humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

Taken For Granted

Posted by spritzophrenia on November 1, 2010

My girlfriend took me to see Leonard Cohen on Friday night— thanks babe. It was a fine performance and the sell-out crowd was enthusiastic. Enthusiastic, but nevertheless genteel; everyone stayed seated apart from standing ovations at the end. The front row sat demurely only a few meters from the stage, no need for security guards to keep the moshpit back.

The much-talked-about sound problems at Vector Arena weren’t in evidence. I did my usual tech geek thing, wandering around at half time studying the setup, but I won’t bore you with that. My body wanted the volume just a little louder, though it was sufficient. Perhaps the low volume was to keep the oldies happy, I’ve never seen so much white hair (or lack of hair) at a concert. Ruefully I remind myself that I’m not so young either.

The band put on an extremely professional show, so perfect that I wondered if they get bored playing the same songs night after night. A couple of Cohen’s band have been with him for 35 years, and if you go on YouTube or buy the concert DVD, you’ll find them playing exactly the same songs for the last few years, the same encores and even the same stage banter. The set list doesn’t vary much. Not that I was complaining.


My personal favourites were “The Gypsy Wife” (beautiful and complex), and the Webb sisters singing “If It Be Your Will”. It amuses me that 76 year-old Mr Cohen skips onto and off the stage like a gleeful child.

In the airport on the way home I had an experience which made me think. Sugarpop got us entry to the Koru Club, a private airport lounge for frequent fliers who can afford it. I can see why you’d want it: Comfort, quiet, internet, newspapers, showers, coffee, food and wine, on demand, as much as you can eat, free. A glutton’s paradise. I determined to make full use of the facilities, after all we had several hours to wait and this is not the lifestyle I’m used to. I gleefully allowed myself to feel like a rock star and began stacking up a decent pile of empty wine glasses.

What surprised me is I began to find myself judging the vintages inferior, and the range too small. Wanting a little more variety. Feeling the choice of salads, hot and cold foods were not quite what I felt like, couldn’t they make something else? Feeling just a little disgruntled when they replaced the cheesecake I’d been scoffing with not-very-nice pumpkin pie (it’s Halloween, y’know).

Then I realised. “Oh my God. This is where it starts. I’m beginning to feel entitled.”

Instead of feeling grateful that I had an abundance of delicious food and drink, I began to complain in my head. I was turning into one of THOSE people, who have an expectation of service and have forgotten just how close they are to starvation. I now understand how quickly rock stars become self-indulgent.

It was a salutary moment.




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The Webb Sisters with Leonard Cohen | If It Be Your Will

6 Responses to “Taken For Granted”

  1. Iโ€™m not a fan of LC but glad you enjoyed it. Glitzy food โ€“ youโ€™re allowed to have opinions and think of the starving souls. Itโ€™s not an either/or thing.

    • It’s not so much the starving souls I was thinking of, as the horror of seeing greed and selfishness rise in me. Maybe I can be more compassionate on rock stars and rich celebs – I can now see how easy it is to fall into that.

      • meryl333 said

        Ramakrishna was asked if he could give one piece of advice to a give young man wishing to advance spiritually and he gave this answer: Awareness. When the young man asked for him to explain futher, he wrote: Awareness Awareness Awareness. Once you stood back from your ego and watched what it was doing, that is a big deal. Analyze. Discriminate between what will lead you to a higher… or lower place. And act accordingly.

  2. SugarPop said

    Re your experience at the airport club – very interesting. I’ve learnt over the years that gratitude is a wonderful thing and have worked hard to cultivate it in my world. The very fact that you *noticed yourself* says, to me at least, that you are not *one of those people* – whoever they are…

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