Leonard Cohen sang to me

Monday 19th was a catchup and sort out day. We were flying out the next day to Wellington for the Leonard Cohen concert. We needed a few things out of storage, like the printer!  First we moved Suzi to a more sheltered spot, and had a tidy up. Then it was into Dunedin, which seemed a lot busier than Waikaia!  We got a quick-release contact installed on the battery, so now we can easily disconnect the battery when we are towing the car and avoid flattening it. And went through the pile of stuff we have in storage and under the house – still too much! Then it was back to Wingatui and home/Suzi, to get packed up. I had lots of tickets and vouchers to print off for the plane, the hotel, and the concert. And we even had time to catch up with Colin and Molly again. We set about three alarms – I was starting to get excited about going to Wellington to see/hear the real Leonard Cohen 🙂

Tuesday 20th January 2009 – Leonard Cohen Day

This is the day we go across the country to see Leonard. And what a day! It started with a quick zoom to the airport – we had to check in at 6.20am! It was a direct flight to Wellington, and there we jumped on bus into the city just as it was leaving, so we were at our hotel by about 8:45am. We’d decided to pay a bit more at stay at the Ibis, almost across the road from the TSB Arena where the concert was. We were ready to have to store our bags, but they were able to give us a room straight away, which was wonderful. And the room was wonderful. High up, a bit of a view, and quiet. We had a cup of tea, and went for a walk to pick up our concert tickets. Later Wyn’s son came round for a visit, and we checked out his new website.  We spent the later part of the afternoon listening to Leonard Cohen albums, getting ourselves psyched up for the concert.

We were over the road to the venue fairly early, which was good – it gave us a chance to check out the merchandise. It was overpriced of course, but who cares – this was Leonard Cohen merchandise. There were 6,000 devoted fans there to enjoy the night – and what a night. Sam Hunt was the opening act – in a poetic sort of way. Then there was a break, then by about 8:15pm the band came on, and then Leonard Cohen himself! This was a moment for me. I first saw him on black and white TV, a programme of a studio concert of his first album. I’d have been 15, so that’s about 40 years ago. He spoke to me then – in that his words provided a lot of insight into things I was looking to understand. And it has never changed – the first record I ever bought was his first one, then as a cassette tape. Nobody other than my sister ever seemed to understand him – his music was said to be depressing – my father called him the Groaner – we played that cassette endlessly.

The concert was magic. I didn’t know what to expect, but had hopes. He was way beyond my expectations. He is 75 years old, and still delivering. He came on to a standing ovation, and went off to about 4 more – there were three encores.  He finally got let off at about 11.15pm.  We were tired after our long day – he must have been exhausted, but it never showed. He skipped off the stage each time.

Wednesday 21st Enjoying Wellington

Our flash hotel was caught in a power cut, so we had no lights or anything until about 9:30am. We had breakfast there, and left our bags, and went off to enjoy Wellington. We met up with Wyn’s son and had lunch in the Manners Mall, and went up in the cable car. He left us there, and we wandered back down through the Botanical Gardens. It was a lovely day in Wellington, nice and warm. Then it was time to collect our bags, have a beer, and head off to catch the bas back to the airport. Our flight back was at 7pm, and was another direct one, so it wasn’t long before we were back at Wingatui. The batteries hadn’t charged up much, there cannot have been much sun while we were away.

Thursday 22nd – Catching up

Yesterday was a day of starting to catch up on all the paperwork of living – always a bit more complicated when living on the road. And we attacked the side garden at the house in Opoho, weeds, weeds, and more weeds. It was a warm afternoon. We picked up my two children, and came back out to Wingatui for a BBQ tea, outside in the sun/shade. What a lovely evening.

Friday 23rd – more catching up

Today we’re still on the paperwork, and gardening. We’re planning on being here tomorrow as well, and plan on leaving town on Sunday – bound for Earnscleugh and some work – maybe starting Monday.

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