Leonard Cohen On “Insight Into The Sexual Politics Of The Time” In Death Of A Ladies’ Man Lyrics

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I think this [‘The last time that I saw him he was trying hard to get / A woman’s education but he’s not a woman yet’] was quite an insight into the sexual politics of the time, where we started to hear about or see a kind of feminised man. Or a man who could appreciate the woman’s position or could affirm the feminine aspects of his own nature. But despite being filled with good intentions, I am not one who believes in any kind of movement. Maybe it’s just my nasty, cantankerous, argumentative nature, but there is something about these ‘self-improvement’ rackets that turn me off. Like a concept of the ‘feminised’ man – because it suggested that we are going to transcend the dualistic and conflicting nature of life…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

“I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how to bend my knee” Leonard Cohen

wingLyrics to an early version of Anthem sung by Leonard Cohen in Exceptional Video: Portrait Of Leonard Cohen – 1992 Interview On Songwriting

Credit Due Department: Thanks to J.J. Harchaoui, who noted that the line correctly reads “I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how to bend my knee” rather than “I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how” as initially posted.

Leonard Cohen on the significance of “The Guests”

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Its sensibility is sponsored by the poems of Rumi and Attar, who are Persian poets of the 12th and 13th centuries. I guess it’s a religious song, just about our strangerhood on the Earth and how it’s resolved. ‘One by one, the guests arrive/Guests are coming through/The openhearted many/The brokenhearted few.’ [The guests ask] ‘Where is God? Where is truth? Where is life?’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone: 30 November 2016) Note:  The entire article – an excellent read – is available at the link.

“The landmarks are down and the lights have gone out and you’re holding on to your orange crate in the torrent and somebody goes by holding on to his broken flag staff. What is the appropriate behavior in this circumstance?” Leonard Cohen

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Screenshot from video of Barbara Gowdy-Leonard Cohen interview

So would you say as much as you can that you are what you write? That you stand by your songs?

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I would stand by them [my songs]. But I’ve been presenting this rap for a long time, which is a catastrophe has taken place, there’s no point in waiting for it, and somehow in the interior plane or the interior landscape a catastrophe has taken place, there is a flood going on… It’s been going on a a long time–I don’t know when the wave broke the wall. But I do believe we are in this torrent, that the landmarks are down and the lights have gone out and you’re holding on to your orange crate in the torrent and somebody goes by holding on to his broken flag staff. What is the appropriate behavior in this circumstance? Is it to declare yourself a conservative or a liberal or for abortion or against abortion? Those kinds of descriptions seem to be totally irrelevant to the situation. I prefer my descriptions of myself as they have developed over the years in my songs and books. I think that those descriptions are much more appropriate and, yes, I would stand by them.
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Leonard Cohen

 

From TV Interview by Barbara Gowdy. Broadcast Nov 19, 1992 on TVOntario and published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, edited by Leanna Crouch (1994).

Leonard Cohen’s Lines From 1985 “Diamonds In The Mine” Variation Recur In 2016 “Treaty”

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Renik Van den Eynde has discovered that the variation of Diamonds In The Mine Leonard Cohen sang at the Feb 2, 1985 Wiesbaden concert correlates with the first verse of Treaty from the You Want It Darker album.

From Diamonds In The Mine:

I see you changed the water all into wine
That was a pretty trick to do
I sit at your table every night
Baby I just can’t get drunk with you.
And there are no letters in your mailbox
There are no grapes upon the vine

The verse starts at 3:36

From Treaty:

I’ve seen you change the water into wine
I’ve seen you change it back to water too
I sit at your table every night
I try but I just don’t get high with you

Leonard Cohen: “No alibi … You have to stand up and say Hallelujah”

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I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view. I think the other song that is closely related to that is ‘Anthem.’ It’s the notion that there is no perfection–that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Robert Hilburn Interviews Leonard Cohen” by Robert Hilburn (Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1995)

Note: Originally posted November 8, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric