Into the mystic: How a musical superstar tumbled down a rabbit-hole

He’s one of the towering figures of 20th-century music, but of late Van Morrison has become a lockdown sceptic. As he faces a defamation action from Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann, just how did the Belfast Cowboy get here?

Van Morrison performing in Ottawa, Canada: ‘twisting the dial to find a spiritual frequency’. Picture: Mark Horton/WireImage

In April 2020, as the world adjusted to those early, frightening days of the global lockdown, Van Morrison found himself in relatively cheerful mood. That was unusual, not just because the world was riven with spasms of anxiety, but because Morrison doesn’t give too many flowing, chatty interviews.

His interviewer, Martin Chilton, was fairly bowled over by the fact, reflecting that Morrison was “revealing and personable” throughout their interview.

As Chilton wrote: “We were due ...