Lou

I went to see Lou Reed play a tiny concert in a town called Skibbereen many years ago. At the time, I was crazy in love. So much so, that I remember more about my own huge feelings than about Lou.

He seemed gruff, unmoved to be there, but cool in a deep-seated way. His gruffness also seemed like a facade, a conscious decision rather than his natural way. I remember watching for it to crack. And I remember him smiling a bit at one thing or another and feeling I had seen the crack. I liked him.

On Sunday, a few friends from home e-mailed to say Lou's passing made them think of me and of times past. It surprised me but I guess I was always playing Lou Reed back then. Satellite of Love over and over. One time I threw a party and this guy Mike stood in my back garden singing Sweet Jane. He may or may not have been wearing trousers at the time.

I never had that knack for listening to the right thing at the right time, reading the books that everybody was talking about. I've always come at things in oblique ways and I get scrappy when people try too hard to influence me.

So I don't remember how it came about, but I'm glad Lou was part of it. Sweet Jane is my song. I'm just claiming it like that. I'll always remember twirling under a boy's arm while Lou played it just feet away. I wasn't watching his face while he played so I don't know if he smiled a bit or just rolled his eyes.
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