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Podcast: Sinead O’Connor was wronged – the Nothing Compares documentary

Podcast: Sinead O’Connor was wronged – the Nothing Compares documentary

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Over 30 years ago, Singer Sinead O’Connor sparked outrage when she tore up a picture of the Pope during her musical performance on Saturday Night Live.

The fallout of that action is at the centre of Kathryn Ferguson’s recent documentary about Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares.

Following the release of last year’s Rememberings, O’Connor’s biography, the film tells the story of Sinead’s upbringing, subsequent success focusing on the early period of her career and the vindication of her actions at the time. Sinead O’Connor was ahead of her time.

The documentary celebrates a maverick artist, who never compromised her personal integrity or artistry, who was often ridiculed, and deemed the mad Irish women who shaved her head, who spoke up for minorities, criticised the church for child abuse coverups, Magdalene laundries (which she had direct experience of), and Ireland’s fight for abortion rights.

These causes and beliefs are now mainstream but at the time, O’Connor was openly mocked for pointing out the abuses of power (especially in America, where she refused to allow the National Anthem to play before her concert) further fuelling an anti-patriotism sentiment around the Irish artist, that fundamentally altered her pop career, one that she never wanted anyway.

“I’m not a pop star. I’m just a troubled soul who needs to scream into mikes now and then.”

Sinead O’Connor was a protest singer, first and foremost. Joining Niall and Andrea to discuss the Sinead O’Connor film is pop critic Louise Bruton. We discuss her relationship with Gay Byrne, the parallels to Britney and MIA, that Bob Dylan tribute concert, and the aforementioned themes from the film.

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