Leonard Cohen Differentiates Between “Seriousness” and “Gloominess”

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The confusion of seriousness with gloominess is an inaccurate understanding. We have an appetite for seriousness and we can be destroyed as easily by mindless frivolity as we can by obsessive depression … Somewhere in between, there’s a condition that is quite peaceful. It’s called ‘seriousness’ and it’s an appropriate response to a number of things that happen to be going on on the crust of this star…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen by Elizabeth M. Thomson (1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017). The entire interview, out of print since its original publication in 1979, can now be found at the link. The story behind the interview is online at Elizabeth M. Thomson Facebook Page. Thanks to Harold Lepidus, who alerted me to this piece.

Leonard Cohen explains that “We don’t love Tolstoy for his solutions, we love him for his appetite for justice”

Leo Tolstoy 1897

Leo Tolstoy 1897

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He [Tolstoy] couldn’t [divide his land up among the peasants], either. It leads you to some very absurd, although poignant and touching, situations. For instance, in his rather large house — I think it was in the living room with a salon — he set up a little shoemaking shop. His wife and daughter were wearing gowns from Paris, they were completely involved in opera and anything else they could manage at the time, and he was wearing peasant clothing and making sandals. So, it leads you to some very conflicting stances. I mean, we don’t love Tolstoy for his solutions, we love him for his appetite for justice. [emphasis mine]quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Songs and Thoughts of Leonard Cohen By Robert O’Brian (RockBill, September 1987). Note: Originally posted July 1, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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)

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 Experiencing Oneself “As Neither Man Nor Woman”

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Maybe this is some kind of alibi I’m about to spin, but I’ve never felt that distant from the woman’s position. She’s not outside of my intimate experience. I’ve never felt the woman was an alien creature from my point of view that I had to either overwhelm or glorify. I think that if you’ve experienced yourself as neither man nor woman–think that anyone who sings about these matters has to have that experience and I think everyone has had the experience, in an embrace you’re neither man nor woman–you forget who you are. Once you have experienced yourself as neither man nor woman, when you are reborn into the predetermined form which you inhabit, you come back with the residue of experience or the residue of wisdom which enables you to recognize in the other extremely familiar traits.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen by Barbara Gowdy (November 19, 1992 interview published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, ed. Leanna Crouch, Somerville House Publishing 1994).

“Most people say there’s a conflict between the spirit and the body, but I don’t inhabit that kind of intellectual commentary.” Leonard Cohen

From Tortoise-Shell by Biba Kopf. New Musical Express, March 2, 1985. Note: Originally posted May 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric