One autumn morning a man and a woman walk to work through the streets of New York’s West Side. They’re not together. He at times actually follows in the distance as their paths merge, separate and converge.

They’re in love. With each other. But out of the crowd their faces remain anonymous as they’ve never met, unless in text online.

He wears a taupe suit carrying a tan brief case; she a black cashmere coat, skirt and crimson flecked scarf. He enters a Starbucks; the one she’s just exited. He nears his corporate office; she passes store shutters clattering as the City That Never Sleeps wakes. He’s buoyed for the day; she’s lost in a day dream.

So climaxes the introductory scene of Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail” and none of it would have been possible had we, the audience, not been enraptured through The Cranberries’ song “Dream” and the voice of their lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan, that accompanied it.

These past couple of years we’ve been reporting the tragic or unexpected losses of too many celebrities, rarely any of them without talent. The latest news came today, with the death in the UK, of O’Riordan. It’s a wry coincidence but for me, she truly reincarnates in her guttural chants of “Zombie! Zombie!” telling the story of the horrors of the war between the UK and the IRA, in the song by the same name. It’s such a tragic song too.

How many tragedies so many of us carry around.

But like the best musicians, ones whom we immediately recognise in the lay of a guitar riff, a signature backbeat or a particular instrument, we will always know her when her meaty, gasping, multifaceted siren voice rings out.

Uncannily, or rather through exquisite research, the lyrics to “Dream” match the innocence in plot of “You’ve Got Mail” so perfectly:

I know I felt like this before
But now I’m feeling it even more
Because it came from you.
Then I open up and see
The person falling here is me
A different way to be.

For me, it remains one of the great escapist films. Heck, I kind of feel the same about “The Devil Wears Prada” and I digress.

Thing is, as I played The Cranberries’ best of playlist today, though I’d not seen it for nearly a year the “You’ve Got Mail” scene immediately caught my mind and I caught myself smiling.

Dolores O’Riordan will be missed as an artist for that’s, of course, the only way many of us knew her. But oh, what art!

Says the character Kathleen Kelly (email tag Shopgirl) of Joe Fox (email tag NY152), played respectively by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, through an inner monologue as she strolls that morning:

What will NY152 say today I wonder? My breath catches in my chest. I hear nothing … just the beat of my own heart. I have mail. From you.

And one of Hollywood’s best love stories moves on. A perfect voice in rhythm as a perpetual mnemonic.

© 2018 Adam Parker.