"Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

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TomBohan
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"Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby TomBohan » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:06 pm

How and when did the powerful and lovely line from Master Song "Your love is some dust in an old man's cuff" get perverted to "Your love is some dust in an old man's cough"? I just discovered the error that seems to have been floating around for years.
its4inthemorning
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby its4inthemorning » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:29 pm

I always heard it as "cuff," which made sense to me as I remember my father used to occasionally flick a cigarette ash in his pants cuff if there was no ash tray available. But now I see when I check a "lyric" website online, that they have it as "cough," which could also fit.

What is the official lyric, can anyone tell us?
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Hartmut
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby Hartmut » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:03 pm

its4inthemorning wrote: What is the official lyric, can anyone tell us?
Well, at least here:
https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/album1.html#1
it is "cuff".
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Jean Fournell
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby Jean Fournell » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:02 pm

At the top of this page, beneath the signature, there is a link to http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com which has a Song Index link on the left (5th entry beneath the three World Tour entries).
(Well, I see Hartmut was faster.)

This is what I find:

Then I think you're playing far too rough
for a lady who's been to the moon;
I've lain by this window long enough
to get used to an empty room.
And your love is some dust in an old man's cuff
who is tapping his foot to a tune,
and your thighs are a ruin, you want too much,
let's say you came back some time too soon.

For the pronunciation, my Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English gives
• "cuff" with a "u" like the "o" in "mother"
• "cough" with an "ou" like the "o" in "bother" as British English, and like the "oa" in "board" as American English.

The (second) meaning of "cuff" is given as: 2 (US) turned-up fold at the bottom of a leg of a pair of trousers (GB = turn-up).

If it is "cuff", the tapping of the foot will set the love (as dust) in a kind of bouncing movement whose significance "I can't reveal to the Ears of Youth", but which the adults might possibly understand.

If it were "cough", I'd have a few questions:
• How would this old man manage to cough up dry powder instead of slime? Must be pretty painful, too.
• How would he manage to keep the "tapping his foot" in tune with the rhythm, in spite of this pain and in spite of his coughing contractions?
• Which would be the connection between these strange things and the lady who is "playing far too rough" and whose "thighs are a ruin"?

But I have no idea as to
TomBohan wrote: How and when did the powerful and lovely line from Master Song "Your love is some dust in an old man's cuff" get perverted to "Your love is some dust in an old man's cough"?
I've seen that before, and I simply suppose that such misquotes happen.
Unfortunately.
Because "get perverted" is a perfectly adequate name for it.
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TomBohan
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby TomBohan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:56 am

In listening to the first recording of Master Song (1967 Songs of Leonard Cohen) over the past 50 years, most recently yesterday, I have heard "cuff." In terms of printed lyrics Selected Poems 1957-1968, published in 1968 and Stranger Music -- Selections, published 25 years later, both with Leonard's direct participation, set the word as "cuff." I think that these books can be taken as scripture on this matter, in contrast for example to anything said by Sony or Columbia.

In the novel Justine by Lawrence Durrell, set in Alexandria, and published in the late 1950s, there is a scene one could described presenting dust in an old man's shoe as another taps his foot to a tune. The old man is an old Jewish furrier who is dying in a hospital bed, visited by the young protagonist who have become the lover of the dying man's kept woman. The old man's name is Cohen.

Further to this, Lawrence Durrell met and fell in love with Eve Cohen in Alexandria in the 1940s, an lived with her for 12 years or more. Some say she was the muse that gave him Justine and hence the rest of the Alexandria Quartet. From the time I first heard Master Song, in March 1968, it was tangled in my mind with Justine and dying erst-while master named Cohen. So to learn that "cuff" had drifted to "cough" in some quarters is quite disturbing to me.
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vlcoats
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby vlcoats » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:01 am

It is totally cuff! Jeeze!
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LisaLCFan
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:00 pm

Misquotes are a fact of literary life, they've always existed, they always will exist, and the internet just makes it worse, because such errors proliferate in cyberspace. Those who care should always try to seek out the original source, rather than relying on second-hand (or third-hand, etc.) sources.

I've never actually seen (nor heard) this "cough" error, but you do realise (I hope) that by writing this post, you've drawn attention to it, somebody will see what you (and the rest of us) have written, and they will wrongly remember the word "cough" from this discussion (many people have terrible reading comprehension skills and/or bad memories), and thus, your efforts to eradicate the error may actually result in its continued proliferation simply by shining a light on it.

Have a nice day!
TomBohan
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby TomBohan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:41 pm

I think/hope that my post may lead to a reduction rather than an extension of the cough error, if for no other reason than it turns out already to be exceedingly common. (Google "My love is some dust in an old man's cough" to see.) I presume that those alerted to it hereby may take measures.
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Jean Fournell
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby Jean Fournell » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:56 pm

Wow!

Last time I searched the web for this "cough" was maybe a year ago, when I had found it in a newly published book on Leonard Cohen's lyrics. Since then it seems to have spread considerably.

I think it was a good idea indeed to bring the matter into the open!
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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Hartmut
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby Hartmut » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:28 am

Jean Fournell wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:56 pm
Last time I searched the web for this "cough" was maybe a year ago, when I had found it in a newly published book on Leonard Cohen's lyrics. Since then it seems to have spread considerably.
Yes. Goggle has 252 hits for the "cuff" line - and 1040 hits for the "cough" version. Strange!
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Diane
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Re: "Cuff" becomes "Cough" Arghh.

Postby Diane » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:20 pm

A while ago someone pointed out to me a possible reference for the line "your love is some dust in an old man's cuff": Little Gidding, the last of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/history/win ... dding.html

Part II begins,

Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.

Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.

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