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Baker's Dozen

Songs Of Praise: David Keenan's Baker's Dozen
Jennifer Lucy Allan , December 2nd, 2020 09:46

Jennifer Lucy Allan hears about high-fiving Edgar Froese, frightening the neighbours, disavowing the devil and how Scottish author David Keenan is all about saying yes. Portrait by Heather Leigh.

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Lana Del Rey – ‘Heroin’
I first sat down and truly listened to Lana because William Bennett [Whitehosue, Cut Hands] recommended it. She is the greatest contemporary pop star for me, a different class. I would say she's as great a songwriter as Leonard Cohen with a very similar facility. What Leonard Cohen can do is turn a sentence around, and Lana can do that so well.

She is really the soundtrack to when Heather and I got married. We went on honeymoon to the west coast of the States, to San Francisco, Big Sur and LA. In LA we got one of the cottages in the legendary Chateau Marmont, the one Belushi had actually died in, so we were doing this decadent Hollywood-style, hanging by the pool in Chateau Marmont. We did this tour called something like The Dearly Departed tour, and it was amazing – pure Lana. You went round all the sights of the Manson murders and showed them where everything took place, then they took you to the flats where all the Golden Girls lived too, it was totally surreal. The guy had a scrapbook and would tell you weird stories, and I fell in love with that weird magical sleazy Hollywood-style West Coast. I go back to that place every time I listen to a Lana Del Ray album.

This record, this track ‘Heroin’, is the best song about heroin since the Velvet Underground. Lou Reed has that thing where you can feel the heroin pumping through you. In Lana's 'Heroin', you're fully in a narcotic state. The production is so hazy, you feel you're slipping into a drug-infused coma. Everything's distant and glistening, a masterpiece on the allure of heroin and the strange narcotic glam of it. I think it was written about her boyfriend who was in a band in Glasgow at the time, which gave it a double frisson because people would be saying ‘oh, I saw Lana Del Ray kicking about Buchanan Street’.

Didn't she keep getting spotted in the Lidl in Maryhill?

That's right! I loved it. I'm just in love with that weird Hollywood Babylon thing. It's always fascinated me and Heather. I like the way she sings about a slightly seedy underbelly of America and upper echelon America in all of its dysfunction and beauty.