Lloyd Cole

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: AM

P - The year was 1984 and I was fully entrenched in the somewhat darker tones of bands such as Echo & the Bunnymen and the likes, until that is by chance I heard the following - "Jodie wears a hat although it hasn't rained for six days, she says a girl needs a gun these days, hey, on account of all the rattlesnakes" - hearing these lyric lines and the almost country-esque pop tune Rattlesnakes was a revelation - it stopped me in my tracks, I changed direction, bought myself a three buttoned - not brown not grey not black - rumpled Issey Miyake blazer, a pair of desert boots and started wearing my shirts with one button undone. I was trying so hard to be his - Lloyd Cole's that is - combination of cantankerous young man whilst being effortlessly cool.

F - About a thousand miles away, a good friend of mine, introduced me to Lloyd, her sister had acquainted her with his music and she was keen to share the joy, of which I was very grateful - "she's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin" - from Perfect Skin and - "it's just a simple metaphor, it's for a burning love" - from Forest Fire resonated with me and soothed me to sleep in my boarding school bed. No doubt dreaming sweetly of Lloyd.

All the boys wanted to be like him and all the girls wanted to be with him.

Fast forward to 1995, with many albums released in the space between, taking pride of place on our bookshelves, Love Story was released in September of that year and independent of one another, as we hadn't yet met, we bought the album and listened to it during the Autumn, with its wonderful evocation of autumnal melancholy. Listening to the likes of Sentimental Fool - "the more I learn the less I know, could you make mine straight absolute? The more I fail the less I try, ask not of me the reason why" - we met, quite by chance and quickly discovered a mutual appreciation of Lloyd Cole and his songwriting genius, a wordsmith, whose philosophical lyrics and cinematic songs shaped us and helped us to bond, suddenly Love Ruins Everything made sense - "I'm unrecognisable, my trademark frown has grown into the strangest easy smile, oh, my, my, where did I go wrong? Ask all my drunken friends, love ruins everything."

I suppose that it comes as no surprise that both our daughters are named after Lloyd Cole songs - “I get the pressures of life, through lack of Patience, I get the pressures of love and I swoon”- Patience and Grace - "Out in the summer rain, you will begin again, out in the summer rain, we will begin again." Lloyd Cole for us is quintessentially British, even though he himself hasn't lived there for many years, but he reminds us of the part of Great Britain we are so fond of, he is ironic "and anyone who had a hat would surely know, it only rains when you leave it at home", wondrously articulate, with perfect first lines - "I'm looking for a religious girl, with child-bearing hips and a wedding veil, but I'm saddened to report sir, it's not easy" - with lyrics full of metaphors, about the waning of youthful idealism, love losing its charm and romance declining into habit.

So whatever you plan to do this Spring, make sure you go and see this icon during his 2017 tour, comprising a set list of songs from 1983 - 1996 only, in an intimate acoustic setting and to celebrate the release of his new 1983 - 1996 anthology. Some are calling it his Classic Songbook Tour, we prefer the title The Retrospective Tour. Starting in Europe in March playing Scandinavia, Germany, The Netherlands, France and then back to the UK. The final two shows will naturally be in Glasgow in April, where it all started for LC. You are most certainly in for a treat, an evening with Lloyd and his bittersweet artfully detailed songs, understated vocals and the man himself, in all his timeless appeal.

February 2017