I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


As mentioned in The Guardian (and other media) Leonard Cohen's muse and lover, Marianne Ihlen has died of cancer, aged 81. Two of his most famous songs were inspired by her; So long, Marianne and Bird on the Wire.

So time passes and our youth with it.

RIP Marianne



Roderick Robinson said...

I don't want to be picky - Why am I fibbing? I love being picky. - but I would question your penultimate sentence. Our physical youth may, with time, go up the ess-hole but the rest often stays as it always was. Attitudes and tendencies that were formed as far back as adolescence may remain unchanged. In my own case I recognise a recklessness, an awe towards women, a totally unjustifiable belief in my own cleverness, certain aesthetic responses; all of which have been around for as long as I've been able to string two thoughts together. Fragments of youth still govern me and on good mornings I may wake up and re-live the conviction I once had that I was destined to live for ever. Such matters are important when we address subjects as you've done here - an enthusiasm of long-standing. Ideally the sadness should be honestly reflective rather than knee-jerk negative, otherwise the tribute you were hoping to pay ends on a flat note.

Mind you, if I faced the same topic - the appeal of distant popular music - I can't deny I'd have intractable problems. The popular music of my youth was so terrible (How much is that doggie in the window?) that I was a convert waiting to happen when I heard my first Bach cantata. Can I then be "honestly reflective"? If I try. Jo Stafford had a lovely voice and I can still respond to her performance of Blue Moon. And when, comparatively recently, I came upon what must be the definitive version of Fools Rush In by Doris Day (accompanied superbly by Andre Previn) I acknowledge I was premature when I dismissed her many years ago for Yah-yah, Roly-Poly Bear.

Reflect. You were full of your own exuberant youth when you proudly explained and photographed your methods for dealing with stiff springs.

Avus said...

There might have been a time, perhaps even only 2 years ago, when I was able to wake up "on a good morning" and relive your similar convictions. Unfortuately,since my stroke I find sleep uncomfortable and always awake with spasticity in my legs, which takes about an hour to clear before I can face limping out with the dog. Not something I usually go on about, but relevant to your comment.

As to my tribute ending "on a flat note" - that was its intention as I reflected on Cohen's last letter to her (see the Guardian link) and remembered his/her youth and the fact that he will probably never tour again. Eheu fugaces..... etc. A typical reaction, I suppose, from one who enjoys the "Old Groaner's" earlier works!

As to "the springs" posting - an example of how the experience of my mechanical past was able to overcome a problem in my old age. If I came over as an exuberant youth, I apologize.

Roderick Robinson said...

No, no, no, no! You have misread what I'm saying, not least in the final para. What on earth caused you to imagine you needed to apologise for that piece about springs?

Our bodies decay and there is no pleasure in them. Pain and decreptitude will tend to drive out optimism and leisurely thoughts. But youthful spirits need not necessarily decay with our bodies unless we will it. In moments of peace or reduced adversity we recognise positive impulses (eg, a love of music, a long-standing kinship with dogs) that have evolved within us over time and may - if we are lucky - give in to them yet again.

Why should you want to be "flat" about the death of Marianne? Death is "flat" we all know that. To say that neither will never tour again is a platitude. Mourning is not simply an acknowledgement of death; who needs that? It is an occasion for all sorts of things: railing against the absence of light, celebrating the corpse's achievements. Melancholy too but this usually needs careful consideration if we are not to be maudlin.

I am not trying to set your suffering at nought. Only to suggest that you might, if the occasion presents itself, dwell on inner Avus still surviving whatever's going on outside. Your piece about trail bikes described a change in your attitude, and I found that honest and commendable.

Avus said...

Thanks for that.

This afternoon I shall "dwell on inner Avus still surviving whatever's going on outside" and fit some replacement rear shocks to a Honda CD200 Benly that I have just bought. It will replace the small Honda CG125, now sold for £1000 (£50 profit, I tell myself) on ebay. It was light, yes, but also under powered in head winds, but it has given me confidence to ride something a little larger.

Cycling still plays a very big part, but buying, selling, riding and tinkering with the powered variety still adds pleasure to my days.

Roderick Robinson said...

The significant detail here is that you opted for change (ie, the more powerful bike), proof you are a sentient thinking being. One of the tendencies of getting older is that we turn in on ourselves, clinging to the status quo, resisting change because we regard it as disruptive. Had it been me I'd have adopted that "turned in" response; I cannot think of anything I'd less like to do at my age than try and sell something on ebay. So good for you.

Not that I resist all change. I ponder matters, try to disdain cliché opinion, look for original views (or ways of saying things) on familiar subjects which I can then write about. Writing fiction is also change, since one starts from nothing and creates something which may turn out to be original. Perhaps my next short story will centre on a man, well stricken in years, who fears ebay.

Now please don't tell me there's nothing to fear in ebay; there's no literary potential in that. It's fiction I'm after, not instruction manuals. And yes I know instruction manuals can be fascinating. Birds sing, dogs bark.

Avus said...

Thanks again.

I always look forward to reading your comments, which sometimes pull me up, short. But on re-reading I find that you are writing good sense. Far more stimulating than the standard replies that I understand appear on Facebook and that ilk (I don't subscribe). Your second paragraph in your last comment sums up why, each morning, I click onto "Tone Deaf"

Vita said...

Wow! Honda CD 200 Benly. I wonder how cute it is? I like a cute bike, you know. I'm certain photos will eventually appear. Certainly certain. Quite certain. Sounds fun.

HH loves his 350cc B31 and keeps poking off through the valley sometimes multiple times in a day and is surprised when he tallies up the mileage.

Avus said...


A "Benly" post (for you) is promised once I have tarted it up a little ready for the camera. It just needs some replacement decals on the petrol tank to complete what is in fact a very sound and original little bike.

Vita said...

OK. I'll be waiting.

Two parties (New Zealand and Oregon) have expressed interest in Sunbeam, and HH may sell the Lightning, too. He keeps mumbling about it. No one's in a hurry.