I had the pleasure of playing Melodica Festival here in Vienna the other weekend,
at a sweet place named Rien,
situated at the lavish, horse-and-cart-strewn Michaelerplatz,
smack bang in the centre o' town.

These beautifully adorned horses-for-hire arc around in a circular queue,
like some cornerless 19th-century taxi-rank.

The venue, Rien,
overlooks the preserved ruins of the Roman outpost that the horses encircle,
and both were built upon a long since lost
(though, no doubt, thriving & virtuous) Celtic settlement.

One of the buddies that joined in for the show, Somerset Barnard,
a raucous worldly-wise songsmith in his own right,
suggested dusting off the song Niqab Blue.

He'd grown to like it,
it being on the only CD in his car for many a driven mile.

(Officially, Niq?b has a rather eyebrow-raising fourth letter,
one that websites and streaming services refuse to include,
replacing it instead with a relatively apt question-mark,
so, to see the fourth letter you'll probably have to check out Wikipedia.

Spelling aside,
it is a delightful little garment
in certain respects.

There's times of late, with cold-night ears,
I'd've loved to have had such a veritable bandana/scarf combo.

Eyes are seldom ugly too, ay?
So, such a fabric, I'm inclined to think, does much to frame their cosmospheric beauty.



I've never worn one,
nor have I been told that I must.

From what I've gleaned,
certain women are punished if they do wear them
and many more women are punished if they don't.

Couple of years back,
living a stone's throw from one of Dublin's La Convivencia mosques,
I came up with this song.
A simple thing.
A someone's wish to share a smile with a person thusly clad.

That's where the song came from
how it goes.

I got to tell a story before playing the song mid-set.
Just after Hallowe'en this year,
perched on a bench overlooking this same grandiose circle of Vienna,
I watched some newlyweds pose for a photo shoot.

(It's that sort of place, Michaelerplatz,
the sort of place where, if you got married nearby, you'd nip down here for the photos.)

The bride used a shop window reflection to prep herself and,
after a few preliminary snaps,
donned her white veil for one more pose.

No cries shot up.
Her religious clobber bothered none.

The blinkers hid the horses' view.

The only thing I'm bashing is my head against a wall.

...Bandcamp song-purchase linky option