Sunday, 8 February 2009

Leonard Cohen Made Me Cry

The title of this post may not sound like a particularly extraordinary thing to some people, especially those who have actually listened to Leonard Cohen’s music, but I don’t mean it in the drink-a-bottle-of-red-and-listen-to-Leonard-Cohen-whilst-feeling-maudlin way.
I went to his concert.
It was amazing.
I cried.

It wasn’t the body wracking sobs of some of the folk in the crowd but I did leak a salty fluid from my eyes which is a bit out of character for me.

This might sound a little improbable but I only really started to get into music about two years ago.
I mean I was aware of music before then obviously but…

Ah bloody hell… look, in the beginning there was the radio and that was where my parents got the news from and listened primarily to the ABC and sometimes to Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy and that was what I thought the radio was for. I didn’t really think about it that much.
Then I got to high school and a couple of the other kids explained to me (once they’d pried me out of my books with a crow bar) that the radio could also be a source of music. A couple of my cousins made me mix tapes and I went ‘oh, interesting, I should look into this’.
And I actually tried tuning a radio and found a few things that sounded OK and went through the usual teenage obsessed-disinterested-obsessed-disinterested pattern with different artists and songs.
But deep down, I really didn’t give a shit. It was an alternative to silence.

Then I started my current job.
And then R started lending me CDs.
And all of a sudden music was huge.
It was big and beautiful and hard and dangerous and it matched my moods and challenged my mind or just fucking rocked in a way I had never known it to rock before.
I had heard the names of some of the bands before but had never heard of others and had heard next to none of any of their music and one band or album lead to another and my CD collection began to increase at an exponential rate and for the first time in my life I wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument and I wondered if this was what everyone else had been feeling all this time.

And I sat in that stadium with all those other hundreds of people and I listened to that man sing those songs of hurt and thought and personal history and saw the wry humour and humble pride.
And I cried.
Not only at the beauty of the music and the skill of the musicians who had spent decades perfecting their craft.
But out of gratitude that I found out about the music in time.
And that I was there.


Rapscallion said...

You musn't have older siblings. I swear my older brother almost ruined any love I have for Australian music. If I hear any Midnight Oil or anything with Jimmy Barnes in it, I immediately want to stab whoever is playing it in the neck. I'm probably not alone there...
Thankfully I had a pathetic little stereo of my own & could kinda half block it out. And discover my own brand of shitty music to listen to.

Leonard Cohen is awesome. Hey, how are the guitar/Italian lessons going?

Ricochet said...

o_0 Verily you have mad sociological deduction, I am an eldest child!

It is my opinion that we have an entire generation of young to young-ish Aussies who could be transformed instantly into an elite beserker force as long as we kept playing Khe Sahn over a PA loud enough for long enough during battle.

The Italian is slowly coming along.
The guitar lessons have yet to begin as I first have to either nerve myself to walk into a music store or book a lesson :-b

Rapscallion said...

Really? I'm a middle child. I loathe Khe Sahn, what bothers me the most about it, is that because I've heard it so many times I know EVERY word. Why must my brain remember it? Why?!

I have to disagree with you about Jaguar Love, truly they were horrendous. It's my opinion that Mr. Reznor picks his supports acts in the same way many brides pick bridesmaid dresses. The shittier they sound the more awesome NIN will be in comparison. He really is known for (at least in this part of the world) for choosing absolute duds.

Also is your blog in some sort of time hole? I swear I came past here the other day & this was the last entry. Now 3 more have popped up. You have a time machine, don't you? Or I'm crazy, it's probably just me :p

Ricochet said...

Because your subconscious knows that if you were ever freed from the shackles of Khe Sahn you would be unstoppable and it can't allow that to happen!

Ah, you've caught me, I'm afraid I was being artfully polite about Jaguar Love :-D They weren't any good but they tried so hard I feel bad rubbishing them too much.
Your support band theory for NIN matches up with what I've heard about their Australian shows (this was my first one) and if it works here you've got to think he's doing it elsewhere.
If it ain't broke, don't ask it to open for you :-b

This mystical time portal of which you speak - which has yet to be patented with any of the current superpowers - is provisionally known as 'Ricochet still doesn't know the difference between post and save'. The way the last few weeks have been going I've just been flinging things haphazardly at the internet on the weekends and then running away. This is the first time I've sat still long enough to notice my continuing technological ineptitude. It sounds better when you call it ineptitude, almost, intelligent...