Beautiful Losers

Well, we went to see I’m Your Man tonight, and I have to tell you I enjoyed almost every second of it.

Almost, Bock? Why not every single second?

Oh, that’s simple. I can answer that in one word: Bono.

Was there ever such a pretentious, self-obsessed, insincere twat as Bono? Is there a single word this man can say that isn’t rehearsed? Look at him. Look at the preening, self-satisfied holier-than-thou gobshite and tell me you’re not looking at a fraud. Christ all-fucking-mighty, I just cannot look at that man without wanting to commit mass murder. Or mass shopping. One or the other. I can never tell the difference.

I mean, listen to that ludicrous mid-Atlantic accent. Where the fuck did he get that growing up in north Dublin? What a knob-head. There he is, in the Cohen movie, standing in the shadows, sharing his ridiculous opinions while wearing sunglasses. In the dark!! Question for you: what are sunglasses for? Correct. they’re for sun. So why does that fool Bono need sunglasses in the dark? Answer: he’s a knob-head.

Nick Cave, meanwhile, came across as a guy who hadn’t given a second’s thought to his answers, and do you know what? I believed every word he said. Unlike Bono, who looked like he’d spent twelve hours in front of a mirror, getting it right.

I have always loved the music and writing of Leonard Cohen. I’m a true believer, and I loved this movie, apart from the random intrusions of Bono’s vacuous twitterings. Watching the film develop, with all these wonderful singers covering his songs, it seemed that the right thing would be if Lenny finished it himself, by singing Tower of Song, and that’s exactly what happened. Imagine my horror, then to discover that he had U2 as his backing band. Oh Noooooooo!

To his credit, Leonard looked both embarrassed and in pain.

Bono is a self-important, unlettered twit. Leonard Cohen, by contrast, is a humble genius, and I thought I might bring you a little evidence of this. His book, Beautiful Losers, was translated into Chinese in 1999, much to Lenny’s surprise, and this is the foreword he wrote to his new Chinese readers. For people familiar with him, it confirms what they already know, and for new arrivals, it’s as good an introduction as any to the kind of man he is.

Here we go:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for coming to this book. It is an honor, and a surprise, to have the frenzied thoughts of my youth expressed in Chinese characters. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the translator and the publishers in bringing this curious work to your attention. I hope you will find it useful or amusing.

When I was young, my friends and I read and admired the old Chinese poets. Our ideas of love and friendship, of wine and distance, of poetry itself, were much affected by those ancient songs. Much later, during the years when I practiced as a Zen monk under the guidance of my teacher Kyozan Joshu Roshi, the thrilling sermons of Lin Chi (Rinzai) were studied every day. So you can understand, Dear Reader, how privileged I feel to be able to graze, even for a moment, and with such meager credentials, on the outskirts of your tradition.

This is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously. May I suggest that you skip over the parts you don’t like? Dip into it here and there. Perhaps there will be a passage, or even a page, that resonates with your curiosity. After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to read it from cover to cover. In any case, I thank you for your interest in this odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, religious kitsch and muffled prayer æ an interest which indicates, to my thinking, a rather reckless, though very touching, generosity on your part.

Beautiful Losers was written outside, on a table set among the rocks, weeds and daisies, behind my house on Hydra, an island in the Aegean Sea. I lived there many years ago. It was a blazing hot summer. I never covered my head. What you have in your hands is more of a sunstroke than a book.

Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time.

Los Angeles, February 27, 2000

Leonard Cohen

kick it on

7 replies on “Beautiful Losers”

Aw, be fair now, Bock. Knobs need full-spectrum UV protection too. It’s crucial, I’d say.

You’re a lucky schwein to get to see I’m Your Man. The nearest cinema to here that showed it was 40-odd miles away. And, oh, I would’ve but the husband was away and I couldn’t get the babysitting at the time. The fates conspired to keep me from him. Bastarding fates.

Alexis Sayle once said that the beauty of Leonard Cohen was that he perfectly captures the utter pointlessness of being Canadian:-). I guess Bono just encapsulates the idea of utter pointlessness, period.

What’s scary is the way he has become a brand that has to be stuck on a movie like ‘I’m Your Man’ to get anyone under 30 to get off their arses and go see it. Sad times we live in.

Guess you didn’t catch him on Idol gives back – he has SO had work done. His face looks like a freshly starched and ironed shirt now.

I can tell you now that D’Edge was wrong when he said, “I don’t think there’ll ever be another Leonard Cohen. There’s a Leonard Cohen who lives in Margate. He calls himself Lenny but his mother still calls him Leonard. Of course, if he ever brought out a record, I’m sure he’d be sued but he’s a good drummer.

Sam: Maybe you could get it on DVD. No? And hold showings at your house for all the neighbours.

Liam: Nothing will ever make me like Bono.

Lenny is just the business. I love the fact that he ended up in NYC on his way to Nashville to become a country singer.

Flirty: His face looks like a piece of old hairy bacon.

Cap’n: I’d say there are many Leonard Cohens. Poor The Edge!

Ellie: Good. We’re at one on this matter.

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