The subheading here is, of course, the opening line of ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ by Pete Shelley, near enough.
It may be extremely tenuous, but I feel a link coming here. December saw the passing of a great writer, a great soul and a great raincoat salesman, Leonard Cohen, a man of many great works.
I’m not going to write a discography or quote lines and lines from his wonderful oil lamp lit, foggy Greek harbour of a brain. To be honest, I don’t know them all anyway. Careful with that eulogy, Eugene.
But in terms of music, how are great works measured?
In the case of Brother Cohen, it’s decade after decade of, according to him, “three pages a day” of writing. A modest quota, some might say, but couple this with the ability to look really cool in a hat and raincoat, and that’s difficult.
We can also forgive his brief foray into The Church of Scientology, which he described as “a good place to meet women”. It sounds like a plotline for an episode of Seinfeld. You old charmer, you.
As these icons of ours wish us bon voyage – and by the way, kids, I hate to break it to you, but it happens to everyone – what’s left behind are great works, be they many and constructed over years and years, as with the examples of Cohen and Bowie, or the people who don’t stick around and have somewhere else to go, such as Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
The thing that links all the aforementioned is that they had no plan, and that’s what makes them great. They built something without a plan. They all had something that talent show twats can never have. You cannot aspire to do great works. You can however be inspired, but if you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it. Tough luck.
I will finish with a bit more Ozzy whatshisname.
“Nothing beside remains
Round the decay”
Personally I prefer Green Eggs and Ham.Brian Rooney