Animation: Leonard Cohen Thumb Wrestling Tutorial

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Leonard Cohen demonstrates the concept and ritual of thumb wrestling  to Phil Tetrault on a park bench in Montreal. In the dialogue, Cohen also  boasts of besting Pierre Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, in thumb wrestling. For more about Leonard Cohen’s thumb wrestling career, see “Thumb Wrestling” section of The Favourite Games Of Leonard Cohen – Part 2

Animation: Linda Sturgess
Caption: DrHGuy
Source Video: Picnic in the Park.  For more about this documentary, see Phil Tetrault & Leonard Cohen – Friends And Poets, From “This Beggar’s Description”

Note: Originally posted August 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on being asked his “relationship to death” at age 82

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As my friend Irving Layton put it: ‘I am not afraid of death, it’s the preliminaries.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2015) [from interview transcript]

More Information About You Want It Darker

Information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen, including reviews, is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

“Excellence Is The Only Standard …” Leonard Cohen

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I think that excellence is the only standard [for artists]. There’s all kinds of other matters like making a living & freedom from having to satisfy whatever regulations pertain to the artistic circle, which are often very tyrannical. I never felt my work needed any label or refuge.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: Working for the World to Come. The interview (probably from 1982) was published in the book In Their Own Words: Interviews with fourteen Canadian writers, by Bruce Mayer and Brian O’Riordan, 1984. Found at LeonardCohenfiles. Originally posted Dec 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Ron Cornelius Recounts Leonard Cohen’s Special Performance Of “As Time Goes By”

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Ron Cornelius on guitar backing Leonard Cohen

In the process of discussing The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen by Ron Cornelius with the author, I came to realize that Ron is a born raconteur who happens to have been guitarist and musical director for the 1970 and 1972 Leonard Cohen tours. He also happens to venerate Leonard Cohen – but not to the point of passing up a good story. In Ron Cornelius The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen By Ron Cornelius: Review + Unpublished Dublin Candles Story, for example, the story was an account of Leonard’s Dublin hotel room being set afire by candles lit during a pre-concert warmup session. Now, we have another Leonard Cohen tale not included in the book – which is a treat for music fans.

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Leonard Cohen, Ron Cornelius, & As Time Goes By

At some point in 1972, Leonard Cohen confides to his guitarist and musical director, Ron Cornelius, that he has an inclination to perform As Time Goes By,. the classic written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 that achieved fame as part of the soundtrack of the 1941 movie Casablanca.

Consequently, Ron obtains the song’s original sheet music and spends a week or two rewriting it to create something worthy of a Leonard Cohen performance. He plays the guitar accompaniment for Leonard, and Leonard approves, telling Ron to be ready to play it.

And, sure enough, near the end of a show, Leonard signals Ron that he is ready to perform As Time Goes By as an encore. A single spotlight beams on Leonard. Ron moves to the side of the stage where there is enough light to allow him to see his fingerings. The song begins. After a few bars, Ron turns back to watch Leonard.

What he spots first is the microphone, which is laying on the floor. Then he turns his gaze upward to see singer-songwriter-poet-novelist Leonard Cohen singing the elegant As Time Goes By – while doing a headstand.

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Leonard Cohen & As Time Goes By

As Time Goes By was performed by Leonard Cohen at these concerts:

  • Concertgebouw, Amsterdam – April 15, 1972 (last song)
  • Circus Krone, Munich – April 11, 1972 (third from last song)
  • Elizabethan Ballroom, Belle Vue, Manchester – March 20, 1972 (last song)
  • National Stadium, Dublin – March 18, 1972 (last song)

The following  recording of As Time Goes By can be downloaded as part of Another Other Leonard Cohen Album. It is not necessarily the headstand performance.

As Time Goes By – Leonard Cohen 1972

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