One More Thin Gypsy Thief.

I’ve been doing a lot of things lately without noticing the sun has gone down.

This pleases me greatly as it has been a long, long, long time since I’ve successfully managed to get in to any sort of creative ‘zone.’

Such spaces had been filled with all number of wonderful distractions, diversions and depressions.

You have to be happy to write, my scriptwriting professor would say. You have to be happy.

And for all the books and all the courses and all the quotes, I thing the secret lies in learning there really is no secret. It goes up and it comes down. Sometimes you want. Somedays you don’t. It doesn’t feel like waiting for the miracle when you’re doing it everyday. It feels more like breathing or sleeping. And it is with a great sense of satisfaction I can authentically announce that this baby’s on fire…

So much so I even picked up my guitar today after writing and writing until my eye started to twitch again and I couldn’t stop scratching.

A dear, old friend of mine sent me a package in the mail some weeks ago now.

The contents of which was a song book and a card. The card contained words which constituted a letter which made me feel loved and valued as I read. The songbook of course, was Leonards.

I worked my way through it this afternoon, the songbook and the card, which is how the sun managed to set without my noticing, and I’m quite the stickler for sunsets.

Here’s one I took from Brooklyn.

Here’s one I keep on my wrist:

Still, it managed to set without my noticing.

The consequence of which, means I can now play this:

and this:

Now I know it’s not a particularly profound thing to say, but I think there’s something really delicate and intimate about learning how to play someone else’s song. A privilage of sorts. A personal invite. A secret passage. A private joke.

Of course, I’m not trying to change the world, I hope that’s evident by now. Not with this blog, not with anything I am doing. I’m just making a rather valiant attempt to change my own world, I suppose– which is actually working– and which is arguably better than setting out to remedy all of the worlds ills. I mean, look what that did for Mother Theresa or Hitler, who are similar in nature and motive, if you do your research.

I just really like playing guitar.

And I have grown curious with regards to the common themes in Leonard’s songs. And I like that his five chord repertoire ain’t much better than mine. I’m interested in these characters and phrases he introduces and then refers to like old friends, depending on how familiar you are with his stories.

Famous Blue Raincoat is the third song in this songbook I have here, strewn on my bed, and I haven’t managed to work my way any further this afternoon.

The book lays open on page 20 for a two reasons.

The first being my fingers are a wee bit sore now for too many Bm7 chords and the second being, I just can’t seem to get past the term– One more thin gypsy thief.

Famous Blue Raincoat is written, as you may know, as a letter to an old best friend of his, whom by all accounts seems to have seduced his wife and broken his heart.

Famous Blue Raincoat:

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.

And it’s not just me. I happened upon this documentary earlier this afternoon, which is really simply done. Go make yourself a pot of tea and settle in. He’s a special man is Leonard.

“… and thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes,

I thought it was there forever so I never tried…”


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