Leonard Cohen Gives Good Interview – And 200 Franc To Interviewer

Having recently published a couple of posts featuring Leonard Cohen in humorous conflict with interviewers (see Leonard Cohen’s Short Response To A Long Question About His Depression and “Let’s kill him” Leonard Cohen Plots With Anjani To Murder Interviewer), I thought it only fair to offer an anecdote or two displaying Leonard’s graciousness with reporters. Yesterday, it was Leonard forcing scarfs on interviewers. Today, it’s Leonard gifting a temporarily destitute interviewer with cash.

“It sounds like the beginning of a crime novel,” says Leonard Cohen and chuckles quietly when I tell him how my coat was mixed up with another man’s coat on the Air France plane, one and a half hours ago at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Leonard Cohen wants to hear the whole story before starting the interview here in room 204 at Hotel Raphael. And once again I have to explain how I didn’t discover the mistake until one quarter hour after the landing while standing at the train station outside the airport about to buy a ticket for Gare du Nord. In the inside pocket of the coat was another man’s passport and return ticket and in the outside pocket a red tie – but no money. After 15 heavily sweaty and panicking minutes I managed to get an airport employee to call Leonard Cohen’s hotel and tell the people from the record company that I was late and couldn’t get anywhere without money. While waiting to get through to the hotel, the airport woman smilingly noted that if my coat was a Hugo Boss and his a Cessario it wasn’t a good swap.

Leonard Cohen laughed again: “Did you get in contact with the man?” And I did. At the hotel there was a message and a mobile number waiting and I discovered that the man with my coat was sitting in a meeting at the cosmetics company Givenchy. “Was he able to see the amusing aspect of the situation?” asked Leonard Cohen – and yes, the man had laughed on the phone and we had arranged to meet.

“Does that mean that you are broke?” asked Leonard Cohen, and when I shook my head he grabbed inside the inner pocket of his jacket and pulled out 200 franc, handed them across the table and the two coffee cups and insisted that I should take them.

Leonard Cohen has given me 200 franc! What a fantastic start.

From Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001).