Thursday, February 26, 2015
Leonard Cohen Live in London
The weather was on the way last night when I got home. I was waiting for Libby to get in. She'd gone up to Greensboro to check on her dad in the rest home and pick up some last minute supplies. She even picked up some better clamp on lights so we can put a 100 watt bulb under the house at the water pipe. Assuming the power stays on. There have been flickers this morning, which take out the modem immediately. Maybe this'll get up right now, maybe not.
So I put in the DVD of Leonard Cohen, Live in London (2008), because I'd read good reviews of it and put it in my Netflix list, and it had actually arrived just today, and I thought it would be a lot better to watch a video than to watch the weather and worry about Libby driving into the snow on the way home. I did keep peeking out the slider--after a while it started to snow. Then Libby called from just above Liberty, and I talked her into getting straight here and not picking up anything else no matter how much we needed it, and about the time this particular cut started she tapped on the slider, she'd made it in, and the snow was sticking on the pump house roof and on the ground too, and coming down pretty good, but the fire was laid in the stove and we were warm and dry and safe.
I watched most of the DVD. Libby was busy in the kitchen, putting stuff away, feeding the Houdahenians, who crowded around her as soon as she came in. I finally got her to come in and re-watch Everybody Knows, and by then I'd seen a few more stellar cuts, including the remarkable first set closer, which repeats the paradoxical phrase about how a crack in "everything" is how the light gets in. Cohen is approaching the middle of his eighties as we speak. The show was put together with great intelligence. It features outstanding musicians and singers, and frames his aging difficult voice and diffident personality with a loving power that makes his great songwriting shine through, perhaps better than it ever has live or on records. Cohen does a few of the very old wonders: I was delighted to hear Bird on a Wire again. I'd "found" it in the '60s and still very much appreciate it's subtlety. Everybody Knows, for that matter, is not "new," but was written in the 1980s, in the darkness of Reagan and Oliver North and the first flowering of what we have now as a replacement for what was once just the "other" party. There is no mainstream of agreement about anything. Just the decreasing surprise of responsible Democratic governance when the Republicans do the next insane thing. Coming up, the President of Israel addresses Congress but refuses to even meet with Democrats. Cohen has been staring clearly at the future for a long time. He's already writing songs about how to survive what's on the way.
Cohen (and Sharon Robinson) got it right and it's still right. "Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton for your ribbons and your bows." And the great state of Oklahoma has outlawed Advance History Placement because the course might mention the Tulsa Riots of 1921, or the final destination of the Trail of Tears. (And on the other hand, just southeast of OK a righteous museum dedicated to some of the historical truths of slavery in the United States has been dedicated in Louisiana: it's not really so easy to suppress history:
How much snow will break a winter beech tree, which keeps all its last years' leaves until the new ones bud out. They sprinkle my woods, the gold a pale contrast to the white lattice of branches, and the dark oak and hickory trunks. This morning my old friend Rick Doble sent me an email revealing that he's writing a blog about the mysteries of time, as it pertains to our human memories and machinations. Here's a link:
Check it out. Stay warm.
Saturday Update. There's still a lot of snow on the ground here, though some has melted. Tonight they're calling for freezing rain turning to rain. So far our power's stayed on. Freezing rain might do it. All the Houdahenians are stacked together in front of the slider right now, watching the birds scratching for food in the snow. It's their TV.
I hunted up some lyric sheets for some of the songs Leonard Cohen did at that London show. Here's a site. Go read some of them yourself. He's been writing amazing things forever, a good portion with his collaborator Sharon Robinson, who sings in the London show. This one goes back decades: