Did you ever hear about the great deception? So goes the opening line of a Van Morrison song, recorded in 1973 when he was at the height of his powers. The song decries all the phoniness and fraud through which the tortured artist must labour. "I just can't stand it, can't stand it no how, living in this world of lies," Van sings.
Is there to be no peace for him? Currently entangled in what he says is a web of lies over a paternity claim, Morrison is now a year shy of pension-drawing age.
He should be relaxing to the sound of The Beatles' 'When I'm Sixty Four'. Instead, he must feel like turning to the Kid Creole and the Coconuts hit 'Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy'.
Poor old Van, the world keeps on turning, but he can't escape persecution. At first hand, his current dilemma appears straightforward. But scratch the surface and the known facts raise more questions than answers.
On 29 December, some dastardly cur hacked into his official website and announced the birth of a baby Van. "Gigi (Lee) and Van Morrison are proud to announce the birth of their first-born son, George Ivan Morrison III.
"Little Van, born Dec 28 2009 [is] the spitting image of his daddy."
Lee was described as the executive producer of Van's Hollywood Bowl concerts last year in which he played the entirety of his acclaimed 1968 album, Astral Weeks.
The story was confirmed by Morrison's Los Angeles-based publicist, Phil Lobel. In the days that followed, many western newspapers carried articles about granddaddy rock stars acting the daddy.
Then, on New Year's Eve, Van woke up. His friend, Dublin PR guru John Saunders, announced that it was all a hoax. He had contacted Van at his Dalkey home to tell him what was afoot in the real world. Van and his wife Michelle Rocca were flabbergasted. Nobody told him there would be days like these. He and Michelle don't read the newspapers. They don't log on. They don't watch much TV.
In the course of his lifelong search for enlightenment Van was once told by a Rosacrucian Master – he'd be a dude who teaches meditation – that he has something called an Angelic Knot.
Maybe he was tied up in Angelic Knots over the Christmas and didn't realise that somebody was claiming he had made it real, one more time again ? in the daddy department.
A statement was released. "The comments which appeared on my website did not come from me. They are completely and utterly without foundation.
"For the avoidance of all doubt and in the interests of clarity, I am very happily married to Michelle Morrison with whom I have two wonderful children."
Saunders told RTé News that Van had never heard of this Gigi woman. He told the Sunday Tribune: "I do not know if this Gigi exists. There have been reports that she does. Van deals with loads of people. He is forgetting names all the time. He operates on a different plane from us all."
When it emerged that Gigi did exist and was a business partner of Morrison's, Van apologised to Saunders for initially claiming not to know her, and sending him out to bat on that basis.
Then last Sunday, one newspaper claimed that Van actually was the daddy. Van's solicitors issued proceedings, stating that prior to publication they had stated categorically that Van was not in the loop.
So that should be the end of that, with a big, fat libel cheque flying on the wings of an angel to the Van pad in Dalkey. So much for all the hoopla. Move along now. Mr Morrison has left the story. Except… run that middle bit by me again?
In the first instance, 42-year-old Gigi does exist, but it remains unclear whether or not she recently gave birth. Some reports say she did, but there has been no sighting of the baby. Last year, the Texas-based Gigi was appointed director of at least eight companies of which Morrison is also a director. She managed his recent US tour. One report last week was accompanied by a photo of Gigi visiting friends in this country. Could Van, living on a different plane as he is, really have forgotten about her existence when briefing John Saunders?
If Gigi's name was Mary, or Anne, or even Matilda, it could be attributable to a poor memory. But how could you forget a Gigi? And if he didn't forget her, why not acknowledge her existence and presence at the heart of his US-based business?
There is one possible explanation. Among the many journeys Van has undertaken, he has submitted to Gestalt Therapy, which is an "existential psychotherapy that focuses on the individual's experience in the present moment". Maybe he blanks the past from his mind. Maybe he doesn't know who he met yesterday.
Who was the hacker? Hacking into a website is far from easy. Could it have been somebody who had access to the site? With an artist who lives on the same plane as the rest of us, a small number of people, including the artist's manager and publicist, might be expected to have access. But, as Saunders pointed out, Van lives on a different plane.
Whomever the hacker was, he or she appears to have been armed with information that Gigi had a baby. So it could hardly have been some deranged Van fan hacking from a suburb in Anchorage or downtown Annascaul.
What of the publicist, Lobel? After Van rubbished the daddy story, Lobel issued a statement to a newswire saying his company had merely "passed along information from the official website of Van Morrison, which we are now told had been hacked".
Lobel's company site contains a number of photographs taken backstage at recent Morrison concerts. Yet, he now claims that he didn't contact his famously reclusive client to confirm a web story, but instead issued a statement that gave the impression he was acting on Van's behalf.
Neither, apparently, did he contact Van's US-based manager, Gigi, who could have put him right, or, if he did contact her, she mustn't have put him right.
So it's all very strange. Not alone is Van operating on a different plane, but events and responses around the whole saga appear to be from outer space. If there ever is a libel trial – which is highly unlikely – it will make for some fascinating evidence about the life and times of the Belfast Cowboy.
Of course, as with anything to do with Morrison, his personality is the least relevant element of his being. Forget the singer, it's the song that matters. Rolling Stone magazine claims that he was the most influential singer/songwriter of the latter part of the last century, apart from Bob Dylan.
One vignette sums up Van the man, an appearance in the 1976 concert movie The Last Waltz. Van sang his song 'Caravan', ably backed by the Canadian folk rockers, The Band.
Van was dressed in a one-piece sparkling suit that looked like a shabby hand-me-down from Neil Diamond. His countenance backstage was so forlorn that somebody had pinned a yellow 'Smile' badge to his chest. When he attempted to dance on stage, he displayed the agility of a depressed heifer. But close your eyes, tune in, and you will hear one of the great live rock 'n' roll performances ever captured on tape. And turn it up, way up there past all the noise that emanates from a messy life.
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