Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leonard Cohen would never Twitter

I have told my writing students many times that beginning a piece of writing with the words, "I don't know what to say," is, to say the least, lame and lazy.  But, um, I don't know what to say about Leonard Cohen.  I don't like to read about music and I've already documented my own history with music bullies, so let me just borrow some wise words from the Mister and say, Leonard Cohen means that shit. I got to see him in concert last night and he was just so commanding and funny and human and spry and vulnerable and dapper and humble.  And the lyrics.  Oh, the lyrics. 
What I kept thinking as he would fall to his knees in his natty gray suit and sing to the floor (nay, plead to the floor) was, this is exactly why I hate Twitter.  On the spectrum of human expression, Leonard Cohen and Twitter fall on opposite ends.  And I chose Leonard.
Click here and watch and you might choose him too.
And by all means, feel free to try to convince me that Twitter is great.  It's not going to work, but I am interested in the argument. 

A thing I like

This cartoon found on, yes, Twitter, (click to se a bigger image) 
and sent to me by my dear friend H


CSchoech said...

Leonard Cohen - wow!!

HBW said...

here's a funny leonard cohen story for YOU.
ok, so you know jacopo? my colleague at the bookstore? well, i've told you that he's been a bookseller for about 15 years and maybe reads five books a year, right? (maybe that's BECAUSE he sells them--i don't know.) but what he does buy all the time are CDs. near the bookstore, about 3 blocks away, is one of the best (still independent) 'record' shops in milan, called Buscemi Dischi. so it is his custom to escape there about once a week, maybe in a slow moment in the afternoon. we'll be working and then he'll just pause, grab his coat, and say, "uh, i'll be back in fifteen minutes."
and i'll say, "coffee? can you bring me one?"
and he'll say, "Buscemi."
and i'll say, "ah. right."

so about i don't know, two years ago, he came back after one of these Buscemi breaks with a "Essential Leonard Cohen" 2-cd collection. he put it on. i was behind the counter, near the stereo. he wandered off to do things to the shelves. once we got to "That's No Way To Say Goodbye", (which was like the fourth track) i let it go to the end and then hit the "replay track" button. we heard it again. and again. and then a third and fourth time. from upstairs i heard jacopo yell down,
"what are you DOING down there?"
and i admitted i was kind of weeping to myself, and apologized and let the disc go on.
then the VERY NEXT SONG was "So Long Marianne" and again, I replayed it about four times, kinda belting it out at parts: " LAUGH and CRY and LAUGH and CRY"
and jacopo was like, "Hilary."
and i was like, "yes?"
and he was like, "stop."
i tried to contain myself and keep the pathos in check but when we got to "Hallelujah" i just couldn't hold back. "HalleUUUUUjah, HAAAALELUUUUUUUJAH". on and on, about 10 minutes of it. i must have played it about 5 times. i moved myself to tears. there were no customers.

when we closed the store, jacopo opened the CD player, took out the two CDs, put them in their case and handed it to me. by the way, with all my replays, we never even made it to the second CD.
"what?" i said.
"take it," he said. "it's yours."
"take it where?" i said. "you just bought it."
"take it HOME" he said. "go emote in your bedroom or something."
"but we don't work together until next monday" i said.
"no, keep it." he said. "don't take this the wrong way, but you've kind of ruined this CD for me. i'll never be able to hear him again without also hearing your wobbly voice. just do whatever you need to do with Leonard Cohen. alone."

if i must do full disclosure, this has happened since. once with a "Sisters of Motown" compliation he bought, where i replayed "Hit me with a Wallop" about 40 times in an hour. And an Elvis complilation when I listened to "If i can Dream" and "Kentucky Rain" for an entire afternoon. Each time, Jacopo had gone to Buscemi, brought them back, only to have the CDs promptly hijacked by me. But Leonard Cohen was the first. And Jacopo STILL goes to Buscemi when we work together, but now he'll only come back with music that has NO SENTIMENTAL ALLURE, like the Buzzcocks or The New York Dolls or Baustelle.

Unfortunately the Essential Leonard Cohen double Cd refuses to play certain tracks for me any longer. they literally skip over themselves because they are tired of hearing me sing along and choke down sobs. "In my Secret Life", "Famous Blue Raincoat" and of course, "So Long Marianne."

that's how much I love Leonard Cohen. and it's funny because i'd kind of forgotten about him after college, only to be re-baptized a decade later by poor old jacopo here in milan.

i guess with this length of comment i could start my OWN blog, but you know i never will. and just to specify, i found that funny comic somewhere on the web but i, do NOT "twitter". you know that, right??

HBW said...

oh my gosh, i just re-read my "comment". what do you tell your writing students who write dialogue using:
and then he was like...
and then i was like...

do you kick them OUT of CLASS?

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