Hooray for The Guardian, which a few days ago published one of the most entertainingly sycophantic pieces of music journalism I've ever seen!
I love the British paper but its obsessions with Lou Reed verges on the embarrassing. At regular intervals they attempt to interview Reed, and of course no matter the outcome, the article is hilarious. When it goes wrong, you read about a journalist's humiliation; when it goes right, the piece turns into a self-congratulatory orgy. Ed Pilkington probably thought it all went swimmingly, and his article is an inadvertent hoot. Come to think of it, even when it goes right, it ends up wrong.
First of all, Pilkington starts off with the lamest line possible: "I'm waiting for my man." Actually, it could have been worse, but then it would have been what The Guardian's Dave Simpson wrote in his Lou Reed interview, which ran exactly a year ago: "I'm Waiting for My Man, except I don't have $26 in my hand, this isn't Lexington, 125, nor do I feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive." My God, people, what are you lacking, shame or editors? At least Simon Hattenstone, going down in flames ("Reed makes me feel like an amoeba. I want to cry.") in his 2003 attempt to tame the beast, avoided the dreaded reference.
Anyway, back to Pilkington. As it slowly dawns on him that Reed is in a good mood, the writer can't help gloating: "I end up enjoying what has eluded countless past interviewers - a conversation with Lou Reed." The funny thing is that as anybody who goes out in New York knows—because he and Laurie Anderson can be seen at a lot of shows, from avant-theater at BAM to David Byrne's disco opera about Imelda Marcos at Carnegie Hall—Lou Reed is often in a good mood, looking like a cuddly grandpa in his Patagonia windbreakers. It's just that when faced with a slobbering idiot, he gets grumpy. Can you blame him?
Further on, Pilkington lets out another howler: "Feeling a little overconfident by now, I dare to suggest to Reed that there is one line in Berlin that dates it - the third line of the album: 'Candlelight and Dubonnet on ice.' When was the last time he drank, or even heard of, the spicy aperitif Dubonnet?" I suppose that using a city divided by a Wall as a metaphor for an entire album isn't dated then.
But this pales compared to the truly shameless ending. After Reed states that he doesn't think "Walk on the Wild Side" was such a big hit, Pilkington writes "This is getting too much. The world's most ungiving interviewee has just shared with me a poignant, almost mournful, insight into his thinking. I'm the one rendered speechless."
Is there a doctor on the plane? Ed Pilkington's tongue needs to be dislodged from Lou Reed's ass.