What do you do when you hear a great new song by one of your favorite artists that reminds you of all the mistakes and compromises you’ve made in your life. And, is full of hope.
You try to write a blog post about it.
But you quickly discover that your description is pathetic. The post keeps slipping through your fingers and you feel like an illiterate fool.
So this is not that blog post.
I’ll call this a note to self.
“Going Home” is the first song on Leonard Cohen’s new album “Old Ideas”. Cohen sings about the part of himself that he shows to the world. Paradoxically (or not), in the process of describing his public persona he reveals much about his inner self.
Who is the master and who is the slave emerges as a disturbing unknown, it strikes very close to home.
Here is the opening of their conversation.
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit.
But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He just doesn’t have the freedom to refuse.
Not only are the words haunting, but Cohen’s delivery is mesmerizing.
After wrestling with this post and losing consistently, I have accepted that I can’t write crap about art. So instead, I decided to add some value by doing a bit of research on the back-story to the lazy bastard who plays such a prominent role in the song. Here’s what I discovered.
In “I’m Your Man” there’s a short section of one interview with Cohen in which he talks about his father, who was a haberdasher, and how Cohen himself got into the habit of wearing suits instead of jeans when he performs. I’ve created this little clip for your viewing pleasure.
In point of fact though, what I like even more than Cohen’s suits are his hats. Here’s just one example.
Thanks to “Going Home” I’m spending some time now trying to figure out how I would describe my own lazy bastard self. This is going to take some real courage, and that’s for sure.