On Feb 24, 2013, Sylvie Simmons, author of I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen, was the guest on “The Facebook Music Interviews” at Roch Parisien’s Rocon Communications music chat page. That site promised
We’ll be text-chatting live & interactive right here on Facebook discussing the current state of music journalism and all thing Lenny! You can participate as well and post your own questions for Sylvie.
In my announcement of that event, I encouraged readers to
Think Of It As Online Truth Or Dare: Come on. You must have an embarrassing question about Leonard Cohen or Sylvie’s fantasies about Leonard Cohen. This is your chance to ask anything – no matter how outrageous. Actually, Sylvie is pretty entertaining when she responds to any query, even straightforward ones. So, ask, listen, enjoy.
Alas, technical difficulties ensued. As Sylvie Simmons noted in a comment to the above referenced DrHGuy post
Oh well I did answer questions, by Facebook, for two hours-plus, then interviewer somehow managed to push a wrong button and consigned the answers to the great black hole of cyberspace. Which will teach me to be unfaithful to Dr Heck and refuse all internet interview requests but his.
The wisdom of Ms Simmons’ devotion to DrHGuy notwithstanding, the good news is that the prodigal interview has found its way home to its audience, albeit in the form of a transcript posting rather than an audio broadcast.
And it turns out to be an especially worthwhile read. A few representative excerpts follow:
[Interviewer] And his [Leonard Cohen’s] reaction to the book?
[Sylvie Simmons] The one thing he said on the subject, during our last interviews for the book, was that he didn’t want a whitewash. A very decent man, that Leonard Cohen.
The music business and the publishing business are f***ed.
My last book before this, halfway between Serge Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen, was fiction, a series of interlinked short stories, ‘Too Weird for Ziggy’ (which, incidentally, was originally titled ‘Too Weird for Iggy’ until Iggy Pop objected, so his then-manager said, on the grounds that it was too weird for him.
[Interviewer] As the book more than confirms, Leonard is a seductive figure on many levels. Was it difficult to maintain journalistic objective and distance? To not succumb to his charms and ‘fall in love’, metaphorically speaking, with your subject while writing the book?
[Sylvie Simmons] Okay, let’s start with ‘literally’: the Petraeus question. Fortunately, having been a music writer for 35 years and having spent not just days but nights, on tour buses, with rock stars, I quickly learned to resist temptation. ‘Metaphorically’? Well, I was already ‘in love’, if you like, with the artist, and the man is very difficult to dislike. But when you examine a life in as much depth, and for such a long time as I did on this biography, in a way you start identifying with them, more than actually loving them. The distance seems to disappear. And you can’t fall in love with yourself (well I suppose you can, but hey, it’s not a lot of fun!)
The complete transcript can be accessed at Facebook Music Interview #50 – Sylvie Simmons, Author Of ‘I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen’ (Feb. 24, 2013)
Note: Originally posted March 11, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric