Sunday, 25 September 2016

You Want It Darker

Every new song by Leonard Cohen is like sex on calmatives. It’s hard to describe. You feel velvety and relaxed. You are slightly drunk, but that’s okay: you’ve just taken another sip of Chablis 1997.

“You Want It Darker” is fantastic, and yet what more can you say?

Once, in Edinburgh, we were listening to Cohen’s new album. This was 2012, and the album was Old Ideas. We were staying at this lovely house by the sea, eating Indian food, discussing Pussy Riot, having long walks by the waterline and playing a silly little game where you have to close your eyes and stand on one leg for as long as you can.   

This was bleak summer morning, typically Scottish, smelling of possible rain. We were all sitting in the big living room doing nothing at all, and I suggested listening to Old Ideas. Which is what we did.

Someone was staring out of the window. Someone was fumbling through a collection of vinyl LPs. Someone was reading a book, possibly myself. Someone was just listening. It was all very calm. And in the meantime, Leonard Cohen was singing “The Darkness” and “Lullaby”. And then, when it was all over, none of us said anything for quite some time.

Until Tom uttered, in a way that was either profound or hysterically funny, but was probably neither:

‘Well, that was… soporific’

Soporific! I go with sex on calmatives, I go with Chablis 1997. But really – is it any better?..