I Cannot Escape Ed Sheeran

I wake up in a cold sweat from some dream or nightmare. Once I’m awake, I quickly forget what I was dreaming about. “What time is it?” I wonder, but right on cue, the clock radio comes on. It all starts over…

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know

There is no escape from Ed Sheeran.

I switch through the stations and it’s Ed Sheeran on every frequency. Maybe a different song at that moment or songs that Ed doesn’t perform himself. Songs that he’s written or performed the backing vocals for, or maybe someone else has sampled or remixed his original. Lately, it just seems to me like Ed Sheeran is everywhere. He’s omnipresent, on every radio station and TV channel and magazine and newspaper. He’s everywhere all the time, somehow. “Is there more than one Ed Sheeran?” I wonder, as I brush my teeth.

I’m gonna pick up the pieces
And build a Lego house
When things go wrong we can knock it down

Not that the majority of people would complain if that’s the case, I reckon. Ed Sheeran seems like a lovely man. He’s called Teddy or Teddy Bear by his close friends and it makes sense to me. Ed is essentially a ginger Elmo with tattoos (Edmo, if you will). Everyone’s mam or granny thinks he’s a nice young man and his songs are lovely, except for the silly little rap bits, they don’t see why he has to add those at all. I’d say Ed’s the kind of man who would mow your lawn and take out your bins when you’re on holiday without you even having to ask. He’s the kind of man who makes a massive, anonymous donation to charity every other week without a second thought. Every now and again, he might message a female friend of yours that he only met once and she has to ask you to ask him to stop, but for the most part, he’s a lovely man.

I need you darling
Come on set the tone
If you feel you’re falling
Won’t you let me know, oh
Oh ooh

“Is he a bit… too lovely?”, I wonder. I don’t know what I mean by that question, because it sounds negative in my mind even though there shouldn’t be a point where niceness is too much. Yet, here it is. Ed’s everywhere all the time and because he’s so nice, it immediately seems cruel to want him to go away for a bit. Not him, exactly – his songs. Ed’s music is everywhere. If I turn my radio off, the sounds of Ed Sheeran will come from my neighbour’s radio or a car stereo passing on the street outside.

I don’t remember leaving my bed, but I still hear my clock radio from the bedroom as I pour out my Corn Flakes in the kitchen, half-expecting hundreds of little Ed Sheerans to come out of the box. I feel trapped by these songs, a disturbing paranoia coming over me. I peel an orange and worry for a moment that I’m peeling Ed Sheeran’s head. Every thing seems like Ed Sheeran could be in it or a part of it or actually the thing itself. He’s everywhere. My mind is going and I’m seriously contemplating cutting off my ears to keep all of these Ed Sheeran songs out. Until I realise his songs are already in my head and that cutting off my ears will only trap them in my head without any way out. I cover my ears with both hands-

Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don’t mind me
Say, boy, let’s not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

There is no escape from Ed Sheeran. I don’t know how I got here, but I’m  in a square room, tiled from floor to ceiling in white panels. The intro to Shape of You plays on repeat. No lyrics, only the instrumental of the intro on repeat. Through a small rectangular opening in what seems to be the door, I see Ed Sheeran’s eyes watching me. I scream for him to let me out. No sound comes out of me, though. I’m trapped in an echo-chamber of his music as it assaults my senses. Losing my sanity, I run head-first at the door-

She played the fiddle in an Irish band

But she fell in love with an English man

Suddenly, I’m in a graveyard. In front of me, Ed Sheeran assembles an All-English trad group draped in St. George’s crosses, paying loud compliments to the Queen. Behind me, all of Ireland’s dead rebels break out of their graves to fight off this colonial assault. Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Michael Collins, Countess Markievicz, and more proceed to box the heads off of Ed’s band mates for their crime against traditional Irish music, not to mention their offence against the splendid county of Galway and its people. Ed retreats into a corner with his guitar. As the rebels close in on him, Ed responds with a verse from Nancy Mulligan:

From a farm boy born near Belfast town
I never worried about the king and crown
‘Cause I found my heart upon the southern ground
There’s no difference, I assure ya

The dead rebels are confused by this and form a huddle.

“Does he mean he wants a United Ireland?”

“Begod, it sounds like it…”

“Arrah, he’s not a bad egg at all!”

“Sure, what’s the point fightin’ anymore? Back in the graves. Erin go bragh!”

As the dead Irish rebels return to their graves, Sheeran turns to me with a sly grin. Without another thought, I run.

I run and run and as I’m running, I make a decision. I’ll go to the only place that’s bound to be safe. I go directly to Damien Rice’s house. It makes sense. Why has Damien Rice isolated himself from society for all of these years? Because, every chance that he gets, Ed Sheeran calls Damien out as his idol.

‘Cause with the lyrics I’ll be aiming it right
I won’t stop till my name’s in lights
At Stadium Heights with Damien Rice

It must be too much for Damien. He only ever wanted to do his own thing. In the moment, I’m certain that his house will be safe. Before I know it, I’m being warmly received into the house by Damien Rice himself. I tell him all about how I’ve been trying to escape from Ed Sheeran and he sits in his armchair, nodding along. When I finish my story, Damien reaches down to the side of his chair, retrieving an acoustic guitar. I relax in my chair. What a pleasure to hear a song by this man! What a rare privilege! After some brisk tuning, Damien is happy to begin. He plays-

White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes
Burnt lungs, sour taste

I grip the arms of my chair, uncomfortable with what I’m hearing. Damien stops playing, looking right at me. He brings his hands to his chin, pulling off a mask to reveal the face of Ed Sheeran. He smiles a sly grin and I know that I’m really trapped this time. There is no escape from Ed Sheeran. For what it’s worth, I leap out of my seat and run for the front door anyway. I grasp the handle. No twist or give at all. It’s locked tight. Looking back over my shoulder, I see Ed Sheeran stalking me from the other end of the hallway. He’s creeping towards me, slowly, completely naked, and carrying a giant axe. Ed grins as he sings:

When your legs don’t work like they used to before

And I can’t sweep you off of your feet

He gets closer and closer. He’s bearing down on me. Ed raises the axe and swings –

I wake up in a cold sweat from some dream or nightmare. Once I’m awake, I quickly forget what I was dreaming about. “What time is it?” I wonder, but right on cue, the clock radio comes on. It all starts over…

I met this girl late last year
She said “don’t you worry if I disappear”

There is no escape from Ed Sheeran.