“A poet, a novelist, a one-time monk, a veteran clothes horse and a multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen certainly plays a bow multi-strung.”

Opening line of Leonard Cohen live in London: our highlights [Review of June 21, 2016 concert at London 02 Arena] by Joe Daniels. GQ: 25 June 2013. Update: No longer online; copy accessible at LeonardCohenForum. Note: Originally posted June 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Half-Sister Of Mercy, Leonard Cohen, & DrHGuy


Introduction: This post is part of The 2009 Beacon Theatre Show Detour in the saga of How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen.


On The Sidewalk In Front Of The Beacon Theatre Before The Leonard Cohen Concert, I met …

among others waiting for the theater doors to open on that cold February night,

  • A thirty-something entrepreneur so intent on seeing Leonard Cohen perform that he had flown from South Africa to New York that afternoon with the return flight scheduled to depart only hours after the end of the show
  • A mother and daughter, both of whom eagerly confessed to harboring lurid aspirations vis-a-vis Mr. Cohen
  • A native New Yorker who asked me if Leonard Cohen was indeed performing at the Beacon that night and, following my confirmation of the announcement on the marquee, promptly engaged a scalper in an animated and easily overheard conversation which concluded less than a minute later with her purchase of a balcony ticket for several hundred dollars over the original price
  • The Girl With The Leonard Cohen Tattoo

and, as the perceptive reader might deduce from  the title of this post, I met The Half-Sister Of Mercy (HSOM).

An Aside On Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters Of Mercy”

Leonard Cohen has told the back story of his song, “Sisters Of Mercy” man times1 This rendition is an excerpt from a December 4, 1974 interview quoted at Diamonds In The Lines: Leonard Cohen In His Own Live Words:

… like a lot of my material it’s [the song, “Sisters of Mercy” is] just completely documentary. It doesn’t concern high metaphysical questions but an accurate reportage as authentic and precise as I can make it, a description of exactly what happened on the interior landscape. And I was in Edmonton during a tour by myself of Canada, I guess this was around 67. I was walking along one of the main streets of Edmonton, it was bitter cold ; and I knew no-one and I passed these two girls on a doorway. They invited me to stand in the doorway with them. Of course I did. And some time later, we found ourselves in my little Hotel room in Edmonton and the three of us were gonna go to sleep together. Of course I had all kinds of erotic fantasies of what the evening might bring. … And we went to bed together and I think we all jammed into this one small couch in this little Hotel and it became clear that it wasn’t the purpose of the evening at all. And at one point, in the night, I found myself unable to sleep, I got up, and by the moonlight – It was very very bright, the moon was being reflected off the snow, and my windows were very bright – I wrote that poem by the ice-reflected moonlight while these women were sleeping and it was one of the few songs that I ever wrote from top to bottom without a line of revision . The words flowed and the melody flowed and by the time they woke up the next morning, it was dawn. I had this completed song to sing to them.

To those readers who know me and are now beginning to panic, be assured that, mercifully, in the story of the HSOM and me, I do not write nor do I sing a song.

DrHGuy Gets Lucky

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  1. Sisters Of Mercy Lyrics

    Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
    They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
    And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.
    Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been traveling so long.

    Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
    It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
    Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned:
    When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.

    Well they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
    They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
    If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
    they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

    When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
    Don’t turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
    And you won’t make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
    We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
    We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right
    . []

“Could you imagine such greatness of soul in the temple of hockey in Montreal before … Leonard Cohen won the hearts of 12,562 spectators?” Review of 2012 Montreal Show

1454968999_1fc3a014f4_b[Google English Translation] From Leonard Cohen en spectacle à Montréal : de la grande classe by Jean-François Cyr, a review of the Nov 28, 2012 Leonard Cohen Montreal Concert (Le Huffington Post Québec: Nov 29, 2012)

Credit Due Department: Photo by Eric Bégin Note: Originally posted November 30, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Leonard Cohen can command more attention by simply removing his fedora than most performers earn in an entire evening”

Leonard Cohen (Nov 16 at the Saddledome): Granted, there was no critical consensus about the old master’s return to Calgary. But for many – including yours truly – this was a highlight of the year, a mesmerizing celebration of song performed with grace, polish and gratitude. At 78, Cohen can command more attention by simply removing his fedora than most performers earn in an entire evening. But his powerful stage presence aside, it was the songs, the voice and the confidence that made this special, achieving a level of intimacy that I’ve never seen before at the Saddledomequotedown2

From Calgary Concerts to remember (and to forget) in 2012 – Leonard Cohen by Eric Volmers. Calgary Herald: Dec 24, 2012. Note: Originally posted December 26, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric