Listen To Complete Jan 2012 Jarvis Cocker – Leonard Cohen Interview

Cocker-Cohen Conversation Now Online

The enlightening and entertaining January 18, 2012 interview of Leonard Cohen by Jarvis Cocker was a highlight of the coming-out publicity party for the Old Ideas album. Unfortunately, only isolated clips from that session have remained available online.  Now, however, reader Jo Meul has spotted a Soundcloud recording of the January 29, 2012 edition of Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service, “Sincerely, L. Cohen,” which features Cocker’s January 18, 2012 interview of Cohen, selected Cohen songs, and commentary.

Anyone with an interest in Leonard Cohen who missed this when it was broadcast should take advantage of this second chance to be delighted. Those who have heard the interview before will find it as fascinating – and fun – now as it was then.

Preview: During the interview, Leonard Cohen calculates that the ideas in Old Ideas are 614 years old – except those which are older, advances his claim that giving up smoking has lowered his voice, explains his feeling that he has been “scraping the bottom of the barrel just trying to get the song together,” laments the loss of many of his notebooks and the masterpieces they contained,  and looks forward to meeting Chuck Berry, with whom he shared the PEN New England’s prize for Lyrics Of Literary Excellence.

Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service
Jan 29, 2012

Credit Due Department: Photo by Mariel Argüello –, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Note: Originally posted Jun 23, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Punchline Video: “I’ve got a to-do list that’s longer than a fucking Leonard Cohen song.”

The second offering of figurative speech employing Leonard Cohen (the first was Leonard Cohen Punchline Video: “No one ever listens to me anyway. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.”) is the line snarled by Malcolm Tucker, the lethally aggressive Policy Coordinator (i.e., enforcer of Number 10’s  party  line) on The Thick of It, a dark political comedy about the inner workings of  the Labour government on BBC 2.

Come on people, let’s get going here! I’ve got a to-do list that’s longer than a fucking Leonard Cohen song.1

It turns out the Cohen metaphor is relatively mild stuff for Malcolm.  Compare it with these epithets launched by that character from a list of Our Ten Favourite Malcolm Tucker Quotes issued by The Guardian in anticipation of the third season of The Thick Of It:

• Responding to knock at his door: “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off.”

• Tucker’s Law (out-take from the Spinners & Losers special): “If some cunt can fuck something up, that cunt will pick the worst possible time to fucking fuck it up cause that cunt’s a cunt.”

• Moaning about minister on the phone: “He’s about as much use as a marzipan dildo.”

• To a pair of rival advisors: “Laurel and fucking Hardy! Glad you could join us. Did you manage to get that piano up the stairs OK?”

• Dressing down MP, Geoff Holhurst: “You’re so back-bench, you’ve actually fucking fallen off. You’re out by the fucking bins where I put you.”

• Commenting on Ben Swain’s disastrous Newsnight appearance: “All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra.”

• Bollocking a communications department employee: “How much fucking shit is there on the menu and what fucking flavour is it?”

• Advising minister Hugh Abbot to keep up with the zeitgeist: “You’ve got 24 hours to sort out your policy on EastEnders, right? Or you’re for the halal butchers.”

• Note passed to assistant Jamie during meeting with blue-sky thinker Julius Nicholson: “Please could you take this note, ram it up his hairy inbox and pin it to his fucking prostate.”

• Admonishing junior adviser Ollie Reeder to respect government property: “Feet off the furniture you Oxbridge twat, you’re not on a punt now.”

Note: Originally posted Jun 18, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Thick Of It. Series 3, Episode 1: Broadcast Oct 24, 2009 []

“[Janis Joplin] stood for something beautiful & nervous & high … and yet she couldn’t have those things, she couldn’t manifest simple beautiful things in her own life” Leonard Cohen

I think there are people that make their work beautiful in a way that they can never make their lives or their bodies beautiful. I mean I know Janis Joplin, you know, she was that classic pop star, as embodied by the rose in that movie, she really would sing to 20 or 30 thousand people who were drooling at her feet and you know, I’d see her wandering around the Chelsea Hotel at 3 in the morning trying to find you know somebody to have a cup of coffee with. So how do you reconcile those things? I don’t know. She stood for something beautiful and nervous and high, and surrendered completely, and yet she couldn’t have those things, she couldn’t manifest simple things, simple beautiful things in her own life, that’s really what I mean.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Also see

From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen Presented By John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988.  Photo of Janis Joplin by Columbia Records (Billboard page 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174, Originally posted Dec 3, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric