Letter to L.R. with thanks

Lou Reed by Mick Rock, 1973
Lou Reed by Mick Rock, 1973

Dear Lou,

I'm very sad to hear of your passing today. I hope you went on your journey peacefully and without regret.

I replied to a friend on Facebook who mentioned your recent liver transplant on my generic "RIP" status update that you were "one of those people whom I admired so much and was also amazed they lived so long. I guess they will all start dropping away soon. It makes me feel hollow."

I do. I feel hollow at your loss. I was fortunate to be among your audience at one of your Metal Machine Trio concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London a few years back and I noticed that you looked worryingly frail, but that you also seemed to be enjoying yourself a lot.

Not in an undignified, gurning, slack jawed, guitar-face way, but in the way of a man liberated by the act of re-engaging with the purely sonic, the avant garde, the difficult and the extremely loud (the tagline was "no songs, no vocals") and rediscovering something vital and cathartic. I certainly remember how relaxed you seemed afterwards, sitting at the front of the stage chatting with your fans, shaking hands, signing things. Being quite unlike "Lou Reed, difficult, reclusive rock singer".

I'm glad that this was the last time I encountered you. It was a fucking brilliant concert. Pure sound and noise, unencumbered by form, unfretted from structure. It was liberating for me too. I was breathless with excitement afterwards.

Lou, you came in to my life during a momentous period of my adolescence. I was barrelling through so many discoveries at once - Transformer, Walk on the Wild Side, ALL OF The Velvet FUCKING Underground and the beguiling universe of New York art and music, drag and cabaret, extremely loud music of all sorts, transsexuality and the unflowering of my sense of self.

You ran through it all like a concept expressed in bold type through a stick of rock. You, with David, Iggy, Andy, John, Nico, Sterling, Mo and the others. You helped me happen as a musician and as an artist and as a grown up person.

So I'm sad to hear of your passing today. But I want to say thanks for having been, and continuing to be Lou Reed.

Kaoru x

Lou Reed by Mick Rock, 1972
Lou Reed by Mick Rock, 1972
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