I had the pleasure of playing a 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.

...Bandcamp song-purchase linky option