In typically oxygen deprived fashion, I kamikaze into the box office, wheezing the name of the film in the vain hope I’ve made it on time. Even allowing for trailers, mobile phone warnings, reminders of obscenely priced snacks in the foyer,
orders to eat with your mouth shut and avoid loud breathing, opening credits, and opening lines… it’s too late. The film started twenty minutes ago. Another waste of a graceless gallop through a car-park. I settle on my second choice showing an hour later and slope off to the adjoining pub to cool down and grab a bite to eat.
It’s not everyday you get your bill handed in a relic from the ’80s. No, not in a leg-warmer or on a butter voucher, but inventively slid into an empty cassette cover. I turn it over to find a young
Martin McGuinness bow-tied Art Garfunkel gazing back at me. I tend to have that effect on album covers. The track list includes the title track and a bunch of unrecognisable songs. Paul Simon receives a backing vocal credit. A probe later on Wiki fills in some blanks. Released in 1981, it was the second of Garfunkel’s solo albums that failed to fly under the Top 40 radar. He dedicated it to actor/photographer, Laurie Bird, who died tragically by suicide in the home she shared with the singer at the tender age of 25. He became so reclusive following her death, he didn’t release another album until 1988.
We’ll have to take his word for it, and dismiss any suspicions that his hiatus had anything to do with the commercial flop or the bow tie, or indeed the numerous credits to cheese recorded on the album. Wikipedia was unable to furnish me with details on how a copy ended up in a Dublin pub. No-one will come forward to admit they own it. Sometimes I feel the same about my Paul Young LPs.
Garfunkel following his first split from Gerry Adams
A month after the album’s release, Garfunkel had reunited with Paul Simon for their famous benefit gig, The Concert in Central Park. The reunion was short-lived. Tensions between the duo continued to re-surface with subsequent live tours, and shelved attempts at studio recordings, punctuated by periods of estrangement. This mattered not a jot in terms of the enduring appeal of their albums.
Next year, Paul Simon will return to Dublin for a live show with… Sting. This tells us something about just how insufferable Garfunkel must’ve been. The show will kick off a series of gigs featuring unlikely musical bedfellows. Other acts confirmed include Noel Gallagher with Mick Hucknall, Paul McCartney with Ronan Keating, followed by Sinead O’Connor with Nathan Carter. I just made that last sentence up. But the Simon-Sting show is confirmed, and will likely cost punters the equivalent of a vital internal organ for the pleasure. If their idea of pleasure is having an enema. I say that as an enthusiastic Paul Simon fan.
I slip back out, handing the cassette case to the waiter with a Euro note replacing the bill. Now That’s What I Call Service Vol 1 (sorry). It’s hard to beat a late afternoon pint alone in a quiet pub; but it’s harder to describe the superior therapeutic benefits of a solo run to the cinema. It all happens in the dark against the screen light. Escapism meets universal themes that lift lids on personal matters that occasionally answer back your own internal dialogue.
Looking at the hip-flask pouring, miserable, over-weight, underwhelmed character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, it is tempting to intuit overlaps in the psychological condition of the actor and the man he portrayed in his final performance before his tragic death earlier this year. As ever, he is the most intriguing presence on the screen. A one-off. A Most Wanted Man – an eerily appropriate title to an otherwise mediocre tale of espionage.
Coincidentally, the film I really wanted to see was ‘Obvious Child’. Next time.