Boyhood, Hydra, and Leonard Cohen

Watching Richard Linklater’s brilliant ‘Boyhood’ left me asking the impossible question posed in that old Fairport Convention song -“Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” The film shows a boy growing into a young man, but it does so by filming him and his family in real time. They all, literally, age before your eyes and the effect is mesmerising and totally involving. At the end, you are left contemplating  the ageing process, reflecting on, and questioning, the wisdom of the Jesuit saying “”Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”. It’s this principle which underpins  Michael Apted’s ’56 Up’, recently repeated on TV. Since its first instalment in 1964, this extraordinary documentary has traced the lives of a group of British children from a variety of backgrounds, from the age of seven, returning at seven-year intervals to take snapshots of their lives. Both the fictional, novelistic ‘Boyhood’ and  the factual, ‘real-life’ ‘Up’ series make you aware of time and ageing in powerful and moving ways.

I had been preparing to go to Hydra for some time ( see ‘My Long Weekends with Leonard Cohen’ – – but I wasn’t prepared for the Boyhood/56Up moment when I put a couple of photos side by side. The first is of us on our first holiday together. The second, taken in the same place, is us on our return thirty one years later

As for Leonard, we thought we should find his house, just to see where we might have stayed had he answered my wife’s letter.