A screenshot from the music video of Sinéad O’Connor’s hit cover of Prince’s song ‘Nothing Compares 2U‘ (1990)
It’s nearly June! And the weather in London is going to get better. Probably just as I head to Brighton for fringe in two weeks…
The writer, Amanda Hess, does a great job of reversing the “crazy” narrative that’s been forced upon O’Connor for decades.
Retelling events from her POV? Yes please! Let’s dive in…
O’Connor is, no matter how hard she tries to fight it, irresistible. She exudes a tender familiarity, thanks to her cherubic smile, her loose tongue and the fact that she happens to possess one of the most iconic heads in pop culture memory.
Please see the start of this newsletter for the aforementioned head, which still breaks my heart when she begins to cry at “All the flowers that you planted mama / In the back yard / All died when you went away…”, although I never knew the true reason why the tears started to roll on that line (her mother died when O’Connor was 18, but she was also an abusive parent).
These moments of cultural reassessment can feel like the awarding of a consolation prize; the fallout of past judgments can never truly be reversed.
O’Connor saw herself as a protest-singing punk. When she ascended to the top of the pop charts, she was trapped. “The media was making me out to be crazy because I wasn’t acting like a pop star was supposed to act,” she told me. “It seems to me that being a pop star is almost like being in a type of prison. You have to be a good girl.” And that’s just not Sinead O’Connor.
The incredible thing is that pop stardom has been sold as a dream to so many generations - and still kind of is, if you look at the trajectory of someone like Bella Poarch, from possible teenage Navy veteran to TikTok star to pop sensation.
O’Connor is happy being on her own, with her garden and her Mayfair cigarettes and her iPads and her “imaginary boyfriend,” Taye Diggs, to keep her company via episodes of “Murder in the First.” “I haven’t been terribly successful at being a girlfriend or wife,” she said. “I’m a bit of a handful, let’s face it.”
They Taye Diggs reference is chef’s kiss and shows just how on it it O’Connor is, pleased to see it. Taye Diggs! She’s still funny. Glad to read this profile and find out that she’s doing well.
Links of the week
“In effect, during the century since the end of the Great Influenza outbreak, the average human life span has doubled. There are few measures of human progress more astonishing than this. If you were to publish a newspaper that came out just once a century, the banner headline surely would — or should — be the declaration of this incredible feat.”
“Pakistani Sari Instagram is unlike Indian Sari Instagram. Here, there’s little mention of politics or weaves or debates about handmade versus machine-made. There’s very much a ‘yasss queen’ vibe in the comments, though on the pages of brands the conversation can devolve into body-shaming over women’s midriffs.”
“Following the sudden loss of a loved one, a whole cascade of physiological changes unfold, not just over the short term, but also for years after the tragedy. When intense stress strikes a human being suddenly, the brain responds by orchestrating the release of certain hormones that disseminate throughout the body. These hormones have a widespread impact on the heart and the immune system in general.”
“Their business model, unsurprisingly, attracted attention. In February 2020, a Guardian article on their dinners made the rounds online, inspiring umbrage and hilarity across the political spectrum. “White Women Paying $2.5K for a Dinner to Learn How They’re Racist,” read the headline on a New York Post rehash of the report, cutting right to the chase. Jackson and Rao, meanwhile, received an influx of new inquiries about their service and signed a deal to write a book called White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better. They also raised the fee for each dinner to $5,000.”
Thank you to Zoë Paskett for including my show in your picks of Brighton Fringe - sign up for her superlative comedy newsletter, LMAOnaise
What I’ve been up to
I’m on the latest episode of The Week Unwrapped with The Week’s Kate Samuelson and Theo Tait, talking about the boom in post-pandemic fashion rental subscriptions, the UK assisted dying bill and how the current scarcity of microchips affects so many more areas of our lives than we could ever have imagined…
What I’m getting up to
The me x London Writer’s Salon personal essays masterclass is BACK in June! You know the drill…
That’s all from me! Thank you for reading, I’ve been Suchandrika Chakrabarti.
I plan to keep this newsletter free, but it does take time to write and curate. If you fancy buying me a Ko-fi I’d be eternally grateful, and will thank you in the next newsletter <3