What Leonard Cohen Did For Me – 2004 BBC Documentary

What Leonard Cohen Did For Me – According To The BBC

In commemoration of Leonard Cohen’s 70th birthday and his release of “Dear Heather” in 2004, the BBC aired “What Leonard Cohen Did For Me,” a melange of fragments – interviews with Nick Cave, Ian McCulloch, Rufus Wainwright, Arthur Smith, Kathryn Williams, Paul Morley, and others, a few utterances from Cohen, parts of Cohen’s songs covered by others and sung by Cohen himself, comments from critics, scenes from other documentaries about and interviews with Leonard Cohen, … .

The only discernible unifying force of the piece, other than the theme of “Stuff That Has Something To Do With Leonard Cohen,” is the unmistakably characteristic BBC voice-over lending an undeserved air of authority to the proceedings.

While there may be no diamonds in this mine, one can nonetheless unearth the occasional amethyst. A few such semi-precious gems follow:

  • Leonard Cohen being described as “Barry White for poetry chicks”
  • An artist attesting that Leonard Cohen “makes [him] shiver and tingle”
  • This excerpt from the 1993 TV Interview with Jools Holland:
    JH: And then what got you into poetry?
    LC: Well, I don’t know. I thought that was the way to kind of win women’s hearts.
    JH: Did it work?

    LC: Yes it did.

And there is the occasional insight, such as an all too brief but useful discussion of the importance of Cohen’s well spoken and well formed lyrics that have “a poet’s pace to them.”

So, if you haven’t seen “What Leonard Cohen Did For Me” or if it’s been a few years since viewing it, take a look at the videos. While I advise keeping one’s expectations low, you are likely to find enough worthwhile content to warrant the effort.

What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 1/3
BBC4 Documentary


What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 2/3
BBC4 Documentary


What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 3/3
BBC4 Documentary

Note: Originally posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric