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Black Velvet Band And Breakdown
Posted by Will Lunn
6th Jun 2015

Black Velvet Band And Breakdown


In a neat little town they call Belfast
Apprentice to trade I was bound
And the many's the hours sweet happiness
I've I spent in that neat little town

but a sad misfortune's come over me
Which caused me to stray from the land
Far away from me friends and companions
Betrayed by the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the queen of the land
And her hair , it hair hung over her shoulder
Held up with a black velvet band.

He had sung those lyrics in a happy youthful drunken state on countless nights. Hanna, Tweedie, Fluff, Truesdale. From the early morning deserted streets of Banbridge, Dromore itself through Belfast to Edinburgh and beyond with some combination of those friends. It had become their unofficial song to declare and celebrate their collective joyous drunkenness to the world. We didn’t fully understand it at the time but we were celebrating very life itself in only the way youth can do with pureness. How it had become the choice for a group of protestant working class lads in the early 90’s was itself a story lost in the telling.
The question for him now was why it had come back to him today of all days. In the aftermath of yesterday’s painful breakdown. It had been a breakdown of some sort that much he was sure of. The brain had just refused to work anymore. It had shut down leaving only pain and disjointed broken half thoughts which made no narrative sense.
Cold and sharp shards of what he took as truth sliced their way through the broken disjointed white noise. Lost family, lost career and nothing but a scrambling for the crumbs from welfare payments to look forward to.
He was a six year veteran of black days or even weeks but yesterday had been frightening and savage in the depth of confusion and pain unleashed in one event. His normal experiences of darkness was like a sprained ankle compared to the fractured tib and fib of yesterday.
Why then the joyous rabble rousing drunken song from his youth? Could the brain be reverting back to a comforting time when he was sure of his place in the world? He remembered an old experienced nurse once telling him that was why so many elderly confused patients reverted to their childhood emotionally and mentally. That was true, he had heard so many frail elderly confused patients calling for their Mother or promising their Fathers they had brought the cattle in.
Was his mind so fractured and unable to deal with human detritus he had become that it was retreating back to that safe foreign land we call the past? There was a problem though. Those confused patients he had cared for over the years who were so confused had all been in their 70’s or older. He was 42.

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