Edinburgh, 2009, I collect my award and sit back to watch the rest of the show. A lady called Camille O’Sullivan gets on stage and sings a song that floors me, rips my guts out and rises a lump to my throat. The song was written in french originally by Jacques Brel. Jacques' birthday was this week and I got on the tube to find the lyrics. It is pure poetry, the rhythm is tight, the words, the language so precise and powerful: In the port of Amsterdam There's a sailor who sings Of the dreams that he brings From the wide open sea

In the port of Amsterdam There's a sailor who sleeps While the riverbank weeps With the old willow tree

In the port of Amsterdam There's a sailor who dies Full of beer, full of cries In a drunken down fight

And in the port of Amsterdam There's a sailor who's born On a muggy hot morn By the dawn's early light

In the port of Amsterdam Where the sailors all meet There's a sailor who eats Only fishheads and tails

He will show you his teeth That have rotted too soon That can swallow the moon That can haul up the sails

And he yells to the cook With his arms open wide Bring me more fish Put it down by my side

Then he wants so to belch But he's too full to try So he gets up and laughs And he zips up his fly

In the port of Amsterdam You can see sailors dance Paunches bursting their pants Grinding women to paunch

They've forgotten the tune That their whiskey voice croaks Splitting the night with the Roar of their jokes

And they turn and they dance And they laugh and they lust Till the rancid sound of The accordion bursts

Then out to the night With their pride in their pants With the slut that they tow Underneath the street lamps

In the port of Amsterdam There's a sailor who drinks And he drinks and he drinks And he drinks once again

He drinks to the health Of the whores of Amsterdam Who have promised their love To a thousand other men

They've bargained their bodies And their virtue long gone For a few dirty coins And when he can't go on

He plants his nose in the sky And he wipes it up above And he pisses like I cry For an unfaithful love

In the port of Amsterdam In the port of Amsterdam

David Bowie covered the song to great acclaim, did this gentle man did a good job, But here is Camile’s which struck me:

Camille voice does the song justice, it is emotional, strong, she gives it everything... again the voice lifts poetry, combined they are greater than the sum of their parts. And Camille is Irish, yup, we run tings!