No Ideas — two months on the road with
You work for a living legend.
You’re expected to behave.
You’re really just a jerk.
Leif is a roadie who fancies himself as a bit of an intellectual. He works for Leonard Cohen and thinks he can write a book about it. It sounds ideal but he has a problem. Reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Years of touring does things to you.
Nothing happens on tour.
And in great detail.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK?
It’s a diary. I go places and do things. It isn’t really about Leonard Cohen, but he does appear occasionally. No Ideas is primarily about one roadie and his drunken roadie world: real, imaginary, and both.
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My alarm sounds and my eyes pop open.
I mumble; ‘Leonard Cohen. Better get going.’
My wife Elaine rolls over. ‘Bring back milk.’ She nods off. I look to the bedroom door and a sliver of light sneaks in. It’ll be 63 days until I sleep in this bed again.
I’m a roadie.
I maintain electric guitars and amplifiers. I’m not a real author, I’m just a guy who likes to write.
What will the world look like in 63 days?
Will it be at peace? Will bee numbers rise?
Will I have grown a golden mane, flowing in the breeze as I tap-dance home on a candy rainbow? No one knows.
I’m only certain of one thing: I have to get out and live for 63 days.
I have to leave the house and join the 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas tour.
I approached a man so fat he needed two mobility scooters to get around. His moustache looked like dyed kitchen roll. One foot was terribly swollen, the other a nub. Flies buzzed around him.
‘Excuse me is this Via Capello?’
‘What the fuck country am I in?’
‘No habla Ingles.’
‘Look, how much to rub the girl’s tit?’
‘Thirty euro señor.’
‘Does God know you tell lies?’
Van: clapped-out diesel piece of shit festooned with ancient band stickers; indecipherable logos.
Man: drives like a teenager on meth. He kicks the accelerator and stands on the brakes. He is surprised by red lights. The windscreen is filthy.
There’s lots to see in Madrid if you aren’t hurtling through streets at light speed. It’s a parade of statues, arcs, and winged sentinels of stone.
Tyres scream against hot tarmac. Pedestrian crossing.
A skinny young man appears, eyes hidden behind black lenses. He wears red denim trousers, painted on.
He runs, literally runs, into the middle of the road, and we skid to a halt.
I opened my room door; the light was on.
This is strange I thought.
I always ensure the lights are off before I leave. I thought some more; fuck it. I chocked the door with my foot and threw in my bag and steel-toe shoes — one at a time, like a cricket bowler.
‘Aieee!’ came a pained voice from within.
The poor housekeeping guy.
He had just finished turning down the bed, and in the line of fire he took a steely boot to the dome. The Belgian went down like a bag of hammers.
‘I don’t have time for this shit,’ I muttered.
I dragged his limp body to the threshold, his polyester jacket sparking against the dry carpet. I wedged the door ajar with his outstretched hand. His colleagues should be able to identify him by his rings. Into his flaccid hand I crumpled a ten euro note.
I went to the bar.
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