This song written
for an old boyfriend of Suzanne's. Suzanne has expressed many
times that the man she talks about in this song is the same
guy she things of in the song In Liverpool. [Ed.]
"Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was the Folk
singing and disco dance counsellor at a sleep away camp in the
Adirondak mountains. A sleep away camp, for those of you who
don't know, it's a place where you send your children in the
Summer, so they can learn to commune with nature and learn independence.
And the people of New York had sent us their children, for the
Summer, to look after. So there I was, and there was this boy's
camp a quarter of mile up the road, and in this boy's camp there
was a sort of a strange person, and everyone was talking about
- "Oh have you met the new counsellor? He's from Liverpool."
I thought "That's interesting!"
- "Yeah, and he's bald!"
- "Oh, really?"
- "Yes, and he has one earring in one ear. And he's going
He was a rather singular person. He was actually a Dada's painter
from Liverpool, who had been involved in some sort of strange
Dada's movement, and then shaved his head in public, and had
applied to this camp - I think - in the spirit of anarchy that
was gripping the nation at the time. And much to his surprise,
had actually got accepted at this camp far away from his home.
So we met each other, and we began...
I think I asked him the question which is the one that you asked
at the time which was to find out if you had any kinship with
some person. You would say "Do you like Leonard Cohen?"
And if they said "Who?" then you knew there was no
chance. You probably wouldn't even have a conversation. But
if they said "Oh yes!" or if they sayd "Oh, wasn't
he the guy who sang that song...?" then you know there
was a chance. Then what you were supposed to say after that
is "I like Leonard Cohen, but only in certain moods".
Because after all you don't want this new person to think you're
manic-depressive. You know, you have to serve tempo, until you
get to know this other person better. So I opened the conversation.
- "Do you like Leonard Cohen?"
and he said:
- "Oh yes!"
I thought "Oh that's really a great sign", and I said:
- "I love Leonard Cohen, but only in certain moods."
I said hopefully. And he said:
- "What moods are that, I love Leonards Cohen all the time."
And so began our romance.
It was a very, very long time ago, and the thing I remember
the most was that he used to hold me in his arms, and talk to
me about Liverpool, and about the English breakfast, that he
was homesick for. And it was really fascinating to me to hear
this kind of talk, because it sounded so exotic to me. I mean,
I had never heard of eating mushrooms for breakfast before.
And so I always think of that, you know, I've been to England
many times, and I eat the mushrooms and the tomatoes, and I
think of that guy, even if I don't think I should. It's not
as though I think he deserves, or anything. It's not as though
he's come around to see me in the 20 years that has passed either.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, this was a song I had written
for him at the end of that Summer. I think it must be revenge
that keeps me talking about him, because he had said somethin,
you know, it was the end of the Summer, and we both knew we
were both going our separate ways. And he asked me for my address,
and I said no, I wouldn't give it to him. And so he said "well
I'd like to say I'll never forget you, but you never know about
these things". I think it was a retaliation for my not
giving him my address. So now, everytime I come to England,
I talk about him on the radio, so he's forced to think about
me whether he wants to or not."
In concert: BBC Radio Theatre, London,
England, October 19, 1998
In another occasion, Suzanne added an extra detail to the story
...it was the Summer of my first Summer romance, and this was the song I wrote for this man who was from Liverpool, England. And at the end of that Summer I kind of knew in my heart that we probably would not continue to see each other, so I wrote him this song, and he in return gave me his bandanna."
In concert: WDR2 Radio Session, Koln, Germany,
February 28, 2002