Wednesday, 18 December 2019

2019 Contenders: The Bad Sex Award

The final Leonard Cohen album, a posthumous surprise, was an excellent early Christmas present. It's more than just a collection of out-takes from the sessions that led to his last album, You Want It Darker, which was released just a couple of weeks before his sad passing in 2016. It feels like a real album, lovingly compiled by Cohen's son Adam, and it's a worthy companion to the aforementioned, plus a fitting postscript to Lenny's career.

There's just one moment on one track which can't help but raise an eyebrow whenever I hear it.

The Literary Review gives annual awards to "Bad Sex In Literature", pointing out where even the most established and respected authors come unstuck when trying to describe the act of coitus. Morrissey famously won the award a few years back for this passage in his much-mocked debut novel, List of the Lost...
"At this, Eliza and Ezra rolled together into one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.”
It's worth pointing out that Morrissey wrote that novel on the back of his lauded Autobiography, which most critics loved... although I personally felt it could have used the occasional chapter break, or at the very least, paragraph. However, this only goes to show that Morrissey is on firm ground when writing about himself, but has long since passed the point of being able to engage or empathise with anyone who isn't Morrissey. Hence, fiction is now a no-go for him.

Back to Leonard though, and the lines that cause me to go a bit Roger Moore, from the otherwise excellent The Night of Santiago...

The lights went out behind us
The fireflies undressed
The broken sidewalk ended
I touched her sleeping breasts
They opened to me urgently
Like lilies from the dead
Behind a fine embroidery
Her nipples rose like bread

I dunno, I just can't get past the bready nipples, though I do keep trying, because despite this, it's a rather heartbreaking song, of an old man looking back on a sexual encounter from his youth, filled with both joy and regret. Leonard, however, has the perfect response for my (if you'll excuse the pun) titters...
You were born to judge the world
Forgive me but I wasn't

Besides that though, Thanks For The Dance really is a thing of beauty. If further proof were needed, try this...

Thanks for the... ahem... memories, Leonard. (See, I can avoid the obvious puns if I try really, really hard.)


  1. When you mentioned bready nipples, I immediately thought of this photo of Corgi bum bread I saw on the Interweb:

    1. Ah, the interweb. Not just there for cat videos and music blogs....

  2. Not sure how I'd feel about mine being compared to bread - it's bad enough that we have to put up the word 'baps'!
    Brilliant post though, Rol.

    1. Damn, C, you win extra obvious pun points. How could I have missed "baps"?

  3. Always one for an evocative turn of phrase is our Len, usually with some sleazy undertone as well.
    Not heard this one, but those 2 tracks want me to go and have a listen


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