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Queer Editorial

quiverlou.jpg Quiver

Quiver looks back at the life of Lou Read with a quaver in her voice…

Not to start 2014 on a downer or anything, but I was really upset by Lou Reed’s death in October last year. More upset that I thought I’d be. And while I’ve always loved his music, for years now I’ve had a love-hate relationship with his public persona. Part pussycat, part belligerent git, he really divided my loyalties. Some of his interviews portrayed a man who seemed disconnected, arrogant, insightful, angry, compassionate and fragile. And while he could be all of these things simultaneously he was always utterly compelling. That his partner is Laurie Anderson only made me love him more and over the years I’ve seen them in and out of the music & cultural press with their collaborations and projects. So much has been written about Reed and I am no expert on The Velvets or the avant-garde American music scene. Nor do I think for a minute that I know him by extension of knowing his music. I wonder what would have happened had he and Andy Warhol’s paths not crossed. Who knows, and is it important now? Of course it’s not. But I don’t think it’s a leap to think he would have ploughed an interesting furrow, no matter how his life had panned out. In his later years I loved his listening and his silence. Just recently I got to see the film of his 2006 performance of the Berlin album. Through the whole set he never spoke a word – except “Antony” (in response to Antony Hegarty’s sublime backing vocals) – and that he was a tai chi master didn’t surprise me at all. In his later years he had a stillness about him that was at odds with the dirty realism of his songs, but we’re all allowed to be more than one kind of person, right? I don’t want to categorise him, or his work, or draw any ill-informed conclusions. I just loved his sound and I am sorry he’s not going to be around to make any more. And more than anything, aside from his musical legacy, we have lost a wonderful queer icon. I’m going to miss your dark star Lou.