A Valentine’s Day Gift: Leonard Cohen & Anjani Perform Never Got To Love You & Whither Thou Goest – 2007

For as in that story long ago,
The same sweet love story now is so.
Thy people shall be my people, my love.
Whither thou goest I will go.

Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas Perform Never Got to Love You and Whither Thou Goest at Joe’s Pub in New York – 2007

Note: Originally posted Feb 8, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

3 Photos Of Leonard Cohen & Anjani On Pico Blvd L.A. 2007

leonard_cohen_on_pico_boulevard-scaled1000Paul Zollo captured these images of Leonard Cohen and Anjani at a cafe on Pico Boulevard on February 26, 2007 and graciously agreed to the shots being reposted here.

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Paul Zollo also wrote From Songwriters On Songwriting, an insightful book which includes a section on Leonard Cohen (available at Leonard Cohen Los Angeles 1992). Over the years, I’ve posted several Leonard Cohen quotes from this piece. One of my favorites follows:

… After a while, if you stick with a song long enough it will yield. But long enough is way beyond any reasonable estimation of what you think long enough may be. In fact, long enough is way beyond. It’s abandoning, it’s abandoning that idea of what you think long enough may be.

Because if you think it’s a week, that’s not long enough. If you think it’s a month, it’s not long enough. If you think it’s a year, it’s not long enough. If you think it’s a decade, it’s not long enough.

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Note: Originally posted December 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 4. The Less Dramatic, More Remarkable Aftermath

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Update (2017): Introduction

This is the fourth in a set of entries that I am posting (or reposting) in response to questions about how l first became involved with Leonard Cohen:

 

 

How Did You Get That Leonard Cohen Autograph?

Ongoing readers may recall that within the titular letter referenced in Anjani Writes Dear DrHGuy Letter included this offering:

the poet would like to send you his latest literary offering Book Of Longing, just to show there are no hard feelings over your reckless communiqué.

“The Poet,” it turns out, was Leonard Cohen (lucky guess, eh?).  And, sure enough, a few days later I received a copy of Book Of Longing with the above autographed title page. And, it made for a dandy anecdote:

Five or six years ago, I posted the above image in a LeonardCohenForum thread about Leonard Cohen autographs. I was then asked something along the lines of “How did you get that Leonard Cohen autograph?”1 My account of the process follows:

Ah, it’s the age-old story … Boy (that would be me) finds girl (Anjani) via composing a review of girl’s album (Blue Alert). Boy, coming across a comparison of girl to Holly Cole and Tanita Tikaram, makes the obvious move, interjecting into the review the suggestion for a four-way comprising him and the three female vocalists. Girl leaves a positive comment on the post, thanking boy for the positive review. Boy publishes next post interpreting girl’s comment as an indication that girl is torn between running to him and staying with her boyfriend – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lenny Kravitz, Leonard Bernstein … Lennie somebody, Negotiations ensue re four-way Vs three-way and consequent permutations of participants. Eventually, however, girl sends a Dear John letter (technically, a Dear DrHGuy letter), and it’s splitsville (aka boy loses girl). Boy gets autographed Blue Alert album from girl and autographed poetry volume from boyfriend/poet/singer-songwriter/icon as consolation prize.

Happens every day.

Actually, the inscription on this page is the last time I recall receiving a message from Leonard that used my full name. In person and in his emails, I was most often “Dr Heck” and, less often, “Allan.” (He inevitably and invariably referred to Penny, who became my spouse three years later, as “The Duchess” in keeping with her blogonym.)

Real Life Intervenes

After that mid-August 2007 exchange of messages with Anjani, I heard from her with some frequency.  I also began hearing from Leonard occasionally. A few months later, however, my son was the victim of a car accident and went into coma. I immediately received an endearing, compassionate message from Anjani and Leonard, including Leonard’s recounting of the head trauma incurred by his own son Adam and Adam’s recovery thereafter.

For the next few months, I was focused on my son’s neurological problems and his subsequent treatment.

Then, early in 2008, the woman in my life had a recurrence of breast cancer (the same disease that ended the life of my wife, Julie). Over the next months, she slowly withered and, in June 2008, not long after Leonard Cohen began his 2008 tour in Newfoundland, died. My interest in blogging waned although it didn’t dissolve altogether. I stumbled along with posting about not only Leonard and Anjani but also such matters as my family, county seals, the local weather and wildlife, broomcorn, … (The site was a tad less focused in those days.)

Then came the 2009 Leonard Cohen Beacon Theatre concert.

But that’s for the next post.

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  1. OK, the response was actually, “You really must tell us more about this. And we expect a detailed, witty recollection in your inimitable style,” but “How did you get that Leonard Cohen autograph?” makes for a pithier heading []

How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 3. Anjani Writes Dear DrHGuy Letter

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Update (2017): Introduction

This is the third in a set of 1HeckOfAGuy1 entries that I am reposting in response to questions about how l first became involved with Leonard Cohen

 

 

The content below was originally published Aug 17, 2006.

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Hey, That’s Not A Bad Way To Say Goodbye
Anjani WritesTo DrHGuy

Dearest HGuy,

Being that you’ve already heard my voice AND seen me in my knickers* whereas images of you on your site are curiously (coyly? purposely? blessedly?) absent, I am at a slight disadvantage in imagining your participation in the admittedly remote possibility of a night of wild debauchery with Tina and Tanita.

In any case, although I am unable to return your fervent declarations of adoration, may I take this moment to express my appreciation for your stalwart efforts to mine the innermost chambers of your psyche for the entire world to peruse? Please consider setting these couth illuminations into a book that I feel sure would make for pleasurable bathtime reading.

And now, a word from the poet:
Note from LC: When you next write heckofaguy, please thank him for his strenuous efforts on my behalf.

And if you would offline, care to send me your snail mail address, the poet would like to send you his latest literary offering Book Of Longing, just to show there are no hard feelings over your reckless communiqué.

As Ever,
AT

*I refer to page 4 of the Blue Alert cd booklet.

From DrHGuy To Anjani

Anjanikins,

Well, there is a photo of me located at Walkernastics: DrHGuy’s Walker Dismount Demo, although it doesn’t feature me in your knickers, as intriguing as that thought may be. I fear that visualizing me will not do much in stimulating your orgiastic visions.

And, as it turns out, I’m familiar with page 4 of the Blue Alert booklet, although my viewing has always focused almost exclusively on your implied domestic skills. [Note To Readers: No, I’m not going to scan page 4 into the blog. That kind of thing is a private matter between Anjani and me – and the thousands of folks who own the CD. Buy your own darn copy.]

I’ve been to splitsville2 enough times to recognize a “Dear John/Dearest HGuy” letter, however gently and graciously written,3 when I see one. This is, however, the first such goodbye missive I’ve received that included a consolation prize4 (“Thanks for playing, and you’ll receive the home version of our game.”), which is a classy touch. The gift of The Book Of Longing is much appreciated. I’d reciprocate in kind, but I suppose the collection of erotic limericks I’ve composed while in the throes of dating, Terse Verse: Perverse & Worse, is inappropriate at this point.
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  1. 1HeckOfAGuy.com was a predecessor of Cohencentric []
  2. I had assumed that no one has ever used “splitsville” outside an Archie & Jughead comic book, but Google gets 400,000 hits for the word. Go figure. []
  3. It could be so much worse. There’s a country-western song with the instructive title, “Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth, Because I’m Kissing You Goodbye” []
  4. I don’t think that residual tic over my left eye I’ve had since the ex-barrel racer and I broke up counts as a consolation prize []

How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 2. Anjani Sends DrHGuy Pandoracious Response

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Update (2017): Introduction

This is the second in a set of 1HeckOfAGuy1 entries that I am reposting in response to some newly minted fans asking how l first came to meet Leonard Cohen:

 

 

The content below was originally published Aug 16, 2006.

Anjani Writes Again

Flaunting her perspicacity, a reader, Mrs. Linklater, presciently posed this rhetorical question after perusing my post, Anjani – A Muse Amused?, which was itself written in response to the appearance of a comment by Anjani to a still earlier post I wrote lauding her album, Blue Alert:

Why does this all make me think of Pandora’s Box, as it were?

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I’ll leave it to you, gentle reader, to supply your own rhetorical interpretation of and answer to Mrs. L’s query, but it does appear that the story isn’t over.

DrHGuy Promoted To Rascally Scamp

The latest episode in this mini-series has arrived in the form of this comment from Anjani appended to Anjani: A Muse Amused?

Dear HGuy,

I write regarding a number of points:

1. As a fellow proponent of proper syntax and spelling, kindly correct the typo in that comment from “my” to “me”

2. The Contact and Subscribe tabs at the top of the page don’t lead anywhere but home.

3. You rascally scamp! Never would I consider a fourway with Tina and Joan Jett…however, Tina and Tanita remain an intriguing possibility.

Yours Truly,
AT

Comment by anjani — August 12, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

To Recap: Anjani and DrHGuy

Anjani:
Anjani Thomas is an altogether impressive singer-songwriter, whose album, Blue Alert, has garnered critical acclaim and a growing audience. It has also become my personal soundtrack since I belatedly discovered it three weeks ago. The songs from Blue Alert, suffused with Anjani’s smoky voice, are simultaneously a seduction into and a requiem for love that the singer unflinchingly and, indeed, passionately advocates all the while acknowledging that love is, in the end, not only insufficient to rescue us from the human condition but is also itself a source of pain.

And, it must be said, or, at any rate, I’m certainly going to say it, Anjani is easy on the eyes.

DrHGuy
My primary occupation these days, on the other hand, is dashing off posts on the decantation of ketchup, recipes for chocolate infused vodka, hacks for opening combination locks, the styles of bloggers in Ohio and Australia, the Gay Games Rowing Matches in Crystal Lake, and, on occasion, my admiration for and fantasies about gorgeous women who sing tremendous songs.

And my looks are, if not a burden on the the eyes, an acquired taste.

DrHGuy & Anjani Up In A Tree – OK, Up Two Different Trees

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  1. 1HeckOfAGuy.com was a predecessor of Cohencentric []

How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 1. Anjani – A Muse Amused?

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Update (2017): Introduction

Some newly minted fans have asked how l first came to meet Leonard Cohen. Now, multiple “Leonard & me” narratives have been published recently featuring folks who performed or collaborated with him, those who interviewed or photographed the Canadian singer-songwriter only to subsequently realize they had bonded into intimate associates, others who met him by sheer serendipity, and still others who came into Leonard’s sphere of grace because of family connections, geographical proximity, mutual sexual attraction, overlapping friendships, or shared involvement in music, Judaism, poetry, food, literature, Zen … My story is less intellectually/spiritually profound than, say, accounts of spending hours sipping coffee and smoking exotic tobaccos while debating Kabbalistic archetypes with Leonard, but it does have the merit of being unique.

It begins with my July 25, 2006 1HeckOfAGuy.com1 review of the Leonard Cohen – Anjani Thomas collaboration, Blue Alert. The next step is described in the Aug 8, 2006 followup entry I’ve reposted below:

Anjani Re DrHGuy: Jejune, Yet Not Without A Certain Charm

This Sunday past, the Heck Of A Guy Blog had an unexpected, but unquestionably welcome, visitor, who left, as a calling card, a comment on Music Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me.

Go ahead, check it out at the bottom of that post; I know you’re curious about who it is. I’ll wait here, humming along with the Jeopardy tune that plays while each contestant scrawled his or her “Final Jeopardy” answer, in the form of a question.

Cool comment, eh?

And, take a look this screenshot of the Press page of the Blue Alert web site:

presskiss500OK, before I get the emails and comments informing me that, as that New Yorker cartoon has it, “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” I am all too aware that that the comment could have actually been written by a large, malodorous, unshaven, chain smoking publicist’s assistant of indeterminate gender paid scarcely more than a living wage to reinforce and influence impressionable bloggers who write positive reviews of Anjani’s music. But, you know what? I don’t think Anjani rolls that way.

In any case, I’m certainly choosing to believe otherwise.

In fact, I think if I had handled things differently, …

Where I Might Have Gone Wrong

After re-reading my review of Blue Alert, I recognize that it may have been well put yet off-putting and that, despite my enthusiasm for her music, I might have constructed a more seductive post.

I now realize, for example, that labeling one section, “Lenny & Anji,” could be considered, at least by the more staid sort, as a tad presumptuous – or even flippant. Further, I would admit that comparing my serendipitous discovery of the Blue Alert album to the blind date that led to the catastrophe known as my first marriage was not an altogether ideal association.

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  1. 1HeckOfAGuy.com was a predecessor of Cohencentric []