Monday, November 15, 2010


A hundred and two degrees in the New York smog. 'Halleluiah' by Leonard Cohen playing on her dime-store record player, that song Howard liked to call 'a hymn deconstructing a hymn'. Long ago Kiki had submitted to this musical part of the memory. But it was surely not true -- 'Halleluiah' had been another time, years later. But it was hard to resist the poetry of the possibility, and so she had allowed 'Halleluiah' to fall into family myth. [...] When, on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Jerome had played his parents an ethereal, far more beautiful version of 'Halleluiah' by a kid called Buckley, Kiki thought yes, that's right, our memories are getting more beautiful and less real every day.

Reading this in bed last night, I thought first about the time a friend of mine played me Jeff Buckley, the first time I heard him and, at first, didn't like him. Then, I thought what a pity it was that this comparison can't make the younger musician feel proud, since Buckley died almost ten years before On Beauty came out. So it can only make Leonard Cohen somewhat annoyed. But he's probably too zen for that.

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