Declan Hughes

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

City of Lost Girls - The Soundtrack #6

And then he begins to sing.

At first, Anne thinks it will be the single most embarrassing moment of her entire life. Jack is swaying, and he starts in the wrong key and has to correct himself and start again, and Mark groans and sighs and mutters. But the voice, my God, the voice, he's barely two lines in and the room is completely hushed. It's Tosca, Recondita Armonia, her father used to love it. Anne tries to control herself, but there is really no possibility of that; the raw shock of such unearthly beauty pushes tears into her eyes in a molten rush. Jack doesn’t quite make the last high C. He leaves his mouth open in silence, and points into it with a finger, a cartoon ‘O’ of outrage, as if the note has been stolen, but Anne swears she can hear it anyway. And then the entire restaurant erupts, and it is as if the night has been elevated, and then, this being Dublin, Anne hears someone shout, “Pity he didn’t sing that on the Late Late Show”, which brings the house down, and Jack raises his hand and nods, ruefully conceding the point. The boy producers look entirely stunned, and Anne wonders if they think this kind of thing happens in Dublin all the time, and reckons they probably do, and realises that is what people love about Jack Donovan, that even though the movies are shot through with sentimentality and corn, he can make you believe in something bigger, bigger than just The Way Things Are. Jack Donovan can make you believe in love everlasting, and life after death, in fate, and in grace, and in miracles. Jack Donovan can make you believe in a Dublin where men announce out of nowhere that they are reconciling with their long-estranged wives and children, then sing Puccini arias and bring packed restaurants to an unearthly hush. Jack Donovan can make you believe, and, Anne thinks, as she walks arm in arm with Ed on their way to the pub for the after-dinner drink without which no trip to an Irish restaurant is complete, everyone wants to believe. Everyone.

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