Lenny, London and the Listening Room

Got the train to London to see my second Cohen concert, at the London O2 Arena. I’d never been, even when it was the Dome, and it was a bit like an airport – in other words an extended retail opportunity,  a semicircle of bars and restaurants all queued out by Cohen’s well-heeled audience. But I met up with old friends and new, and found my seat just as the band came on. The size of the place is breathtaking – I think it holds over 18000 and every seat was taken, But the sound was crystal clear, and three screens gave you closeups of the action on stage. So I can tell you, friends, that he didn’t wear a tie for London. The set was more or less the same as Edinburgh but for the addition of The Gypsy Wife, I Tried to Leave You and a closing short hymn-like piece Whither Thou Goest, sung in unison by the entire band.  I realised that seeing the same set two nights running isn’t a great idea, even for Cohen, but was glad I’d gone all the same.

The next day I went to an installation Psycho Buildings at the Hayward, and found myself flopping around inside a very soft transparent bouncy castle suspended high above the South Bank. As you do. The train journey home seemed long and weary.

Last night, flicking through TC channels,  chanced to watch a stunning film Goya’s Ghosts, evoking the terror of the Spanish Inquisition and revolutionary French invasion of Spain from the vantage of Goya and a compellingly despicable monk turned revolutionary played by Javier Bardem.

Tonight, the pleasure of playing the Listening Room with Ms Fi and her excellent songs, which I contrived to back with bass, mandolin and guitar. Nelson would have joined us but has cracked a rib playing football. Serves him right for not using his feet. While getting a CD for the raffle I picked up Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece, which I kind of knew from a worn old cassette but is very impressive in full quality.

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