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Poster via Wrong Side of the Art
“But Leonard Cohen, the Leonard Cohen we know; the Pope of Mope; the Bedsit Bard; the sometime Buckskin Boy; the composer of music that allegedly makes you want to slash your wrists; the Jewish Buddhist; the philanderer; the drinker; the smoker; the occasional opium fiend; the man who talks to Greek daisies; the poet; the novelist; the raconteur; the unlikely gun fetishist; the bad monk; the worse singer; the potential permanent advisor to the Minister of Tourism of the People’s Republic of Trinidad that never happened; the guy who wrote that song in Shrek; he only came into existence in 1949, when he a) discovered the life and works of the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, b) bought his first guitar, for $12 from a Montreal pawn shop, and c) attended his first concert, by the blues musician Josh White. It was then that the Cohen combination, intellectual and sexual, brooding bohemian and unlikely babe magnet, poet and rock star, began to coalesce.”
Neither a scholarly tome nor a hack job, Hallelujah is crammed with dates and events and a few consciously hip critical asides that have the weight of a Ryan Seacrest monolog. And the influence of the Guinness Book is evident. As a journalist, Footman is easily readable and his enthusiasm apparent; considering Cohen’s pedigree, however, the artist is certainly worthy of a biography that’s less hurried, more introspective.
And proofread: the author refers to Cohen’s novels The Favorite Game as “The Beautiful Game” and Beautiful Losers as “Beautiful Strangers.” He’d have us believe that, some six years before recording his first album, Cohen found fame and fortune as a poet (!); the early collections The Spice-Box of Earth and Flowers for Hitler are hailed as “bestsellers” without mentioning their undoubtedly limited print runs or sales figures. Citing other critics’ reactions to Cohen’s work, employing recycled quotes from his subject, Footman breezes through a life and career surely more interesting, if not conflicting, than he seems willing to detail.
“As he powers through his eighth decade,” the author writes, “new generations are waking up to the peculiar charm of that deep, growly miaow; an acclimation of a special kind.” Cohen has recently recorded and toured, and there was a cacophonous ‘dedication’ concert helmed by Rufus Wainwright which somehow received the old man’s stamp of approval. I doubt the music buying public under thirty are swayed by his “deep, growly miaow,” (deep, growly miaow?!? Ouch!!) but I could be wrong. They may, in fact, find Hallelujah a splendid read, tight, economic and without that nagging aesthetic substance that makes Cohen’s work so intriguing.
Labels: Book reviews
Labels: Une affaire de Flickhead
Get off your mustang, Sally: Piss Factory by Patti Smith
Labels: Une affaire de Flickhead
“You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.I’m sensitive to movies about paradise. From the James Hilton novel, Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon (1937) offers a socialist utopia of nice weather and hospitable Asians, where burly Thomas Mitchell sheds his hetero veneer to pursue prissy Edward Everett Horton (as ‘Lovey’), while Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt beam on, just pleased as punch to be there. Mark Robson managed to screw up the outwardly foolproof The Little Hut (1957), Ava Gardner in a grass skirt no less, shipwrecked on an island with both her husband and her boyfriend. Two middling versions of The Blue Lagoon are mentioned only for the chilly jailbait eroticism of Jean Simmons (1949) and Brooke Shields (1980).
You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older.
And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.”
— Roger Waters“Dogs”
Labels: Anita Pallenberg