Autograph Three Years In The Making
Just over a year ago [at time of original posting], 1HeckOfAGuy/Cohencentric published Unusual Surfaces Autographed By Leonard Cohen, an annotated list of atypical items Leonard Cohen has signed on the owner’s request: a license tag, a pink iPhone case, the inside of a fedora, seafood, a t-shirt concurrently worn by a young woman … While I only recently discovered today’s addition to this list, a sweater belonging to Denise Knowles, Leonard scribbled his name on that garment over twenty years ago – and the initiating event that led to the Leonard Cohen monicker being thus affixed took place three years before that.
Oh, and that sweater signature came with a marriage proposal uttered with witnesses present by the Poet Laureate Of Commitophobes.1
Denise Knowles explains:
The story actually begins in 1970, when an old boyfriend played an LP of Songs of Leonard Cohen. I just fell for Leonard’s voice, and the rest is history.
In 1990, I paid a visit to a very good friend of mine. It turned out that her fiancé’s sister, who was there when I visited, worked in promotions at SONY. After I brought up that CBS-SONY was Leonard Cohen’s record label, she told me that if Cohen toured again … she would get me tickets.
I knew better than to count on a promise made three years earlier by the sister of a fiancé of a friend, so when I discovered Leonard Cohen would be playing at Royal Albert Hall on the 10th May 1993, I purchased my own ticket for the show.
Then, lo and behold, three days before the show, the Gold Ticket arrived.
My friend Janet [on left in photo atop this post] and I watched the concert from Box 025 with food and drink served throughout the performance. (If I had used the ticket I bought myself I would have been in seat 127 row Z1.)
At the start of the encore, the woman who had arranged the box tickets told me I would also be going to the Elgar Room for after-concert drinks.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
But it got even better.
Leonard Cohen Signs On ________
Leonard Cohen has been a gracious signer of autographs, even in cases in which it was readily apparent his signature was requested in order to create a marketable commodity to retail on eBay.
For the most part, those soliciting his autograph have asked that he sign a Leonard Cohen concert program or ticket, one of the novels or poetry books he has written, CDs, DVDs, or vinyl records of his music, posters featuring him, his drawings, the occasional wall (see image beow), random scraps of paper, and other predictable surfaces.1
A subcategory of professional autograph solicitors-sellers focus on obtaining and putting up for sale Cohen’s signature on various guitars, pickguards, and microphones. I have been told that several autograph seekers have asked the Canadian singer-songwriter to sign various denominations of currency (the American $20 bill seems to be featured in the majority of these anecdotes).2
Mel’s New York License Tag, Judy’s Pink iPhone Case, Roscoe’s Hat, & The Montreal Mollusk
Triggering the quest for atypical objects signed by Leonard Cohen was the confluence of Melanie Joss’s requited request for Leonard Cohen to autograph her license plate (pictured atop this post), as reported in Leonard Cohen, Mel, Tom, LNRDCOHN, & The Bolo Tie Slide, and my spontaneous discovery of Judy Green’s iPhone case (pictured below) bearing Leonard Cohen’s signature.
Then, I recalled that Roscoe Beck had a fedora with Leonard Cohen’s signature on the inside. [Update: Article and photo of that autographed headgear – Playing with Cohen by Brad Buchholz, Austin American-Statesman. March 31, 2009 – no longer online]
A Montreal restaurant displays Leonard’s signature on the half-shell (see Discovery Of Leonard Cohen Oyster Shell Manuscript Triggers Schism Among Cohentologists)
And, Of Course, There Was The Heartfelt Autograph
What Else Has Leonard Cohen Signed?
I dunno. Has Leonard signed, perhaps a toaster, a MacBook Pro, a pillowcase, undergarments, a menu, a photo of Kris Kristofferson, a hockey stick, a group shot of his lookalikes (e.g., Leonard Nimoy, Dustin Hoffman, Neil Diamond, et al) … ?
Readers aware of such oddities are urged to contact DrHGuy with details.
Credit Due Department:
The photo of Melanie Joss’s license tag is contributed by Melanie and Tom Joss. The shot of Judy Green’s iPhone case was taken and offered by Judy Green.
Note: Originally posted Jan 22, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
- By the way, is there a name for the object on which an autograph is written? Doesn’t it seem as though there should be a word for this? [↩]
- These individuals were, no doubt, among those slackers who never heeded their fourth grade teacher’s repeated admonitions to always have paper and a pen or pencil on hand. [↩]
Damian Ainscough offers the inscription and autograph he obtained from Leonard Cohen at the December 13, 1979 Preston show, The words Leonard wrote on Damian’s copy of Death of a Lady’s Man follow:
I must be doing something really stupid, I said to myself, to make another man so happy.
“I must be doing something really stupid, I said to myself, to make another man so happy” is the final line of An Unclean Start, published in Death of a Lady’s Man. (I am especially taken with Leonard’s notation of the poem’s page number; of course, I have a predilection for parentheticals – like this one.)
Mandy MacLeod writes:
I had a real tussle to get this book. The Ebay seller in the US would not sell to buyers outside US. GGrrr!
Fortunately I have a baby brother who lives in California – yay!
Unfortunately he doesn’t have a computer. He only gets access at work or library, and is never in and doesn’t answer the phone. GGrrr!
Cut a long story short. Baby brother got the book for me – it arrived the day before I left for Belgium. I met Mr.Cohen in Ghent – I got a kiss and hug and he graciously signed my book.
Doncha just love it?
Well, as a matter of fact, Mandy, we do love it.
Note: Originally posted October 17, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric