My path to Leonard

Gillian Colhoun
Gillian Colhoun

By the time I made it to Uni I was already pretty pleased with my taste in music. Dylan, Van, Springsteen. For faux irony, I’d throw in a bit of Freddie or Neil Diamond. 

The guy who lived on the floor below me was elusive. I liked his habit of wearing brown cardigans. I knew he was clever because he carried a notebook, wore glasses and never made eye contact with anyone. 

I made it my business to break into the inner circle of ‘Dom’. 

He didn’t take to me at all. That’s ok, I thought, I’m a grower.

By mid-term, he permitted me to smoke the odd joint with him. But only in his room, and only ever the two of us.

There was no attraction between us. I simply wanted to know him.

He tolerated me and my limitless capacity to talk about ’things’. Any things. Music, politics, art, poetry, drama – the usual pretentious hogwash that comes with being 18, curious and giddy with the notion of being an adult.

Mostly we listened to music. Dom had a B&O stereo. Unheard of extravagance, even during those heady days of student grants. 

We listened to all kinds of stuff. Everything from Wagner to Whitesnake. But we each had our go-to albums in times of stress or reflection.

Mine was Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. Dom’s was Grace by Jeff Buckley.

The first time I listened to Buckley sing Lilac Wine, I cried. I still do.

But when I heard him sing Hallelujah, it took me to a different part of my brain. It still does.

That was my path to Leonard Cohen. 

I owe Dom big time. 

For letting me in. For the weed. For the philosophical wank. And for Leonard.


~ Gillian Colhoun

Also published on Medium.