Friday, August 22, 2014

"Suzanne," Leonard Cohen --- and Judy

The clap of thunder that accompanied the lightning strike that awoke me at 3-something carried the conviction of a bowling ball that had just rolled down the alley and crashed into the last pin, which is odd and disconcerting because I don't bowl and have never awakened thinking of myself as a bowling pin before.

After accidentally sleeping an extra hour because of that, the mind's blank. Which is why I thought I'd report on an unexpected Leonard Cohen attack last week. Which brought back memories of sitting around in Saigon with Mack, getting drunk and listening to Judy Collins sing "Suzanne," the Irish Rovers and whatever else it was he had on reel-to-reel. He was Irish --- we listened to a lot of Irish. When drunk enough, Mack would sing along.

Mack is dead. Cohen will be 80 on Sept. 21, in case you'd care to send a card. And Judy is 75. The clip at the top is of Cohen himself; the clip below, of Judy Collins and Bill Moyers talking about Cohen and "Suzanne."

There's no religious meaning in Cohen's songs, by the way; only masterful use of the imagery. He's a Jew devoted to Zen who practices what some have described as "Cohenism." But he sure can write a song.

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