Just finished reading Bob Dylan's first volume of autobiography, "Chronicles". It really is excellent and I endorse all the plaudits it has received. I hadn't been tempted by it before and wasn't sure if I'd like it but as it was a birthday present I thought I'd give it a try. If the truth be known, I've never been a big fan of Dylan (except for "Things Have Changed") inspite of Bryan Ferry's covers. Indeed, Ferry's album of Dylan covers, "Dylanesque", left me largely unmoved. I am tempted to visit some of Dylan's original albums now, though sometimes I think it just comes down to a chemistry thing, be it personality, timing or whatever.
I am, however, a big fan of Leonard Cohen, one of Dylan's contemporaries, and reading Dylan's book reminds of an anecdote that I read somewhere. Apparently Dylan and Cohen were chatting over coffee and discussing songwriting. Cohen asked Dylan how long it took him to write some famous song of his (I can't remember which) and Dylan replied, "About 5 minutes". Dylan then asked Cohen how long it took to write Hallelujah and Cohen replied: "About five years". (It may have been longer.)
So, do you want another Cohen anecdote? Apparently on one of Cohen's tours (may have been the "Democracy" tour in the 90s or the "I'm Your Man" tour in the 80s) one of the backing singers came back stage irate because the artificial fog was getting to her throat and ranted: "Who do I have to f**k to get this fixed?" Apparently in a darkened corner, hidden by a cloud of cigarette smoke, Cohen replied: " I guess that's going to have to be me".
I didn't go to the recent Cohen tour. I couldn't justify the expense but I can see from the DVD (another present: my friends and family are very generous) that it was a phenomenal concert. For such a large arena (O2) it seemed extraordinarily intimate. And close to three hours too. I did go to the "Democracy" concert at the Albert Hall in the nineties and it's the only time I've ever felt I've been present at a religious experience. The love and warmth that came from the audience for Cohen when he walked on stage and hadn't even started performing yet (I think there was a standing ovation for 5 minutes) was staggering.
Fast forward to tonight and the start
of the Roxy music "For Your Pleasure" tour. Another concert
that I can't justify the expense for. Is this called suffering for my
art? Perhaps, or maybe just fiscal expediency and understanding my priorities.
The last time I did this was for Ferry's "Bête Noire"
tour and I subsequently regretted not attending. Will I never learn from
my mistakes? It seems unlikely but to be fair I've travelled far and wide
and seen Roxy play plenty of times now. However the word on the street
is that some of the more obscure songs may have been rehearsed. I've sort
of (only sort of?!) resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to potentially
miss the live performance of some of my favourite songs and never have
the opportunity again. However my money is on that they won't take a page
out of Cohen's book and play for almost three hours. If they do, I shall
be really, really p*****d off! Nevertheless, I hope the many friends I've
met through Roxy and are supportive of these pages have
a really good time. (:-)