Celebrated musician and poet Smith was warmly received by a packed house that included Bono and Glen Hansard, as she received the received the Edmund Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. Also awarded on the day was broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, for his contributions to journalism.
A clearly moved Smith informed the assembled audience that the occasion marked a “bittersweet date” in her life, coinciding with the birthday of her ex-lover and collaborator Robert Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989 (Mapplethorpe photographed the sleeve of her classic album Horses) as well as the anniversary of the death of her husband Fred 'Sonic' Smith, and the third birthday of their grandson.
Watch a video of the presentation via The Hist (complete with videographer cameo) below:
In an informal address, Smith read from Oscar Wilde's De Profundis, fresh from a trip to London's Reading Gaol, where she recited Wilde's work in the cell where he had originally composed the poem. She also recited the lyrics to her own classic 1988 protest anthem People Have The Power.
And the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower
It's decreed the people rule