Video: Watch Leonard Cohen Talk About The Favourite Game In 1963 CBC TV Interview

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Playing The Favourite Game: CBC Youth Special with Paddy Springate and Stuart Smith (1963)

Leonard Cohen takes on reviewers and Canadian modesty in this 10 minute discussion of his “third novel disguised as a first novel.” He denies the accusation that the work  is autobiographical and defends the honesty of his protagonist: “My book may be lousy but it’s true.”

1988 Video: Leonard Cohen Talks About Lorca, His Favorite Color, Robertson Davies, I’m Your Man Cover Art, Poetry, Favourite Game … & Teaches Thumb Wrestling

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This is a wonderful video that offers trivia, insights, entertainment (including a host flummoxed by Leonard Cohen’s unanticipated answers to her queries), and even a bit or two of wisdom. Specific items discussed include the following:

  • The origins and significance of the I’m Your Man album cover art
  • The meaning of “They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom for trying to change the system from within” in First We Take Manhattan
  • Leonard’s favorite color: Yellow
  • Leonard’s favorite writer: Robertson Davies1
  • The impact of Federico García Lorca on Leonard Cohen
  • Leonard’s favorite game: Thumb-wrestling (also see “Thumb Wrestling” section of The Favourite Games Of Leonard Cohen – Part 2)
  • The feelings embedded in The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen
  • Leonard’s notion of the title “poet”
  • Leonard’s assertion that wisdom comes with laughter or a sense of entertainment (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount had to be expressed with drama)

Viewing The Video

The video cannot be embedded and, indeed, is difficult to locate. To find it, go to  VIDEO Leonard Cohen ”tommel-bryder” DR-vært under 1988-interview, a screenshot of which is shown below. The large video at the top comprises only the thumb-wrestling portion of the interview. To see the full interview, scroll down the page to the video marked by the red circle in the screenshot.

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  1. A personal favorite of DrHGuy; see Elegant Eulogies: Robertson Davies On “The Great Theatre of Life” []

Leonard Cohen’s The Favourite Game On Jarvis Cocker’s Top 10 Music Books List

favgame900Excerpt from Jarvis Cocker’s top 10 music books by Jarvis Cocker (The Guardian: June 13, 2014)

The Favourite Game
by Leonard Cohen

We all know Leonard Cohen is The Don: perhaps the ONLY true musician/poet/novelist ever. This is his first novel and there is a great section where he describes driving through the Canadian night listening to Pat Boone singing “I Almost Lost My Mind”, which totally captures the essence of teenage years and their infatuation with all things Rock.

Leonard Cohen: Literary Marksman

Leonard Cohen’s work contains too many allusions, references, and metaphors related to firearms to provide an exhaustive list in this post. The following samples are representative.

From “Love Calls You By Your Name:”

Shouldering your loneliness
like a gun that you will not learn to aim,

From “Hallelujah:”

Well, maybe there is a God above,
But all that I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.

From “Field Commander Cohen:”

Leave it all and like a man,
come back to nothing special,
such as waiting rooms and ticket lines,
silver bullet suicides,
and messianic ocean tides,
and racial roller-coaster rides
and other forms of boredom advertised as poetry.

From “Night Comes On:”

We were fighting in Egypt
When they signed this agreement
That nobody else had to die
There was this terrible sound
And my father went down
With a terrible wound in his side
He said, Try to go on
Take my books, take my gun
Remember, my son, how they lied
And the night comes on

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