I don’t really want to say so long to you, Neil/Nigel – I just couldn’t resist the gratuitous Douglas Adams reference, especially because in my mind, you and Douglas go hand in hand. For a while there back in the mid-eighties, I was on a steady diet of Douglas Adams and your book, “Neil’s Book of the Dead”, interspersed with some Stephen King. But I could only read Stephen King when I temporarily had a roommate or was defeatedly living at home with my parents for a short time, because I got too freaked out by it to read it while living alone, so that means that you were in heavy rotation with Douglas. That’s a pretty high honor, Neil/Nigel, but I loved you deeply because of “The Young Ones” and I could read your book aloud using your “The Young Ones” voice, much to the entertainment of the friends and the roommate if there happened to be any/one. Plus you were my favorite young one since I secretly had a crush on you because of the hair, although we both know it really needed a good trim.
As you know, Neil/Nigel, you had a pretty hefty excerpt from Leonard Cohen’s “Beautiful Losers” in the section in your book titled “leonardcohensushi”, which blew my mind. It was the best part of my “Neil’s Book…” performance. Of course, living here in Lynyrdskynyrdsville, I had never heard of Leonard Cohen before, and I was amazed and amused by his juxtaposition of the sacred with the profane, the sublime with the coarse and crude. Not that any of that prompted me to do any research on Leonard and try to find out more – that was back when you had to actually get off the couch/bed in your crummy efficiency apartment (that would be a bed-sitter to you, Neil/Nigel) and go to the library to do research, and I only did that for my classes and didn’t spend one minute more than absolutely necessary there, so I remained Cohen-less and clueless that he even wrote music at all.
Until “Shrek” came out, that is. By that time, I was teaching on a college campus, where people knew stuff, and when I mentioned the amazing song “Hallelujah” that was featured in the movie, one of the people that knew stuff told me it was by Leonard Cohen, whom I immediately recognized from your book. I was stunned at first, but then it quickly made sense. Who else could have written those lyrics? People were confused about “Hallelujah” – was it about sex or God stuff? I, thanks to you and leonardcohensushi, knew that it was about both.
Slowly, over time, it came to the attention of my tiny mind that there was a whole catalog of songs written and performed by the great Leonard Cohen, and now he’s got an entire playlist on my iphone. I have you to thank for that, Neil/Nigel. Your book was a masterpiece of sixties-spoofing silliness, but in the midst of it all, there was a shining Cohen-gem I could take with me through the years. I’m glad you were on the rotation with Douglas and Stephen. And it was great to see you on that episode of “Midsomer Murders” that I saw on Netflix a while back. So long for now – I hope to see you soon on some other British TV mystery, because I really dig those and watch them all the time. Peace.
The Marvelous Nigel Planer
I would post Cohen’s masterpiece that we all know and love from “Shrek” (which I also love, by the way – huge Shrekster here), but in an effort to be individualistic and appear to be one of those people that know stuff, I’ll post a lesser known, but almost equally magnificent song. Here’s “Bird on the Wire”. By the way, Neil/Nigel, if you’re still listening, this clip is of a 2008 performance in London, and I like to think you were there, thereby bringing us full circlesushi. Heavy.
I have tried, in my way, to be free…
Okay, fine…who am I kidding…I’m a freaking lemming…here’s one of the most incredibly deep and beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my entire, sheep-like existence.
I’ve told the truth; I didn’t come to fool you. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the lord of song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah…
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