Sinéad O’Connor tells her excruciating truth once and for all

The mistreatment he suffered Sinead O’Connor when she was a child by her mother and that she narrates in her memoirs disturb the reader. “I am the girl who cries in fear the last day before summer vacation. I have to pretend that I lost my hockey stick because I know 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 my private parts with the handle of the broom ”.

Sinéad O’Connor (Glenageary, County Dublin, 54 years old) had an interview this week with this newspaper to talk about Memories. Scenes from a complicated life his memoir which is published in Spain on June 21 (Books of the Kultrum). A few days before the appointment is suspended. “It is not good,” they point out from the editorial. A few hours later, he wrote a text on his Twitter account informing him of his withdrawal. “This message is to announce that I am no longer touring and that I am retiring from the music industry.” Days later, he backed off: “Good news. Fuck the withdrawal. I take it back ”.

Remembrances comes to fill a handful of gaps covered by speculation about the unstable life of one of the most mischievous characters in the recent cultural industry. In these pages is her truth, sometimes hard to read, that she knows better than anyone. Yes, she tried to commit suicide when she was 33 years old, affected, among other things, by the battle to get custody of her first two children (she has four). He also confesses his addiction to marijuana, although he has tried almost all drugs: he describes a crazy day with Dee Dee Ramone that begins in the New York Hotel Chelsea when the bassist of The Ramones invites him to some tripis.

Sinéad O'Connor breaks the photo of John Paul II in October 1992 on the television program 'Saturday Night Live'.
Sinéad O’Connor breaks the photo of John Paul II in October 1992 on the television program ‘Saturday Night Live’. Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images

The singer settles accounts with some alpha males of rock: “In her autobiography, Anthony Kiedis [cantante de Red Hot Chili Peppers] He confesses that we kiss. That never happened. He says we had a kind of romantic relationship. Yes, in his dreams ”. Or he rebels at the general idea that the day he tore apart (in 1992) an image of Pope John Paul II on the show Saturday Night Live was the trigger to throw away his until that moment meteoric trajectory. “What derailed my career was having a record at number one and breaking the photo got me back on the right track. I had to get back to making a living performing live. Because I was born for that. I was not born to be a pop star. Because for that you have to be a good girl. Don’t be too troublesome. “

Sinéad O'Connor on the day of her communion in an image given by the singer to the publisher.
Sinéad O’Connor on the day of her communion in an image given by the singer to the publisher.

The Irish singer may be right. O’Connor was 19 years old when he began to meet the sharks of the music industry, who saw many possibilities in a girl with a voice that seemed to come from the depths of a wounded soul. She did not sing: she sang healing psalms. Everyone sensed that he was a badly injured creature, but no one wanted to throw a blanket over him. Backwards: they tried it channel. They demanded that she grow her hair long, dress in narrow skirts, be sexy. She responded by putting on pants and shaving herself. And it was that rebellion, just when his career began, that actually caused his derailment. Because someone unruly is not allowed in a world of controllers.

In many parts of the book the singer shows her contempt for a music industry that she portrays as petty, capable of pressuring her to have an abortion when she became pregnant three months before launching her first work. O’Connor had had a childhood of beatings from his mother. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old. The father was left with custody of the four children, but Sinéad and John, his younger brother, returned to the mother because they missed her. For seven years Sinéad was abused by her mother. At 14 he was admitted to a “rehabilitation center for minors with behavior problems.” At 15 he moved to a religious boarding school. At 17 he ran away.

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During his childhood and adolescence he developed a rebellion as well as a deep fragility. When he turned 18 his mother died in a car accident. I could now fly without yokes. In the mid-eighties he started recording his first album. The final production did not like him. They tried to convince her that Celtic arrangements would make her sell more. He did not swallow: with only 20 years he self-produced his first album, The Lion and The Cobra (1987). The album was among the top 30 best sellers in the United Kingdom and the United States. But the hit came with the second, in 1990, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, number one in sales and where it is included a song that will be remembered for life, Nothing Compares 2U, written by Prince. O’Connor writes about his life without dramatic trappings. It tells of painful situations, but without tearing. The language is dry and exudes humor, whatever color it is. Despite all the abuse, he has tender words for his mother. “I couldn’t help but think how much he would have liked [a su madre] be there ”, he points out when he receives a Grammy award.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love show their daughter Frances Bean with Sinéad O'Connor at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony.
Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love show their daughter Frances Bean with Sinéad O’Connor at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. KMazur / WireImage

The singer reviews her misunderstood professional decisions for an environment that does not accept dissent willingly. Refuses to go to collect awards due to the anger of the industry. “I am a punk, in the sense that I am a hooligan, not a pop star,” she writes. One of their arguments for not participating in ceremonies is to report child abuse. But “how dare that little Irish upstart associate music with child abuse?” establishment musical. She tells that they come to attack her with a sharp object at a party at the house of actor Eddie Murphy. The world against her. But it does not falter. He dedicates 14 pages to breaking down his meeting at Prince’s house, which, he points out, ends in harassment by the singer. She manages to escape, but chases her with a car until the singer manages to get her to leave by threatening to tell the neighbors.

In London in the late eighties, pregnant and wearing a T-shirt that says: "Usa condón". The image is by Kate Garner, courtesy of Libros del Kultrum.
In London in the late eighties, pregnant and wearing a T-shirt that says: “Use a condom.” The image is by Kate Garner, courtesy of Libros del Kultrum.

He expands on the incident with the photo of John Paul II. He claims that he does it to denounce the abuses of the Church. The image of the Pope who breaks before the cameras belonged to his mother, devout. Every decision he makes at that time causes rejection. Also among colleagues. Frank Sinatra calls her a “stupid girl” for not wanting the United States anthem to play before a concert (“unless Jimi Hendrix plays it, every hymn raises many and very petrifying associations for the uptight of the world,” he says), Madonna he mocks her and associations such as the Anti-Defamation League convene rallies to shred their records. Some of O’Connor’s decisions take on another perspective over the years. As the most controversial, his denunciation of the abuses of the Church covered up by the same institution. In 2019 Pope Francis put an end to the pontifical secret on this thorny issue. O’Connor was 27 years ahead.

In the final part of these memories he describes his plight of recent times, with four years traveling through various mental institutions. She attributes it to a radical hysterectomy (removal of the entire reproductive system: uterus, tubes, ovaries …) that led to “a total nervous breakdown” and that she believes the doctor made a mistake in the diagnosis. On Remembrances Little is said about what happened since 1992 (he only comments on the recorded discs), since when his story took place in that year he suffered the nervous breakdown of 2014. “During the four years it took me to recover from the crisis, I did not write anything else, and, by the time I recovered, I was largely unable to remember everything that had happened before, ”he justifies. And he adds about his situation between 2014-2018: “Nobody who knew me wanted to have anything to do with me. I was so out of my mind that everyone was afraid of me. “

One of his last live appearances, in San Francisco on February 7, 2020. He performs in the hijab after converting to Islam.
One of his last live appearances, in San Francisco on February 7, 2020. He performs in the hijab after converting to Islam. Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

She confirms that she suffers from anorexia, agoraphobia, that she is a compulsive smoker and reports that “they are always stealing things from her.” It stands out that he has four children with four different parents. “One of whom I married. I also married three other men, but none of them is the father of any of my children. ” Despite all this family, she lives alone in her Irish home. He always wears the hijab on his head, since he embraced Islam in 2018. He reveals that after four years of instability, he left the hospital in 2018 with $ 8,000 (6,500 euros) in the bank. His wishes now are to release an album in January 2022 (which even already has a title, Veteran Dies Alone) and go to college to earn a nursing assistant degree.

The memoirs end with an epilogue / letter to the father, who is still alive. In it, he exonerates both him and the mother of their mental problems. He says that he was born with “a brain anomaly derived from the O’Grady DNA” (the maternal branch), which was accentuated when he suffered an accident at the age of 11 when he was waiting on the train platform and a child who was traveling in it opened the door before the wagon stopped and slammed the singer’s head violently. And he concludes, with humor in spite of everything: “Therefore, even if she had had Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary for parents and had grown up in the House on the Prairie, your daughter would still be crazier than a goat and unhinged as a shower cabin”.