“As Roshi says, you can’t live in paradise – no restaurants or toilets.” Leonard Cohen On Boogie Street

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There are moments – I suppose when you embrace your children, or kiss your beloved, or plunge into a pool of cold water – when you forget who you are, when you forget yourself, and that’s a very refreshing occasion, and it’s paradise – there’s no you. But you resurrect immediately into Boogie Street. If you’re lucky, you resurrect with the residue of the experience of paradise. But, as Roshi says, you can’t live in paradise – no restaurants or toilets.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs. Originally posted June 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on Boogie Street as “ordinary human struggle and life”

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Bugis Street, Singapore, referenced in Boogie Street by Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson

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[Boogie Street is] ordinary human struggle and life, the place of work and desire. It’s where we’re meant to be, it’s what we’re born into. There are moments when the burden of the self is lifted, but those are only temporary situations. As I say in the song, ‘You kiss my lips and then it’s done/I’m back on Boogie Street.’ Whatever the experience is — the god, the woman, the insight, the epiphany, the penetration — those are temporary events. Or as my old teacher says, ‘You can’t live in Paradise — no toilets or restaurants.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001. Photo atop post by Jfkjaya. – Own work., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons

Leonard Cohen: What It Means To Be “Back On Boogie Street”

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I think it just means acceptance of the normal rules of a person’s life in which there is desire, work, mistakes … blessings.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc” by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001). Note: Originally posted Feb 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Babylon And Boogie Street

Leonard Cohen (quoting from the lyrics of By the Rivers Dark): Be the truth unsaid and the blessings gone, if I forget my Babylon

Interviewer: Can you be a good Jew and love Babylon?

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Well, you know, the Talmud was written in Babylon. A lot of good Jews lived and wrote and thought and prayed there. And that’s where we are – we’re on Boogie Street. We’re in Babylon. I think it’s appropriate to live completely where you are and not reserve some mythical or spiritual refuge as an alternative. That can produce a kind of dangerous spiritual schizophrenia. We have to make it here; we have to make Jerusalem in Babylon.

Something like that. I say it better in the song: ‘Kiss my lips and then it’s done, I’m back on Boogie Street.’ As Roshi says, you can’t live in paradise. No restaurants or toilets.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Exile on Main Street by Brett Grainger (Elm Street: Nov 2001)

“[Boogie Street is] a street of working and sex and of all the deceptions these activities can bring” Leonard Cohen

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It’s an image to evoke the deception, the ‘lost illusions boulevard,’ an image of the everyday life, with its tentations, its disillusions. In fact there is actually a ‘Boogie Street’ in Singapore.1 A very attractive street, where you can find illegal records. I remember having been there after a tour in Australia. I was almost offended not to find my records. I asked the seller and he came back with a box containing the entire collection of my records – what you could never find anywhere else – furthermore at one dollar each. By night, this same street becomes the hottest one of the area. It’s a street of working and sex, and of all the deceptions these activities can bring, deceptions more cruel as you get older, as I am.
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Leonard Cohen

Found at Diamonds In The Lines, which references an interview in Chorus: 2002

Also see Leonard Cohen On The Origin & Meaning Of “Boogie Street”

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  1. Bugis Street, Singapore []

Leonard Cohen On The Origin & Meaning Of “Boogie Street”

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There is an actual Boogie Street in the world. It’s in Singapore.1 I don’t know if it’s still there. I was coming home from a tour of Australia many years ago and during the day Boogie Street is a scene of intense commercial activity. In fact, there’s a lot of little stalls where bootleg records are sold. This was at a time when it was hard to find my records in the Western world. And they weren’t displayed. But I asked the man if they had any Leonard Cohen, and he went into the tent where he kept his inventory, and he brought an entire box of all my cassettes for a dollar apiece. There was that kind of bazaar feeling. And at night, it was a scene of intense and alarming sexual exchange. Prostitution, and . . . everything seemed to be available. I don’t even know if it was prostitution. It just seemed to be mutual availability. Boogie Street to me was that street of work and desire, the ordinary life and also the place we live in most of the time that is relieved by the embrace of your children, or the kiss of your beloved, or the peak experience in which you yourself are dissolved, and there is no one to experience it so you feel the refreshment when you come back from those moments. As my old teacher said: “Paradise is a good place to visit, but you can’t live there because there are no toilets or restaurants.” So we all hope for those heavenly moments, which we get in those embraces and those sudden perceptions of beauty and sensations of pleasure, but we’re immediately returned to Boogie Streetquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Our Poet of the Apocalypse: In the wake of September 11, Leonard Cohen reflects on love and death — and the war on America by Brian D. Johnson. Maclean’s: Oct 15, 2001

Also see “[Boogie Street is] a street of working and sex and of all the deceptions these activities can bring” Leonard Cohen

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  1. Bugis Street, Singapore []