"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Thursday, 28 April 2011

famous blue raincoat

this was (and still is) absolutely my most favourite morbid song of all time.  i have listened to it 100's of times over the years.  the record i had but lent it to a friend never to see it again (you know who you are!!).  bestest sister and i do not share the same taste in music (actually we still don't (except michael buble - mickey bubbles, as nic calls him).  while i enjoyed bob dylan, leonard cohen and cat stevens she sang away (she can sing, i can't) to the bee gees, beatles, elvis and donny osmond (you can't deny that BS). oops i forgot abba (up there as my worst with elvis).

anyway this is not about sisterly stuff it is about the famous blue raincoat (FBR) song above.  isn't it an amazing song?   in my matric year at "that school" on the main road i wrote an essay about what i thought the meaning of lyrics were.  it is obviously about jane being unfaithful to cohen. i thought the FBR was a good friend, maybe best friend who he loves like a brother.  was it a single act of infidelity? when she came back she was "nobody's wife".  was he married to her?  the FBR then deserts jane.  does cohen take her back? (i thought (and hoped) so).  cohen then thanks FBR "yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes....i thought it was there for good so i never tried".  hectic stuff and to be able to be so honest in a song.  i just love the way he signs off with "sincerely l. cohen".  hits the right spot everytime.  i remember trying to work it out but never really being able to put my finger on this love triangle.  then along came...........
this lead me the other evening to do some research on the FBR but i am left a tad disappointed.  not sure if this is 100% true because i cannot find a copy of the recording of the interview with the BBC but i presume this must be true:-

"Interview," BBC Radio (1994)" - Leonard Cohen:-
The trouble with ["Famous Blue Raincoat"] is that I've forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own . . . of course. I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with; now, whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary I don't remember. I've always had the sense that either I've been that figure in relation to another couple or there'd been a figure like that in relation to my marriage. I don't quite remember (but I did have this feeling that there was always a third party, sometimes me, sometimes another man, sometimes another woman)

can you believe it?  all the time i have spent trying to work out what he was getting at and he cannot remember or explain.  must have been something he was smoking at the time!!  how many times in 6 lines does he say  "forgotten" or "i don't quite remember"? 

here are the lyrics again for those of you who are interested.  i forgive him completely though - it is still in my top 10 songs of all time.

It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening.

I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record.

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without Lili Marlene

And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
And when she came back she was nobody's wife.

Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well I see Jane's awake --

She sends her regards.
And what can I tell you my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way.

If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.

And Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear

Sincerely, L. Cohen

wonder if my BS has investigated the lyrics of "the long haired lover from liverpool" or "chick a cheat her"

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