The conclusion drawn after reading Memories. Scenes from a complicated life (Kultrum Books) is that its author, Irish singer-songwriter and artist Sinéad O’Connor, is at least consistent with herself. In the preface to the much commented and peculiar autobiography, he acknowledges that “until about six months ago I have not been – what is said – in my right mind. When I sit down to write these lines, I am counting fifty-four years old ”.
After 300 pages, in the epilogue addressed to his father, whom he excuses for how his daughter has turned out, and also to his mother, now deceased, he makes a confession and also to the readers, saying that she “was born with a series of brain anomalies derived from the O’Grady DNA, manifested in the form of mental illness ”. And a few lines later he tries to reassure him by writing that “I want you to know that, even if he had had Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary for his parents and had been raised in the Prairie House, your daughter would still be crazier than a goat and unhinged like a watering can ”.
And that book, very entertaining to read, confirms what throughout his professional and existential career he has not stopped manifesting, externalizing or acting. And what is most appreciated is that the words and reflections that she shares are sincere and that they reflect her as she is, an impulsive, radically sanguine, unpredictable and unstable person. And with serious psychological and mental disorders that she is the first to recognize ..
It is disturbing if not chilling what the singer who rose to fame for the general public tells, especially with the extraordinary version she did of the Nothing compares 2 U from Prince.
What she tells, for example, of maternal abuse as a child, and with her parents already separated: “I have to pretend that I have lost the hockey stick because I know that if I take it home my mother will hit me with it all summer. Although you might prefer the carpet poker. It will make me undress, it will force me to lie down on the floor and spread my legs and arms, to allow me to hit myself with the handle of the broom on my private parts ”.
Author of his greatest success
Their first and only meeting at Prince’s house turned into a “terrifying experience.”
Or the many pages that she dedicates to describe her first and unforgettable date she had with Prince, when he invited her to his Californian home apparently to celebrate the success achieved by his aforementioned song in his version. When push came to shove, he encountered a tyrannical being with everyone, capricious, self-centered, violent and, as he later said, a “violent abuser of women”. That night in his Hollywood mansion was, he writes, a “terrifying experience”, remembering that he could only get rid of him after fleeing from his house on foot and he behind her in a car threatening to warn the neighbors.
A much more decisive event in his career, and by extension in his life, was the one that took place on October 3, 1992. That was the day when he decided to snap a photo of Pope John Paul II, live during the program Saturday Night Live, while performing the song Warby Bob Marley. It was his way of denouncing the abuse of children committed by the Catholic Church. “My intention had always been to destroy the photo of the Pope that my mother kept. That photo represented falsehoods, lies and abuse of all kinds. Only people who are true demons like my mother treasured those things. ” That decision was a point and apart of his artistic development. The doors of many record companies were closed to him, what he had achieved until then was no longer valuable, and criticism rained down on him.
For her, on the other hand, it was the beginning of her true becoming as an artist, the owner of her and her work definitively and publicly: “(…) breaking the photo put me back on the right track. I had to get back to making a living performing live. Because I was born for that. I wasn’t born to be a pop star. ” In fact, he had already shown that rebellion years before when, for example, he decided to shave his hair and wear pants.
Throughout the pages of these “Remembrances” O’Connor (born in Ireland 54 years ago) reminds the reader that her parents divorced when she was eight years old, that at 17 she ran away from a religious boarding school, that she has four children of four different parents, who have always suffered the contempt of part of the sector such as Madonna or Frank Sinatra, who tried to commit suicide on two occasions that his dependence on alcohol and various drugs has been a constant, who became Muslim in 2018 … O the four years she spent in various psychiatric institutions after suffering a nervous breakdown in 2014.
Now she lives alone in a house on the Irish coast, smoking non-stop and preparing an album entitled “Veteran dies alone” which she hopes to release early next year. And to continue giving concerts, although a few weeks ago, after drinking some whiskeys, he announced that he was retiring from the live show “and from the music industry.” Days later he retracted with another tweet: “Fuck the retirement. I am not retiring ”. Genuinely house brand.