Thursday, 15 January 2009

Growing up nicely

When I was 17, I wandered around my Sixth Form College reading Philip Larkin and dreaming of finding a man who would seduce me whilst reading poetry and looking deep and beautiful.

In a few short years Mr Coffee would be that man, but I had not met him yet (and at the time he was busy applying eyeliner and gelling his hair into spikes, so I'm very glad I wasn't around for that). But it was okay, because I had Lloyd Cole.

Lloyd Cole, with his clever songs and his pretty hair, was with me through my 'A' levels and my degree. Lloyd's music was constantly playing through the sophisticated stereo system I owned as a student - a Sony Walkman with a pair of tiny, tinny speakers.

So when Mr Coffee told me that Lloyd Cole was playing WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF OUR HOUSE and that tickets had been bought I was a bit nervous. It had been a while. I've had two children; heaven knows what shape Lloyd was in. Maybe - oh god - he had tried to keep the same hair. Maybe it would be really sad, and he would play all his old songs and I would come out of the theatre feeling like a woman, well, 22 years older than I was when I saw him last time.

It was a worry.

But there was no need to worry, because you know, Lloyd Cole grew up. Really well. He had new songs that made me not really care about hearing the old ones, and when I did, he had made them lovely again in a different way. His voice was familiar, understated and beautiful, his lyrics still intelligent, but on an empty stage with his guitar he was another musician completely to the one I had seen so many years ago. (Also, to be fair, when I saw him last time he was more famous, and I had less money, so I was sat so far away from the stage I could barely make him out.) I sat utterly mesmerised the whole way through, and left not wanting to dig out my old CDs, but to - gasp - buy new ones.

Yes, children, you are right to look afraid. The High School Musical soundtrack is living on borrowed time.

(Mr Coffee remarked that Lloyd Cole now reminds him of Kenneth Branagh in Wallander (left). He thought he was being a bit evil, saying that. He had failed to realise quite how alluring I found Kenneth Branagh in Wallander.)

I felt a little shallow for worrying about Lloyd's waist and hairline, when he is such a good musician and lyricist and so serious and all. But then in a queue in the ladies' at the interval, I stood behind a woman who was moaning to her friend that he was wearing sensible brown shoes. "My god!" she was saying. "He could at least wear plimsolls or something! How old is he now?"

It had never occurred to me to worry about his footwear. Nor do I think I would be particularly interested to know what a man in his late 40s who wore plimsolls had to say about the world. I was very happy to find that I was not the most ridiculous woman in the theatre.

And very happy to know that in Lloyd Cole and Mr Coffee I have two very lovely men to grow old with.


  1. I'm not sure it would matter what Lloyd Cole looked like, he still sounds the same through my ipod, where Love Story is on permanent rotation :-)

    I remember sitting in a cafe in New York in the mid 90s, looking out of the window as Lloyd Cole walked past. I very nearly fell off my chair.

    And now I need to go and track down his latest album. Wish he'd come to play here.

  2. Hands off Wallander - he's mine. Even if he does specialise in Swedish angst and a rather uncomfortable level of designer stubble.

  3. This is nice and all, but I'm stuck on the idea of Mr. Coffee applying eyeliner. I am picturing that guy in Human League (oops -- I'm dating myself) singing "Don't you want me, baby?" and brooding. Perhaps you can provide photos (with one of those little black bars over Mr. C's eyes, of course).

    (I find it mystically compelling that my word verif is "weechitu," as I once lived in Wichita. It's a sign.)

  4. Oh, Lloyd Cole. Sigh. That thick dark mass of hair and those scowling eyes...and most of all that voice.

    Back in the day, he was it for me, too.

    Glad you had a fun evening out. Mr. Coffee is a good egg.

    Now I need to check and see if he's coming to Germany...

  5. Being the considerate father that I am (Lloyd's - not the young lady), I've e-mailed eurolush the details of his next visit to Germany.........

  6. loyd cole was very angsty wasnthe
    I loved roddy frame - god knows why
    i like a real man now not a preubescent male

  7. Oh. Man. We were just talking about Lloyd Cole - I too, listened to him on cassette tape on my walkman... and we just uploaded him into the ipod.

    I have just discovered new band Okkervil River and they have a bit of the Lloyd Cole sound.


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