Video: Leonard Cohen Confesses To Having “Lifted” Lines From Ibsen In 1985 Interview

nrk1Gordana Stupar has again uncovered a gem of a Leonard Cohen interview. In this brief question and answer session, Leonard touches on the difference between a singer and a writer (“They seem to be part of the same racket”), pessimism and seriousness (“We live in a butcher shop”), and stealing lines lines from Ibsen. He reports that he “lifted” the notion of a self being an onion with layers covering its nonexistent core from Ibsen’s Peer Gynt to produce these lines for Wishing Window from Night Magic

Your famous heart is like an onion,
All layers and layers of wild distress
All gathered into rings round nothingness.

The interview, from the NRK Archive, also includes a performance of Suzanne from the February 6, 1985 Oslo concert. Tore Johannessen’s interview with Leonard Cohen, first broadcast February 9, 1985, can be accessed at NRK: Johannessen-Cohen Interview