Saw Wordplay yesterday, and it was delightful. Went solely because it seems to be the best-reviewed thing playing at the moment; I had no interest in the subject matter. I do now, of course; now I want to take up crossword puzzles myself.
Then saw the Leonard Cohen film. I’ve been in California for eight years now, but I grew up in Canada. And when you’re an artsy brainer girl growing up in Canada some things are just a given: that at some point you will have a poster of Klimt’s THE KISS in your room, or dorm room*, and you will revere Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen**. I was no exception. So between my fascinations with King, Koontz and Rice’s early vampire novels, and Atwood and Cohen and scattered other writers whom Atwood and Cohen opened up into, my teenage artistic sensibility was shaped in interesting ways. I’m grateful for that, for all those writers.
I still think “I’m Your Man” is the sexiest most romantic song ever. Just slays me.
Aside from the nostalgia factor — sitting there being reminded all over again just how good Cohen is, which made me think about Atwood and how good she is and how I must go get hold of her poetry again — the film frustrated me. I wanted more conversation with the man himself; less singing of his songs by people I had never heard of (although it was a delight to see Nick Cave perform, and Rufus Wainwright’s rendition of ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ was awesome). Also, the documentary was so worshipful and self-serious — the only person willing to talk about Leonard Cohen as if he wasn’t some kind of god was Leonard Cohen. As dark as he tends to get in songs like ‘Democracy’, Cohen is a very witty guy with a great sense of humor, and I wanted more of that — more of the actual man behind the myth, since the myth itself is already so wellworn, so familiar.
*I believe this holds just as true for artsy young American girls as well.
**What do you know, Cohen (and his daughter) ended up in LA just like I did. I didn’t learn this until recently. Now there’s a celebrity sighting I would find extraordinarily cool, and I’m bemused to actually have something in common with him.