Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Leo and Me

I met Leo when I attended the 1991 Juno Awards. Leonard was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the awards. And he came on stage and recited the lyrics to Tower of Song. It was mezmerizing.

I attended an after show exclusive party I somehow got an invite to and who should be sitting there at a table with Jennifer Warnes and Suzanne Vega flanking either side of him? It was Leo. I figured that was as close as I would get to the man who was actually shorter than I had imagined. It appeared there was a bit of a fuss between Jennifer and Vega with Vega looking sullen, stewing. In my mind I imagined she was yesterday's news with Leo while Jennifer was the new shiny penny. Leonard excused himself and went out of the room. Like a sick puppy I followed. He went to the Men's. It was just me and him at the urinals. I felt this was not the place to introduce myelf. So I froze as he finished up and then followed him back upstairs. I thought he had returned to the private party but he was nowhere to be found. The two ladies were still there and the light had gone out of their eyes. It was like the sun had set on their evening as they slumped in their seats uninterested in the fancy drinks they had at their table. Champagne was offered. They both refused.

I wanderd back out into the lobby thinking about leaving the lttle party. The room fit 50 and had 150 so it was hot and sticky and uncomfortable. As I started for the front door I glanced in the bar thinking about a drink and there he was. All alone. My heart picked up several beats as I casually wandered in and climbed up onto a bar stool. Again I hesitated to interrupt his privacy. He ordered a well known scotch, not my usual brand. I ordered it too. Sipping our scotches we eyed each other across the marbled mile between us. Raised our glasses and took a sip. I took that as my opening and somehow made it down to his end of the bar without falling on my face. I opened up and told him how much I loved his most recent album I'm Your Man. I told him how hilarious I found it. Leonard was very appreciative saying "I didn't think people got it" referring to the humour in the album. I assured him that myself and a friend of mine certainly did get it. I asked him what what he was doing now and he said living in Los Angeles and working on another Album. (This turned out to be The Future). I asked how he liked LA and he said "it was okay. That is where my work takes me". But he preferred Montreal. He wistfully commented on how he really missed Greece. He was hoping to go there after finishing up the album.

Our own private conversation was interrupted as an older woman and two younger ones walked into the bar and spied Leonard. All three went totally bananas. I could swear their panties fell down to the floor immediately on spotting him. He has that kind of "Tom Jones" effect on women. He greeted them as easily as he had greeted me. They squealed like I had wanted to do in the Men's when I realized we were alone. I politely excused myself and began to leave. He thanked me for the conversation and continued to chat with the ladies.

I went back to the party. Sitting in the glow of it knowing my evening had been complete and probably one of the most perfect evenings in my life. It has remained so. I realized there was nothing else to do but go home. As I was leaving I saw the diminutive hero of song. He was slowly going up the stairs to his room alone. Just like any average single guy in a strange town.

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