Well I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying / In the yellow haze of the sun NEIL YOUNG After the Gold Rush
And so we drove forth unto Leeds on the Saturday night, one day before the Sabbath, and, behold, we came upon the shiny new First Direct Arena, sparkling like a silver and green spaceship in the slant evening light, and, lo, it was good. It was very good.
Yeah let's do something crazy, something absolutely wrong / While we're waiting for the miracle, for the miracle to come LEONARD COHEN Waiting for the Miracle
We collected our tickets from the yellow-shirted handmaidens at the ticket office, then repaired to the Stick or Twist bar, conveniently sited little more than thirty barleycorns away. In this noisy antechamber, teeming with fedora-hatted gentlemen and earnest, leather-booted women of pensionable age, we did nothing more crazy than order some inedible food (well, this was a Wetherspoon's pub) and gaze adoringly at the iconic image of our Lord on the admission tickets.
I've heard there was a secret chord / That David played, and it pleased the Lord LEONARD COHEN Hallelujah
Finally we were allowed to enter the main temple, and a hushed atmosphere descended as the throng of disciples penetrated the inner sanctum. We gazed reverently at the High Altar, the Holy of Holies, the moveable tabernacle which would be replaced at a later date by the profane circus of the Strictly Come Dancing entourage. We searched this illuminated shrine for signs of music-making — for lyre, harp and psaltery — and the portents were good. After a twenty minute delay the lights dimmed, the anointed musicians walked on stage, and our God, the Deity of the Lonely Bedsit, bounded from the wings like a gazelle, with a vigour which totally belied his seventy-eight years.
I was born like this, I had no choice / I was born with the gift of a golden voice / And twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond / They tied me to this table right here / In the Tower of Song LEONARD COHEN Tower of Song
I wish I could recount for you the wonders of that night in sensual, mystical, spellbinding prose, but, alas, that special gift is beyond me; indeed, many devotees prefer to internalise this kind of experience, keep it quiet and reserve it privately in their hearts for future sustenance. Suffice to say, the sacred ritual was observed, the idol adulated, and the congregation of worshipful admirers flooded out into the chill, late-summer air — eyes gleaming, buzzing with chatter and wondering how many hours they would have to wait before managing to get out of the car park.
(All photos are The Solitary Walker's except the first, which is sourced from Wikimedia Commons.)