Directions To Leonard Cohen’s Home: …Turn right & drive until you see a house with the Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n’ Roll waiting for you in the front yard

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Introduction: The Journey Vs Destination Thing

Today’s post goes back in time to an era when Leonard Cohen was a whippersnapper of 79 and the term “Popular Problems” meant nothing to a Cohen fan other than a list of issues such as committing to a single tune as THE best Leonard Cohen song and maintaining a respectful attitude when explaining to a Dylanologist precisely why Leonard Cohen is superior in every aspect to Bob Dylan. Yes, gentle reader, we are setting the Wayback Machine to August 6, 2014.

On that date, as ongoing readers may recall, the Duchess and I spent a sunny afternoon with Leonard Cohen and his personal assistant, Kezban Özcan, at his home in Los Angeles.

It will surprise no one familiar with Leonard Cohen’s style to learn that visiting the Canadian singer-songwriter was a treat, that food and drink were involved, and that there was conversation and music, but all that’s for other posts. Today’s entry focuses not on the communion but the  pilgrimage – and a small act of graciousness.

See You Down The Road – Trailblazing From Mount Baldy To Mid-town Los Angeles

Upon arriving on the left coast from Durham, our first stop was the home of the Duchess’ family, serendipitously located at the base of Mt Baldy,1 which is itself the site of the Zen monastery where Leonard Cohen was a monk in residence for several years.

Consequently, our drive from there to Leonard Cohen’s home was one the Rock Yoda2 has himself made many times. One suspects, however, that his trips have lacked the drama of our initial amble down that particular yellow brick road.

Our journey, you see, was marked by a certain angst laced with fear and trepidation – a reasonable enough response to the realization that our marriage had united in wedded bliss the two worst navigators in the Western Hemisphere. The first time we met, I arrived two hours late, having begun the twenty minute trip by driving in a direction precisely 180 degrees off course. Neither of us was surprised. We are likely the only couple of any sexual orientation who considers a GPS the quintessential marital aid.

Since we have, on many occasions, overcome the challenge of clear and thorough directions to become hopelessly lost, our anxiety was only modestly attenuated  by the turn by turn route, including a description of his car that would be parked in the driveway, Leonard had provided to his address.

And thus it came to pass that we made the final turn and were proceeding down the proper street at a safe and sane six mph, simultaneously monitoring street numbers, written directions, cars parked in driveways, maps, and the electronic guide on our dashboard when – and words cannot adequately delineate  the vastness of our relief  occasioned  by this event – we caught sight not of Mr Cohen’s vehicle but of the singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-icon himself seated in his front yard, arranged in a tableau reminiscent of the Old Ideas cover.3

OldIdeas

Now, it is possible Leonard Cohen just felt like sitting in his front yard in his suit and tie on a hot August afternoon, but one wonders if he, perhaps aware that the Duchess & DrHGuy are the sort of folks who could be a tad apprehensive about locating  his digs, positioned himself as an unmistakable signal that the weary travelers had, indeed, reached their destination.

Or maybe he just wanted to be on hand to greet his visitors when they arrived.

Regardless, I offer this as one more example of the Leonard Cohen graciousness about which one hears so many good things.4

Note: Originally posted Oct 2, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Updates:

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post taken by The Duchess aka Penny Showalter
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  1. Before she ascended to Duchessness, Mrs DrHGuy grew up a Valley Girl []
  2. OK, this is an anachronism; Rock Yoda, the most recent entry, #270, to the Leonard Cohen Nicknames List, was not added until Sept 15, 2014. Still, it seems the right fit. []
  3. Note to those whom we may visit in the future, this sort of landmark is the kind of guidance system we need. []
  4. My working definition of  a “gracious host” is one who takes an active role to preclude a guest committing an embarrassing error or feeling uncomfortable. In my experience, a gracious host is an infrequent discovery. From my reading and the experiences of a few friends, I have reason to believe that such entities are even rarer among entertainment superstars. []

10 Replies to “Directions To Leonard Cohen’s Home: …Turn right & drive until you see a house with the Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n’ Roll waiting for you in the front yard”

  1. Caroline Bobby

    That is a wonderful, wonderful and hilarious story, thank you… and this is just pure nosy, but is there any rhyme or reason to why you post sometimes on this site, but mostly on the wordpress one? It seems to me, in my most unscientific kind of noticing, that when you are semi-closed, you sometimes post an absolute gem, on this one? Clearly, I need to get more of a life!!

    1. DrHGuy Post author

      There is no rule; just tendencies and whim. I tend to use 1HeckOfAGuy.com (both sites are WordPress-powered) for official announcements (eg,new tours and albums), non-LC, non-music topics (eg, Julie, Allan Truax, broomcorn), and my more prolix and ponderous pontifications. DrHGuy.com tends toward more graphics/less text.

      When I’m taking time off, I typically post something only if it’s especially important (the announcement of the Unpopular Solutions album), especially timely (LC performing at a bar mitzvah today), or otherwise newsworthy (the revelation that LC was married to Lady Gaga in a secret ceremony this past weekend). Consequently, these vacation posts may give off a certain gem-like glimmer.

  2. Ali Andreae Wagemaker

    tja het is een bijzonder leuk verhaal, vooral grappig dat jullie beiden geen kaartlezers zijn. Niet veel mannen geven dit eerlijk toe, meestal spreekt mijn badinerend als men het over vrouwen en de weg vinden. Ik wordt er niet meer aangebrand door, maar weet zelf dat vrouwen het wel kunnen…

    1. DrHGuy Post author

      Well, if I’m navigating, the answer to that query is almost always, “Not yet”

  3. Mary Bassi

    Dr Heck, you are absolutely the best storyteller !
    Are you totally serious in that Leonard was sitting in his front lawn upon your arrival ?

    1. DrHGuy Post author

      Both our lack of navigational skills and Leonard Cohen awaiting us in the front yard are indeed facts.

  4. Alex

    What a wonderful read……aside from the touch of envy, for which I forgive myself……hey, I can get a bit of vicarious wotsit through you and the Duchess….

    Just gorgeous. Makes me smile. Makes me happy. Makes me *feel* happy. And those are All Good Things.

    Thank you, and Penny, and Leonard
    Monday morning Scottish sunshine
    Alexxxxxxxxxxxxxx(extra xxxxxxx to waft in Leonard’s direction….hey, I can dream…..)