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Highlight of my career was playing three nights at the London Palladium: Hannon


Singer Neil Hannon

Singer Neil Hannon

Singer Neil Hannon

The Divine Comedy's frontman Neil Hannon says his three night sell-out shows at the London Palladium in 2017 have been the highlight of his 30-year career in music.

The singer, who turned 50 last month, was speaking to American music magazine Under the Radar.

When asked about his highlights over the past three decades, Hannon, who was born in Londonderry but grew up in Enniskillen, said: "Probably as simple as playing three nights at the London Palladium.

"So many of my heroes never got any bigger than that so that's enough for me. When Mamma Cass did her final show it was at the London Palladium... and I sold out three nights and she's a much bigger legend than I am, go figure!"

Pre-Covid, The Divine Comedy had planned a series of events to celebrate 30 years in music including playing five nights at the Barbican in London followed by another five at Cité De La Musique in Paris.

"In the interim, The Barbican suggested we stream a gig and they let in a small smattering of an audience who were all socially distanced," Hannon said.

"It all worked well and as it was a very dark theatre, we couldn't see the audience anyway. We were also going to do a tour in the spring next year but we didn't even get past the planning phase.

"The thing is it's all too uncertain - if you are out on the road and one gig gets cancelled you still have to pay everybody on the tour but there's no income coming in, which can really leave you in a hole."

Hannon now lives in Co Kildare with the indie singer-songwriter Cathy Davey.

The singer, whose father Brian is a former Bishop of Clogher, also has a daughter Willow (18) with his ex-wife Orla.

While Hannon doesn't have many regrets, he admitted there are "lots of things" he would have done differently.

He added: "Of course, there are lots of stupid things I've said to people, which I deeply regret. I have always had a problem with massive faux pas throughout my life. I think it's probably down to shyness and not knowing what to say, so I'd constantly say the wrong thing!" he said.

"I remember I met Leo Sayer at a party and he came over to me and said 'I really like your stuff' and I replied, 'Oooh, my dad really loved your stuff'.

"He looked a little sad and kind of pained and I immediately thought, 'Why the f*** did I say that, you little idiot, can't you just try and see things from other people's perspectives?!'

"And the first thing I ever said to Simon Le Bon was 'what age are you?'- it sounds terrible and it is! But there was a reason in my head at the time. I guess I'd thought that, because I don't care about my age, I assumed nobody else cared about theirs-ooh god what an idiot!

"As I've got older I've tried to be more human and think about what I say!"

Belfast Telegraph