“The deeper understanding is that you don’t run the show, but live your life ‘a thousand kisses deep,’ and by that phrase I mean, that you have to accept the mystery and surrender to the mystery.” Leonard Cohen


[My] other favorite line is: ‘And summoned now to deal / With your invincible defeat, / You live your life as if it’s real, / A Thousand Kisses Deep.’ Everybody realizes at a certain time that they aren’t leading the life they want to. Life feels like a defeat. If you are lucky, you will realize later on that no one leads the life they want to. You realize that you cannot control your life, because if you could, you would have lead a different life. The awareness that you don’t control anything is the first reminder of the defeat. After that, you have to understand that you have to live on as if your life is real, as if you are the director and as if your choices have got consequences that are predictable. Life is to choose and therefore we have to carry on making these choices as if they are real choices that we can control. But the deeper understanding is that you don’t run the show, but live your life ‘a thousand kisses deep,’ and by that phrase I mean, that you have to accept the mystery and surrender to the mystery. Not even that is under your control. You can pray that it happens and try to arrange it, as if it was something that could be achieved through that path. You can also imagine that you are aware of what it’s all about. But before you actually experience the surrender, you don’t even know the shape of it. Something relaxes inside you. Everybody wants to be relaxed, but relaxing is another activity that you cannot control. For me it was very much about getting older. I read somewhere that when you get older the brain cells that are connected with fear start to die. I know a lot of older people who are very worried and bitter, but luckily it hasn’t happened in my case. At some point my angst started to ease. I think it was the understanding of not mastering an understanding of what the old master was trying to tell me. I couldn’t break through. I didn’t really understand it. And maybe I wasn’t meant to understand. Maybe it just had to sink into my heart and make it more relaxing to be alive. But I am both uncertain and unconscious of the process, and therefore I cannot give you a good description of it. But something eased inside mequotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001). Photo by Chris Buck Website Instagram

Note: Originally posted Mar 14, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen Goes Commercial – The French Brut de Fabergé Ad


Selling Brut de Fabergé With Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man”

Many fans still hold that Leonard Cohen doesn’t allow his work to be used in commercials. Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner, however, has put together a collection of TV advertisements using Cohen’s music (and sometimes Cohen in person) that challenges this shibboleth.

Note: In March 2010, I first published the content of Indifference: Leonard Cohen’s Cologne Concept, a post featuring a fake ad for a fragrance based on a joke Leonard once made about his creating own cologne to be called “Indifference,” and its slogan was going to be “I don’t give a shit what happens,” Notwithstanding the notion of “based on a joke” and Leonard’s own assessment of the post as “hilarious,” some fans have denounced the post with claims along the line of “Leonard Cohen would never advertise for a cologne or perfume.”  Well, read on.

While most of the videos Roman has assembled promote Cohen’s own work (e.g., his album releases or his tours), I am most taken with ads for other products. Ongoing readers may recall the South Korean Ramen TV Ad featuring Cohen’s I’m Your Man. Today’s selection uses that same song in a more sophisticated, more seductive, equally commercial sales pitch, originally broadcast in 1999 in France, for a fragrance. The ad is entitled Brute de Fabergé : Duel.

I have included a few screen captures to provide a sense of the 30 second sales pitch, which features a man and woman thrusting and parrying through a series of violent, provocative, sexy scenes, all set against the soundtrack of Leonard Cohen singing “I’m Your Man.”

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About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Light As The Breeze



About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album is a series of posts offering background and historical context for songs found on Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, the Leonard Cohen live album scheduled for release May 12, 2015 (see It’s Official – Leonard Cohen “Can’t Forget” Live Album: Tracks, Sources, Pre-Order Info, & More). The following content  originally appeared at Heck Of A Guy, the earlier incarnation of Cohencentric, on Aug 15, 2012.

Video: First Ever Live Performance Of Light As The Breeze By Leonard Cohen – Ghent, Aug 14, 2012

Although Leonard Cohen released Light As The Breeze on The Future album on November 24, 1992, he had never performed it in concert until nearly 20 years later at the 2012 Ghent concert.

Light As The Breeze by Leonard Cohen
Ghent: Aug 14, 2012
Video by

Other Posts About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

All posts in this series can be found at About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

Video: Perla Batalla’s Gorgeous Performance of Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat – Barcelona 2015



While I earlier posted a video of the same March 13, 2015 performance, this beautiful video of Perla Batalla’s elegant, moving rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat demands publishing. Thanks to Albert Noonan for alerting me to this gorgeous recording.

Perla Batalla – Famous Blue Raincoat
Barcelona: March 13, 2015

Video by DabbyNoNa

“It’s like anything that you fall in love with is going to give you a certain kind of blindness. I think you are blinded to your own imperfections and limitations.” Leonard Cohen On Discovering Frederico Garcia Lorca’s Poetry

Lorca, how did he help you find your own voice?

Well, I don’t know how he helped me find my own voice. Since he seemed exotic and far away, he allowed me to steal or borrow a lot of his voice. It’s like anything that you fall in love with is going to give you a certain kind of blindness. I think you are blinded to your own imperfections and limitations. It allows you to kind of lurch forward on the path that you want to choose for yourself. I don’t think that’s the real benefit of falling in love with a writer when you’re young. With Lorca, when I stumbled on him, it was something that was terribly familiar, it seemed to be the way that things really were. The evocation of a landscape that you’re really felt at home in, maybe more at home than anything you’ve been able to come up with yourself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From CBC Radio Interview with Leonard Cohen with Cindy Buissaillon: August 26, 1995. Originally posted May 24, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Home Sweet Home. Roshi said you never lose your home. He also said that home is not an object.” Leonard Cohen On The Idea Of Home In His Work

Your music and words resonate with a place I call home, your latest work even more deeply so. Is it possible to share with us in this format some of the recent discoveries you’ve made about “home” and how these discoveries continue to shape your songs and life?

Thank you so much for this observation. Home Sweet Home. Roshi said you never lose your home. He also said that home is not an object. It is not fixed. Any perspective you have on your home is the distance you are from it. Being at home is the activity of not needing to look for a home, and not needing to abandon a home. The mirrors are clear, the shadows are past, the wandering heart is homeless at last. I spent a lot of time at Roshi’s home. Hospitality. Drinking cognac with the old man – his exquisite hospitality in the shack by the river – that is, no hospitality just emptying the bottle into my glass and filling my plate and falling asleep when it was time to go.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Online Web Chat October 16, 2001. Photo by Lilian Graziani.

“It is wonderful to have a job that inspires both of us…” Leonard Cohen On The Importance Of Music To His & Anjani’s Relationship

How important is music for your [Leonard’s & Anjani’s] connection?

It is wonderful to have a job that inspires both of us and respects the respective contribution of the other. Anjani always surprises me with her musical ideas. On the quality of the songs she wrote for the album Blue Alert using some of my text fragments I was not prepared in any way. And it is really very pleasant to be surprised by someone you know for a long time after all these years.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Saying “I Do” To “Do I Have To Dance All Night” – Leonard Cohen Wedding Music

The Do I Have To Dance All Night Fan Club

I have long considered myself a leading contender for the title of “Biggest Fan of Do I Have To Dance All Night,” a wonderful Leonard Cohen song, the allure of which is no doubt enhanced by the fact that it is available commercially only as a seven inch, 45 rpm single, originally recorded at a 1976 concert in Paris and pressed in Holland for sale in Central European countries.1

I was, in fact, convinced that there was a significant gap between my degree of the devotion to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” and that evidenced by other admirers of that song.

Then I heard from Oded.

I’ve excerpted the essence of our email exchange below:

Oded: I just happened to stumble upon your post, The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard, when looking for a lyrics of a different song of this great man.

Thanks so much!!  I really love this song!  I even think I’ll surprise my fiancé with this song at our wedding

DrHGuy: Do I Have To Dance All Night is one of my favorites, and I think it would be a great wedding song – if your fiancé is a Cohen fan as well.  Otherwise, lines like “you touch me like I touch myself,” could lead to a certain awkwardness. That said, I’ve successfully integrated Leonard Cohen’s and Anjani’s songs into a wedding playlist with great success.

Oded: I’m thinking about putting that song at around 1-2am when everyone’s tired but still dancing…  If you could send that version along I’d be super-happy!

Selecting Leonard Cohen Songs For Matrimonial Harmony

One of the first Warning Signs Of Leonard Cohen Fan Syndrome I posted follows:

You have been disappointed and perplexed when attending any event – including but not limited to weddings, funerals, b’nei mitzvah, high school proms, jai ala matches, openings of strip malls, kindergarten graduations, meetings of the Daughters Of The American Revolution, presidential inaugurations (regardless of country), royal coronations (regardless of country), coups d’etat (regardless of country), space launches, summer solstices, and Metallica concerts – that did not feature at least one Leonard Cohen song.

Now, Leonard Cohen’s music has graced many nuptial events. Typically, however, the songs from his discography most frequently heard in this context have been “Take This Waltz,” “Dance Me To The End Of Love,” The Marriage March” (from Night Music), “Hallelujah,” and, less often, “I’m Your Man” and  “Tennessee Waltz.”2

Singing “Do I Have To Dance All Night” in this setting is another matter altogether.3

Doing so during the dancing that celebrates the marriage ratchets the potential for provocation up another notch and a successful performance will call for an extraordinarily loving groom and dedicated Leonard Cohen fan in the role of singer.

It will also require a bride who is a very special Bird of Paradise.4

I’m betting on Oded and his betrothed.

I can only hope someone has the presence of mind to record the performance so that we can offer a long awaited cover version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night.” I would have to work on the liner notes, I already have the art prepared (see image atop post).

Leonard Cohen – Do I Have To Dance All Night (With Laura Branigan)
Recorded in Paris: 1976
Video by Allan Showalter


Note: The majority of this material was originally posted Oct 27, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. The story of how I finally obtained a copy of this jewel of a song can the found at Do I Have To Dance All Night: The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard []
  2. My dinner music selections for the Very Very Good Girl – SportsBizPro wedding included Cohen’s “Ain’t No Cure For Love” and Anjani’s “I Had to go Crazy to Love You,” but there is a huge jump from choosing a playlist and performing those songs. []
  3. I suppose other Cohen songs might be even more problematic (“Closing Time” comes to mind), but still … []
  4. And it wouldn’t hurt to have some talented bridesmaids as back up singers, but that may be pushing it a tad. []

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Poets In Cars Getting Lost

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Irving Layton & Leonard Cohen Drive To Toronto

[Irving] Layton frequently brought Cohen along on reading or promotional tours [in the 1950s]. On one of their frequent car trips to Toronto, they became so engrossed in talking about poetry that they didn’t notice they were running out of gas. Fortunately, they were not far from a farmhouse, where they found help. Several years later they were again driving to Toronto and again ran out of gas. Uncannily, it was in front of the same farmhouse. They sheepishly told their story to the woman in the farmhouse who remembered them from years past. She summed up the entire episode with one word: “Poets!”

Excerpted from Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel

“There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was [Suzanne] who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song.” Leonard Cohen


Much of the song [Suzanne] had been written, but the focus was missing until Suzanne brought me to this warehouse where she was living, then a lot of the imagery came together. I found a focus for it because I love that part of the city. There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was she who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song. Then the second verse — ‘Jesus was a sailor’ — people feel Montreal is the Jerusalem of the north. People who were brought up there have this sense of a holy city, a city that means a lot to us. So, I was able to find a place for that second verse between those two verses about Suzanne and to give it that religious quality that the song has, which is the quality of Montreal.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From The Stranger Music of Leonard Cohen by William Ruhlmann. Goldmine: Feb 19, 1993.

Credit Due Department: Photo of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, known as the Sailors’ Church, by Sally Hunter.