joy.’

Though you wonder whether O’Connor’s two seasoned companions, the row and the rumpus, will ever desert the spikin opinionated singer, it’s refreshing to see her finally allowing her music to get the attention it deserves.

Tokyo or something but that w0uld chank the anecdote completely). The day-and-a-half in the air was passed watching some of the worst films ever con‘imitted to celluloid (Men in Black // and Reign of Fire to name but a few). getting drunk while avoiding getting too Peter-Bucked and playing 83Yoshi's Island on the GaanDOy. I was suitably cleansed of f:lm pish on my return however by watching the tremendous Donnie Dar/<0. The contrast in weather between Sydney and Glasgow is as predictable as it is d(->r.)ressing.j. but at least they didn't play ‘Nothing Ever Happens' by Del Amitri at the airport like the last time.

On my return I read the news that Stagecoach entrepreneur B ian Soutar has lost €18m. Far from expressing sympathy for his downturn in fortunes. I'd like to say that I hope the homophobic Na/i bastard loses every penny he owns. Old prick. So. tangents aside. my time this week Will be taken up with the fantastic new Rough Trade rock'n'roll compilation and going to see Fuga/i and Eska at the Barras. Send it on.

Surface noise

A// the shops, chops and in- store 0 srnthe wonderful wor/ o musrc

DJ VADIM MAKES A WELCOME return to the capital on 27 November, this time with a live band in tow, and the economically minded among you will be delighted to hear that discounted tickets are available for his show when bought simultaneously with a ticket for the show by Ninja Tunes’ latest signing Homelife on Wednesday 13 November, You can get both for a paltry £12 - a saving of up to seven quid. A bargain if I’m not mistaken.


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ON A FURTHER RECORD shop-related note, Fopp, on Glasgow’s Union Street, is playing host to three in-store live sets by local acts to promote the release of Adorno Records’ Rock Mess Monsters . Pupkin (Sat 2 Nov), Julia Thirteen (Thu 7 Nov) and Terra Diablo (Fri 8 Nov) are among the acts playing to promote the 21- track compilation of Scottish talent. See www.adornorecords.com for details.

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