“You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception” – Leonard Cohen, Chelsea Hotel No.2
In my attempt, through this blog, to write about specific memories of the last 10 years of my life, one of the artists that will come up is Leonard Cohen. For me the classiest songwriter of his generation, or at least classiest in the way I like, which means that he’s able to say all the things going thought his head, be them beautiful, filthy or despicable with style and grace.
His song Chelsea Hotel No.2 I would love to say reminds me of a personal relationship I’ve had, but that’s simply not the case. However, the song (dedicated to Janis Joplin) depicts so many elements of a relationship that didn’t last, that it’s hard not to find a lyric in there to which one can relate.
It goes from sex…
“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, you were talking so brave and so sweet, giving me head on the unmade bed…”
“Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe, you just turned your back on the crowd, you got away, I never once heard you say, I need you, I don’t need you..”
to a simple memory…
“I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best, I can’t keep track of each fallen robin. I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.”
I few years ago I began dating a girl I’d been friends with for a while. It didn’t last very much and the relationship ended for reasons that could have been obvious from the beginning. We had fun, but at the end things went sour, had a rough couple of weeks, moved on and I haven’t heard from her since. While I’d have many reasons to have a bad memory of her, that’s just simply not the case. I wish I could be as smooth as Leonard Cohen and say “I can’t keep track of each fallen robin” (not so many fallen robins on my list…), but for other reasons it’s clear that I really didn’t love her the best and simply don’t think of her that often.
I just simply “remember” her; I have isolated memories. Everything in between which are the feelings I had, the things I liked about her, the things I didn’t, her personality, the things I wanted when I was with her… all of that is completely gone.
So I can say I remember her… well? Not really, at her apartment, at a beach, at a hotel (not the Chelsea), but not much else, none of the good stuff.
Anyway, we’re ugly, but we have the music: