I used to have a problem with Leonard Cohen.
He gave me headache.
This has to be explained.
When I was 5 years old my mum was a teacher in a small nursery school somewhere on the mountains. Having not the money for hiring a babysitter and being myself more or less the same age of her schoolkids I was joining her on Saturdays, when my school was closed.
At that time -1987- most of the Italian radio stations were hard to catch on the mountains we were heading to.
Still, the Fiat Uno of my parents could easily cope with that problem having a -drum roll- tape recorder.
The only problem was that the one and only tape we had in the car, for reasons I would not investigate, was "The Best of Leonard Cohen".
The road was all curves and harpin bends crowded of trucks carrying gravel between Florence and Bologna, my hometown. It was early in the morning. I wanted to stay in bed. My mum insisted for making me drink milk for breakfast.
As a result of these factors: I suffered from car sickness.
And my mum was listening to The Best of Leonard Cohen.
How much I couldn't stand that tape? It's hard to tell without anger.
All the songs gave me nausea and migraine, but particularly "Hallelujah", "Hey that's no way to say goodbye" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" (it's four in the morning, the end of december...) were the equivalent of a water torture standing with my head upside down.
I think I puked a couple of times. Not that I felt guilty for that.
Anyways. It took me exactly 15 years to win over my hate for Cohen (meanwhile my parents went to see him live twice and bought a pile of his CDs), but now I can say the fellow became one of my favourite listenings. Maybe I'm just getting old, who knows?
And yet, until now I did not have the chance of reading anything of what he wrote neither poetry nor fiction.
This "Beautiful Losers" is my first paper Cohen.
And I must say it is not giving me migraine so far.
On the contrary, I am enjoying this book pretty much. Who would have said that the Quebecer minstrel was so obsessed by oral sex and Iroquois Indians? The lyrics of "Chelsea Hotel no.2" should have let me guess the first topic, though.
It's time to be fair: "Beautiful Losers" is a worth reading and its author knows how to be romantic and not trivial even while passing from Kant (Immanuel, the German philosopher) to cunt (the vulgarism for the female genitalia). Believe me: ol'Leonard does it here.
Quoting three lines of the song "The Partisan" by the same Cohen, I could summarize the plot as it follows:
"There were three of us this morning, I'm the only one this evening, but I must go on".