It’s never going to be an uplifting Monday in the week where the great LC dies, is it?
Here’s a track from one of my favourite Leonard Cohen albums, Ten New Songs, which is In My Secret Life
To be honest, when Leonard Cohen dies in the same week that Donald Trump is named President-elect of the USA, I think that kind of says it all about the universal dischord.
I think I would have to say that I mostly fell in love with Mr Cohen in 1990, with the film Pump Up The Volume. That was a quiet film of angst that appealed to every single part of the teen me. There were some great tracks in that film, from the Pixies to Henry Rollins. Music has always been the thing that spoke most to my soul, and there’s not much to wonder about a film about the role music plays in the lives of teenagers. I bought I’m Your Man off the back of that movie, and everything else followed. Whilst everyone else is singing love songs, or love gone wrong songs, I loved that these were songs that were about a different kind of love. A real love. A love that was sometimes obsessive, and often unrequited, a love that was painful and dirty, lustful and unfaithful, but a real love nonetheless. None of your cheesy ballads for Mr Leonard Cohen. It’s a bit like James – their stuff kind of touched on that weirdness of life and love that most music doesn’t. But after all, that’s the stuff that gets to me the most.
I know some people find him depressing, but I don’t really think they know him very well, except maybe for Hallelujah, which I still can’t stand to be sung by anyone else at all. It’s like they really don’t get what it’s about. There are some great singers out there though who really, really got those songs. Ian McCulloch’s Lover, Lover, Lover is amazing, and Antony Hegarty singing If It Be Your Will. Nick Cave singing Suzanne… there’s a lot of singers out there who really got Cohen. If he’s good enough for a Jarvis Cocker cover, then he’s good enough for me.
What I love most is he just kept doing great and amazing stuff. One of my favourite albums was released in 2001. And another in 1988. Another in 1974. I mean that’s some feat to turn out something that is equally as powerful at intervals like that. Definitely never, ever any filler from him.
There simply was no-one like Leonard Cohen.
I don’t think there’s Much Love to be had in a post-Trump world, is there? It’s fine to suggest that it was an angry vote, a vote against Clinton, an anti-politics vote… but whilst there are no doubt people who voted for Trump because they wanted to make a statement, just as they voted for Brexit, or they will vote for Marine Le Pen, there are a large majority of voters who truly believe in what they are promoting. I just don’t have words for when knobs like Trump come to power. All of this is the American Dream. Rage Against the Machine indeed. I feel, in the wake of Cohen, there’s going to be a lot of punk in this household over the next few months.
A crummy and grotty week we leave behind: pregnant dogs abandoned, old dogs left at the refuge, dogs handed over by shitty owners… some weeks get you more than others.
Tobby is also having a tough time of it. Even in a week, he has gone down a long way – no longer my shepherd, following me everywhere, inspecting everything I do. Most of the time, he lies by my feet at the table if I am working. Sometimes, he gets up and has a totter about, but he is not the Tobby he was even two weeks ago. I’m glad for the exam marking and to be able to spend time on the couch with my oldest of dudes. It’s crap when you’re grieving them before they’ve even gone. Every painful fall, every tottering step makes me hurt too inside. Often, he doesn’t even get up to come to bed any more until he’s absolutely sure that I’m staying up there and not going to come back down again.
So it was nice yesterday to spend a couple of hours with some great people and their wonderful dogs. Effel had an absolute ball. Somewhere in all the crappiness, you have to make a little space for nice stuff. Nice stuff, nice people, and cake. Not often I use an Oxford comma, but I felt it needed one just there.
Great too to have three new students start last week, all super lovely and amazingly keen. I don’t think teaching GCSE or A level will ever get boring for me.
Anyway, let’s hope for a week of loveliness – sometimes you just have to look a bit harder to find it in amid the crap.