Anjani Outs Leonard Cohen & Herself As “Cleaner Fanatics”

Now, life does not just consist of art. You also have to look after profane things like the household. We [Leonard Cohen & I] are both cleaner fanatics. If everything is not spotless, we can not work. We are so similar that sometimes it is eerie. quotedown2

Anjani Thomas


Anjani’s quote is from Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007 [via Google Translate], an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. The illustrative photo atop post is by Guido Harari (other Guido Harari photos of Leonard Cohen can be found at the Wall Of Sound Gallery site.) The lower photo is by Andrew Stawick. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If… [Leonard Cohen] often failed to live at the center of righteousness, he…maintained a sense of where that center remained, and of how to find it again in prayer and repentance” Christian Raab in Commonweal

The following excerpts are from How the Light Gets In – Leonard Cohen’s Biblical Vision By Christian Raab (Commonweal: April 27, 2017). Photo by Rama. The complete article is available at the link.

In a secular age, artists are often the closest thing we have to prophets. Leil Leibovitz’s A Broken Halleluiah (W. W. Norton) argues that the work of Leonard Cohen is, in fact, best understood and appreciated in the Old Testament prophetic tradition. Leibovitz is not reaching. Cohen was raised in an observant Jewish home and was the grandson on both sides of rabbis of considerable renown. Even if Cohen, like many famous people, often failed to be a paragon of private virtue (his womanizing and drug abuse, especially during his early career, are well established), spiritual concerns nevertheless framed his life and art. The language and imagery of his lyrics came from a biblically formed imagination. His personal faith, as he reaffirmed many times, was in the God of the Torah, and his flashes of prophetic genius were his insights into the application of biblical logic to the contemporary world. If, like many of his peers in rock stardom, he often failed to live at the center of righteousness, he, unlike most of them, maintained a sense of where that center remained, and of how to find it again in prayer and repentance.

While Cohen’s critique of contemporary sexual mores is somewhat self-evident in his lyrics, his esteem for traditional marriage is revealed mostly in his interviews. Although Cohen never married, and never personally achieved more than episodic monogamy, he pointed to marriage as the surest, if one of the most difficult, paths to true freedom, as opposed to the illusory freedom described in “Closing Time.” Cohen had already said in 1974, “I think marrying is for very, very high-minded people…. It is a discipline of extreme severity. To really turn your back on all the other possibilities and all the other experiences of love, of passion, of ecstasy, and to determine to find it within one embrace is a high and righteous notion. Marriage today is the monastery; the monastery today is freedom.” Understanding that in an age of sexual chaos, marriage could provide a route to the peace, self-knowledge, and self-transcendence for which the culture truly longed, Cohen called marriage, in 1988, “the foundation stone of the whole enterprise.” In 1993, while admitting his own failure to attain what he believed in, he reiterated: “Monogamous marriage and commitment, all those ferocious ideas, are the highest expression of a male possibility.”

Recommended Reading: 10 Best Leonard Cohen Lyrics By Lemuria’s Alex Kerns

While the lists of Leonard Cohen songs/lyrics/albums favored by one or another celebrity is typically interesting only in a how about that sort of way, The 10 best Leonard Cohen lyrics by Lemuria’s Alex Kerns by TeamRock (TeamRock: April 26, 2017) is insightful and enlightening. Many of the intriguing choices are atypical for this sort of piece (two come from poems). I’ve excerpted part of the introduction and twp of the 10 best Leonard Cohen lyrics listed as a sampling, but do yourself a favor and read the entire article at The 10 best Leonard Cohen lyrics by Lemuria’s Alex Kerns

Lemuria’s drummer and vocalist Alex Kerns discusses his greatest songwriting inspiration

It’s been 10 years since New York-based indie-punk trio Lemuria wrote their debut album. Entitled Get Better, and written in the wake of vocalist, drummer and songwriter Alex Kerns losing his father, the album was a powerful exploration of grief and sorrow – the essence of which borrowed from the blueprint laid out by Leonard Cohen, and his songs of love, loss and humanity… To mark the album’s 10th year, Kerns pays tribute to his chief inspiration, Leonard Cohen, and remembers the impact he had on his own songwriting.

‘I will not be held like a drunkard under the cold tap of facts’

“I’m cheating here, this is actually pulled from one of his poems titled What I’m Doing Here. It reminds me of those instances when you realise the truth at the 11th hour. When you’re blinded by the sparkle of a sharp sword you no longer have control of. A reminder to proceed with caution, especially when your guard has been retired.”

“I have to deal with envy when you choose the precious few, who’ve left their pride on the other side of coming back to you”

“Cohen isn’t afraid to sing about the feelings a lot of us are ashamed to admit. When read without the musical accompaniment and his emotive voice, the words on paper can be selfish and mean. Placed into context [the track Coming Back To You], they’re incandescent with humanity.”

Credit Due Department: Photo of Lemuria by Evan Kolosna – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia Commons

Anjani Thomas Talks About Leonard Cohen Cooking For Her

Does Leonard cook for you?

He made me breakfast every morning until he tried to bring me this funny green protein drink, which he drinks. Now he only makes me the eggs in the morning. I like that very much about him.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts: The October 30, 1988 Wiltern Theatre Show

The 1988 Wiltern Theatre Cohen Concert Program

And, no, the image atop this post is not the program for the Cohen concert at the Budapest Wiltern or the Paris Wiltern or the Munich Wiltern or …

It’s the program for the Cohen concert at the Los Angeles Wiltern Theatre – which, in 1988, was located in the USA.

We know this is the program for the 1988 Wiltern show because Valerie Shertzman, who contributed the program, was there on October 30, 1988. In addition to the program, Valerie, who was attending her first Leonard Cohen concert, offers these memories:

The main thing I remember was John Bilezikjian playing the oud with a feather, I had never seen anything like it, and that drew my attention every time it was played. Julie and Perla singing “Who by Fire?” was a show stopper.

I had “Songs” and “Recent Songs” so most of the playlist was new to me, though there was plenty that was familiar to me. I was impressed when he sang “I was born with the gift of a golden voice” dripping with enough irony to let the audience in on the joke. It was greeted with a great deal of laughter. There was some banter with some in the front rows, it was friendly and started by him.

Leonard Cohen – Who By Fire
San Sebastian: 1988

The only other reference to this show I find on the internet (other than a listing of the 1988 Tour venues) are these brief lines from Ali, writing at Blueprint Blue:

… October 30, 1988. My friend and roommate John and I had gone to see one of our idols – Leonard Cohen – perform at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. I still consider it one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

1988 Wiltern Theatre Cohen Concert Poster

While the signage for this concert, shown below, has been previously posted, comparing its block lettered, generic simplicity to the poster for the previous night’s concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco, is instructive.

Poster for Oct 30, 1988 Leonard Cohen Wiltern Concert – Los Angeles

Poster for Oct 29, 1988 Leonard Cohen Fillmore Concert – San Francisco

The Wiltern Theatre

For that matter, the bland poster is also in marked contrast to the brilliantly ornate venue itself.

Caring For & About The Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts: This is the first official entry in the Orphan Cohen Concerts classification. As a Lenny-come-lately who began following Leonard Cohen’s career only a few years before his 2008-2010 World Tour, I’ve been accustomed to the internet-powered flow of information about the Canadian singer-songwriter’s concerts that renders time and geographical barriers irrelevant.

During the recent World Tour, for example, (predecessor to Cohencentric) routinely composed, on a laptop located in Durham, North Carolina, posts about Cohen’s shows concluded only hours earlier in Belfast, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Bucharest, Glace Bay, Auckland, Philadelphia, etc. that featured high quality photos and videos of the performance and first hand reports by concert-goers. In addition, articles about the shows published in foreign newspapers and magazines are available online and can easily, if not always elegantly, be translated by Google and other internet services.

It was, in fact, not uncommon to post information during concerts of special interest, such as the post, Leonard Cohen Tel Aviv Concert In Progress, which published the following immediately after the statement was uttered:

After “Ain’t No Cure” and “Bird On The Wire,” Leonard Cohen addressed the audience in Hebrew, saying, “It is an honor to play here for you here in Israel (…) We are going to give you everything tonight, for peace, for you and us…

Moreover, the immediacy and ease of communication afforded by the internet encourages those attending concerts to upload more videos to YouTube, enter more concert reports in blogs and forums, and post more photos.

Consequently, cognitive dissonance results upon discovering that many Cohen concerts, unless a reporter or critic happened to be in the crowd, escaped notice except by those actually in attendance. Heck, we are still discovering concerts given by Leonard Cohen that have not been accurately memorialized as even a line on a list.

Cohencentric has already published descriptions of little remembered Cohen Concerts. Many of the posts, for example, focus on concerts about which only scattered bits of information were available. Researching those shows, in fact, turned up at least two previously unlisted concerts.

The Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts is now an official Cohencentric project. We’re going to show a little love for these stealth performances, posting whatever can be found about the otherwise forgotten concerts – even if that’s no more than a single memory lovingly preserved in the mind of an audience member.

Note: Originally posted Apr 15, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric