late at night with lou reed


 “Caroline says, as she gets up off the floor”…

i love that about him…
right there in one opening line he can set the tone in the most elegant way.
in the least amount of words,he gives enough information for you to realise there’s drama ahead,and you want to know more.

“Caroline says
as she gets up off the floor
Why is it that you beat me
it isn’t any fun”

we never bother with christmas in our house,but we’re all the happier for it.
the pressure’s off for both of us,and we just get into things.
for me it was soaking up a load of lou reed records…
late at night when thomas went to bed,i’d wash the dishes,get our dog billy fields settled,turn the lights down low, fire up the turntable and listen to him over and over.

i thought a lot about him..for me his passing defined 2013.

when rock stars die it’s a drag n’all the rest of it,
but there’s something about the darkness around lou reed,that makes his passing over to the other side kind of magical.
he translates well into not being around suits him like no other artist.
roy orbison has that too,even if he might be a very different man.
it’s almost like they wore those dark shades for a lifetime in preparation for this.
another curious thing is their passing re-awakens my fascination for recording technology.
it’s such a powerful medium.
i slip the round black vinyl record under the needle,and suddenly this dead person comes to life.

so i thought a lot about lou reed.
looking at all the photographs of him on the internet,it makes me smile to see how he just pops out of every shot.
it’s beyond anything to do with good’s more about character.
in his youth you see that bright spark scrappy element.the source of so much bad reputation,
and wouldn’t you know it,when you dig deeper,you get a feeling of a true sweetheart..
it’s just that what was really there all along is someone who didn’t like to be disingenuous.
people who refuse to be disingenuous inevitably cause affront in so many areas of life.
the best place to find the sweet side of lou reed is in pictures with his super smart partner laurie anderson…
he just melts in her presence.

a true story of how extreme lou could be is one time he needed the sound of very young children crying,
so he had these youngsters brought into the studio…
microphones were set up and they were told when to cry.
the trouble was it wasn’t very convincing,
so through the talk back microphone by the mixing desk he told the kids that their mummies and daddies had all been killed,and then he hit the record button.
needless to say he got the perfect reaction….
but it was cruel…it made the producer along with the assistants sick to the stomach..
and quite rightly too, as they witnessed these poor kids loudly grieving.
lou never lived that down…
but what was that?…a cruel heartless person?,or a dedicated artist who would do anything for his music.
it’s all very uncomfortable and unsettling,
but then you realise,that ultimately,for all the glittery shrillers up there in the milky way,there are only the smallest cluster of dark stars,and some of them are no picnic.

i’ve chosen these following photos to show how time was well spent on the man.
you can see it in his face..his own evolution.
they very plausibly say that the emotional development of many pop stars slows down on the day they become famous,
but that didn’t happen to him.
you can see it in his face….he developed on a personal level over the years,where many would recede.
that photo at the top of the page..the caption..he maybe loved that,he might have even written it himself for the wind-up..
but it’s not accurate,
for at least he used drugs for creative ends,and then proved to himself, and the likes of me that you can go on to do good work without them.
people who use hard drugs merely to party are bores…
none of them are the spirit children of samuel taylor coleridge or allen ginsberg.



lou and laurie i love this one of lou and laurie.his’don’t fuck with me eyes’save it from ever being soppy.she could be in heaven or  heartbroken in his arms,either way she definitely wants to be there.this is no public display of affection.if anything it’s the reverse and wishes to push the public back a little,so they can save a little piece of themselves for themselves.what a formidable couple.what a photo.tough and tender in equal measure.age visits us all,but folk like him set a benchmark on how to get there in a good way.too many throw the baby out with the bathwater in mid-flight,and even if lou carried himself differently in later years,that wilful look in his eyes remained till the end.he never rolled over to be buried alive at 50.
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10 Responses to late at night with lou reed

  1. Marianne Bloomfield says:

    late at night with lou reed… is how I spent the night he died, just listening to his music over n over. And how I spent many other nights as well. May seem strange, but I always and still do find it reassuring and inspiring. I had the radio on when they announced his death, something like 3 in the morning when I woke up to pee and heard… and immediately had to play his music rather than go back to bed and sleep.

    I love Laurie Anderson too, thought they were just made for each other somehow. Great talent, great intelligence, great dedication to their art whatever it took. Having lost the love of my life, its not hard to imagine her sorrow at losing hers. Time for most eventually heals the wound so I look forward to more work from her someday. One of things I think they shared was and is a very strong character. Each in their own way, true survivors.

    Only in the night sky can we see the stars shine. We listen to the music together, the music we hear, the music in our hearts, the music in our memories.

    I love and appreciate very much this writing you do, its almost as good as your music. As you can see it evokes a powerful feeling in me straight from my heart and spirit.

    Merci Beaucoup cher mary, and may you and Thomas and Billy Fields have a great year!

    Love, m : )


    • hi marianne … it’s very true ..lou and laurie were made for each other…even their names together just roll off the tongue…i have a record of hers called ‘the ugly one with the jewels’…it’s very engaging…she tells these stories of bizarre experiences she’d been through,and flavours it with her own strange music…..much love to you xxx


  2. Liz Munro says:

    dear spirit child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge aka Mary
    thank you for your heartfelt words
    Lou Reed lives on
    i was lead to Laurie Anderson’s
    ‘Farewell to Lou Reed’ in the nov.21st, 2013 issue of
    Rolling Stone
    His death in her arms
    Amazing, transcendental
    with love to you, Thomas
    (and all the spirit children)
    from Liz


  3. isn’t that fantastic liz…he died in her arms..and you’re right..he does live on…it’s an odd thing how supposed ‘difficult’ music or art gains a new clarity after the life of the artist…i hear him now like never before..maybe i listen closer..i dunno…..i do know you are a lovely spirit yourself…loads of love liz.


  4. jennydevildoll says:

    Lou Reed was one of those souls who was New York for the likes of us, who some would like to believe are a dying breed. There are those like Lou (or 2 years before, Gil Scott-Heron) where when they go it impact the entire cultural zeitgeist.


    • hi jenny…i saw gil play in ronnie scotts in london around was a time when he was adrift and unconnected,but when he sat down to play,he knocked the socks off any young freshly marketed upstart..i bought his final record when it came out and was delighted to see the younger guy from blur blowing time and money into his sails when no one else cared or had the foresight…the record turned out so good and proved age can be strong currency,provided there’s a real story to tell,and gil had a story to tell…i love this clip..maybe one of the last things he did live,and it just sits head and shoulders above what most can deliver live infront of a lens…so great you mentioned him…
      check this if you haven’t already seen it.


      • jennydevildoll says:

        Quite hip! It must’ve been something to see him back when he was younger…Gil always had a story to tell, and an awareness of community up to his end days.


      • me hip?..hardly…gil was deemed quite old even then..perceived as having peaked….the 1980’s were a scary ageist world.


      • jennydevildoll says:

        I met him towards the end of his life briefly, so I guess that’s where my head was at when I talked of him being younger…I was a child/teen in the 80’s so probably not fully aware of everything happening in the world at the time. But ageism? Silly as any other type of stereotyping! I’ve met great people both older and younger than myself, and I grew up with a lot of duds in my own generation (as well as some great folks) as well. 🙂


  5. Pingback: late at night with lou reed | mary cigarettes

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