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A Glen For All Seasons
Since winning an Oscar for Once, Glen Hansard‘s life has swerved like an out of control rollercoaster. There was a whirlwind romance with, and painful separation from, Markéta Irglová; the suicide of a fan which left him with brains on his shoes and a chasm in his soul and the strange guilt he felt at being successful. With his first solo album about to be released, he pulls up a stool and explains how he learned to stop worrying and love his new life in New York.
Stuart Clark, 26 Jun 2012
“I’m not sure about rioting, but when it comes to watching stuff going down in our own backyards and commenting on it, we’re fucking useless. I often wonder, ‘What would Ireland be like now if the poets who gave their lives in 1916 had got into power?’ The thinkers who actually caused the uprising, which was about civil rights not overthrowing England, got shot – leaving the military-minded ones to take control. That’s why I’m so happy to see Michael D. Higgins as President. I look at him and think, ‘Something tangibly good’s come out of all this nonsense we’ve been through these last ten years’. It felt a bit like when we got to Italia ’90 – a reason for everybody to rejoice and regain self-respect.
“The Irish have always been better as the charming underdog,” he proffers. “There’s a kind of quietude to us – we don’t need to brag. I’ve always felt: ‘Don’t blow your own trumpet. Just do your work; do it better each time and that’s how you’ll leave
Ireland and its post-Tiger woes are addressed on ‘The Storm, It’s Coming’, one of the standouts from Glen’s debut solo album, Rhythm & Repose, which was recorded during a whirlwind 18 days in Manhattan and, showing there are absolutely no hard feelings, includes a guest appearance by Markéta.
“Breaking from the feast/ From the decade of the beast/ On a new road, with no true north I see/ There’s doubt in every face/ And there’s a liar on the stage/ What good is it, if he don’t himself believe in it?’ Glen intones over the solemnest of piano backings.
“A handful of people, whose names we all know, have put this country into a fucking jocker,” he spits venomously. “It baffles me how as a nation we accept having to bail the banks out. We’re like, ‘Okay, that’s a lot of tax, but we’ll pay it’. The Icelandic just said, ‘No way, fuck off!’ The Greeks have taken to the streets. How do you get rid of that lethargy? Is it a hangover from being occupied? Do we have that mindset because we were a colony for so long? I know we’re a young country but can we not have the confidence to say, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ We’ve got to grow balls.”