Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Another short holiday

We've just returned from a short break in Brussels. we didn't take the computer, so I'm updating the blog from here. Its partly done at

I've spent the afternoon reading the 7,000 or so words in my analysis section. It doesn't read too badly, so I've spent the time identifying gaps where the evidence is a bit weak. I should send it to S for comment soon.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Have I found something?

It occurs to me that the way Cohen uses 'the' and the nouns that follow requires a lot of work on the part of the listener/reader. He talks about 'your hair upon the pillow' but he hasn't explained who he is with or where they are, so the reader has to start to work it out. And he uses a lot of metaphor, like 'sleepy golden storm'. Now these are not hard to work out but when he says 'the monkey and the violin', the reader is left to wonder what it means (and I don't think that one is even a metaphor).And 'the gates of mercy in arbitrary space' needs a bit of thinking about. So we like his lyrics because they make us think. And work at meaning.

I have spent the afternoon drawing up a spreadsheet of Cohen's use of nouns and verbs compared with other pop songs. He uses nouns to a level that is more typical of fiction and verbs to a level more typical of conversation. Far more than the other lyrics do.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Standing back

I felt I was getting a bit bogged down with it all so I summarised my findings and sent them to S. He was fairly encouraging and made some more suggestions. Part of my problem is that I am looking for patterns in the language use and not finding many. I suppose that is in itself a finding and suggests that Cohen uses a wide range of language. There is a wide variation in what his lyrics are 'about' and also in how he creates the song.

Had a good walk round Dunham Massey today. We saw the deer gathered together more than usual and wondered if they feed them in one place at this time of year so that they can more easily get to them if it snows. The winter garden is fabulous. Whoever designed it is a genius because they have retained some star plants and trees from before but opened it all up for planting of bulbs, dogwood and the amazing white-barked trees and shrubs.

I've just watched (on a webcam) my youngest sister receive her MA in librarianship. She got a distinction but I know I'm not going to match her at that one. My three younger sisters all have masters degrees so I NEED to get mine this year. Sibling rivalry is alive and well.

But in case anybody thinks we had a privileged start - we are from a working class family brought up in a Lancashire cotton town.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The analysis section

I decided today to try to put the analysis section of the dissertation together from all the bits and pieces I already have. I ended up with over 6,000 words. They won't all make it into the final version but that's well on the way to my 12,500, which will also include introduction, conclusion, data acquisition and the dreaded literature review.

I've merged the three manual analyses - Marianne, Manhattan and Going Home because there are common features and it saves word count. I have started looking at the keywords 'he' and 'his'. There is a lurking 'other man' in 'the stranger song', 'the master song' and 'one of us cannot be wrong'. These are all from Cohen's early period, so I have produced files of his early, middle and later lyrics and tomorrow I will do some analysis of whether there is a difference in the use of these pronouns over time.

The apple crumble was very good.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

How could anybody make a mess of an apple crumble?

Cooking all day today because we are taking food to TSH's daughter to help out when she is busy with the new arrival. TSH's fish pie looks great but my apple crumble exploded all over the oven. My excuse is that its gluten free and it cooks differently. But its a pathetic excuse. I've topped the crumble topping up with some spare I had in the freezer but I'm not sure it will cook when I warm up the rest gently. Am I past it?

My brownies and my nut roast look OK.

No Cohen today.