Recommended Reading: Notes on the Late Leonard Cohen and Meeting Him in Montreal by Jim Algie

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No singer or songwriter I’ve ever heard has sung with more honesty and wit about his own failings and shortcomings than Leonard Cohen.quotedown2

Jim Algie

Notes on the Late Leonard Cohen and Meeting Him in Montreal by Jim Algie (JimAlgie: July 26, 2017) is an insightful and entertaining personal essay about the significance of Leonard Cohen’s work and philosophy. It includes a brief account of the author’s sole meeting with Leonard, which is heartfelt as well as interesting. I especially like Jim Algie’s parting words to Leonard:

Thanks again for all the great music, books, and solace, that rapturous concert and for putting up with me for an hour. Now I get bragging rights that will certainly impress my band-mates and the cool Goth babes.

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Jim Algie GoodReads Profile:

Jim Algie has been a punk rock musician, journalist, wildlife conservationist and security guard in a lunatic asylum. His journalism has been published The International Herald Tribune, and his short fiction included in anthologies, like the Bram Stoker-winning Extremes 2: Fantasy and Horror from the Ends of the Earth. His non-fiction collection Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic and his short fiction collection, The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand, illuminate the country’s dark and sexy side. In 2017, he published On the Night Joey Ramone Died, part memoir, part punk history and part literature.

“Look, look who is there …” Josiane Calamel Meets Leonard Cohen

“I was so young and already fascinated” Josiane Calamel

By the time Josiane Calamel attended the March 9, 1980 Leonard Cohen concert at the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne (that’s Leonard leaving the venue in the photo above), she was indeed “already fascinated” with the Canadian singer-songwriter.

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Josiane, who had then only recently moved to Australia with her husband and young son from her native France, would also see Leonard perform live in Melbourne in May 1985 and Feb 5, 2009. But it would be 2010, when she and her husband traveled back to France to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, before Josiane would meet Leonard face to face.

Josiane and her husband, who already had tickets for the Sept 19, 2010 Strasbourg concert, were sightseeing a couple of days before the show when they stopped for a drink at Place Kléber (the central square of Strasbourg). Josiane reports what happened next:

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Leonard Cohen Signs Sweater, Proposes Marriage; Denise Knowles Accepts

Original Caption: Leonard, just about to sign my sweater, after he admired it.

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.

Yeah, sure.

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.

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  1. “Poet Laureate Of Commitophobes” is an early listing at Leonard Cohen, AKA … – The Nicknames []

Photos: A Solitary Leonard Cohen Gazes Out To Sea, Then Meets Admirers – Bournemouth 2008

Leonard Cohen Alone With His Thoughts1

The poignancy of these shots of Leonard Cohen alone on the Bournemouth coast on the day after his November 11, 2008 concert there compelled this posting. The shots were submitted by James Worrall, who explains the circumstances and forthrightly indicates who should be credited with the photos in this email:

…  my daughter took them [the photos]. I met him [Leonard Cohen]  in the car park the day after the concert in Bournemouth, he was just heading out for a stroll down to the beach and I had been to get some change for the car park when I bumped into him and he came over to the car to meet my daughter and her boyfriend, who we’re made up. My daughter’s name is Claire Worrall and she’s a bigger fan than me and she said she would be more than happy to take all the credit for those shots.

James, Claire, & Friend Greet Bournemouth Visitor

Note: Originally posted Jun 16, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Yes, I realize there is a certain irony, if not inconsistency, in posting descriptions of these photos of Leonard Cohen that focus on him being “solitary” and “alone” when the photos were made possible only because he met camera-equipped admirers. I’ve come to terms with it. []

Meeting Leonard Cohen, Or As Marc Altheim Puts It “Leonard Cohen & Me – OMG”

marc-altheimMarc Altheim emailed me (and, I suspect, everyone in his address book) about his Leonard Cohen encounter in Amsterdam, where he and his wife traveled to see, among other sights, the Sept 20, 2013  Leonard Cohen concert. Marc’s message also included these tidbits:

  • I was shaking when we first met.
  • He is such a gentleman.
  • Mystic!
  • Surreal.
  • When we took the picture he actually hugged tightly.  He was into it.   We had some brief chit chat.  We spoke of meditating and the synagogue in Amsterdam.  I wished him Happy Sukkah.  When I left he said Z’ gesundt (sic)!

Note: Originally posted Sept 19, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen, Rebecca De Mornay, & Lorraine Sexton In The Streets Of Glenside PA

Lorraine Sexton’s Friend Gets Grief From His Girlfriend, Signs Autographs Nonetheless

Leonard Cohen signed these autographs for Lorraine Sexton on July 15, 1993 while standing in the street in Glenside PA1 before his concert at Keswick Theatre (part of the “Future Tour).  Lorraine reports what took place:

He was with Rebecca De Mornay,2 who was much annoyed that he was spending time with fans. When I asked him to sign his poetry books and Future CD, she said

Leonard doesn’t have time…he hasn’t eaten yet and has to perform in an hour.

He kindly replied that he had time to do this for his ‘”friend” and was amazed I had brought his old poetry books, such as Energy of Slaves. I asked him to pick his favorite and he said he would sign all of them! (see photos above)

I even asked if I could shake his hand…just to touch him.

Lorraine’s And Leonard’s Shared Memory

I told him that the first time I saw him was in early 70’s in Bryn Mawr PA, at Main Point Cafe, a small venue with maybe 100 seats, and he remembered the place. Just him, his guitar, and two backup singers. Heaven.

The Main Point

Lorraine on The Main Point:

Lots of performers got their start there.3  I saw Leonard Cohen there twice or three times. It was small store where you bought fresh baked goods and went through a curtain into big room to sit at old fashioned wooden school desks with the stage was right in front of you. I could have reached out and touched him. He was so humble and kind. I fell in love with him when I saw Songs Of Love And Hate at the store and bought it because of the album cover and notes. That was all it took to get me hooked for life.

For more about the Main Point, see Remembering the Main Point, 1964 – 1981

 Back To Glenside

Rebecca held onto him as if he were gold that night. I knew immediately it was her, knowing he was seeing her. I think she was pissed because the fans – and there really weren’t that many, I was maybe the third or fourth to approach him – didn’t pay any attention to her. This was not too long after she made “The Hand That Rocked The Cradle.” After they continued walking down the street, I met the guy I was going to the concert with. As we walked past a Chinese restaurant…..there was Leonard Cohen and & Rebecca De Mornay having dinner.

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Note: Originally posted Jan 13, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Glenside is a suburb of Philadelphia []
  2. At the time, Leonard Cohenand Rebecca De Mornay were dating.  Cohen, in fact, has reported that this, among all of his relationships, was the one that brought him a closest to taking wedding vows. For more information, see Picture Leonard Cohen With Rebecca De Mornay []
  3. Performers included Springsteen, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Son House, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Velvet Underground, … See long, long list at Main Point Performers []