In Cohen’s songs there are repeated allusions to marriage.
Leonard Cohen: Last year I was traveling in the service of a monk [Roshi], carrying his luggage. We went to several monasteries in America, and I remember he once told the monks of a Trappist monastery that the life they led was very easy in their setting. To know what a hard, difficult life was, they had to know what marriage was. In their environment, it was very easy to get up at three in the morning and pray. But leading a life of commitment with another person was the most difficult thing in this world. It is in marriage that a man is tested, where his manhood, his dignity is proved. That’s why I speak in my songs about marriage – because I believe that any human being who acquires that commitment is someone with an authentic monastic spirit.
Are you married?
Leonard Cohen: I live with a woman [Suzanne Elrod]
And do you do it in the spirit you’re talking about?
Leonard Cohen: Yes, although I think it’s very difficult. Anyway, it’s worth trying.
Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate.
You are adamant that no cover of a Leonard Cohen song improves on the original – and you own every available cover.
Since the publication of the official criteria for the prototypical Leonard Cohen Fan Diagnosis, 301.LC Cohenphilic Personality Disorder, the Cohencentric Leonard Cohen Fan Disorders Asylum and Sanitarium has received numerous messages asking if one or another behavior is a symptom characteristic of a Leonard Cohen fan. Consequently, Cohencentric is publishing, as a public service, signs which indicate that one is at high risk of being a full-fledged Leonard Cohen fan.
All published You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If … entries can be found at the You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If … Page
Originally posted October 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Are you still so eager to write if some of your desire, your appetite for love is satiated?
Marianne and I didn’t think of it as a love story. We just thought we were living together. I understand the belief that if your desire for love is satisfied, you no longer have the motivation to write, but I’ve never felt that way, it’s not a mechanism that applies to me. If anything, it was the opposite: there was a woman, she had a child, meals on the table, order in the house and harmony. It was precisely the moment to start one’s own work. I could work a lot because of Marianne, I wrote Beautiful Losers and more. She brought tremendous order to my life. [Interviewer: A material order, in the way of everyday life?] If you want to call that material, okay. But the material is the spiritual, that’s the real order, there is no other. When there is food on the table, when the candles are lit, when you wash the dishes together and when you put the child in bed together – that’s the order, that’s the spiritual order, there is no other.
From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via online translation. Originally posted Feb 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The first music I remember was the liturgy in the synagogue and the Russian songs of my mother, who had grown up in Lithuania. After the war, I mostly listened to popular music: country, blues, the tunes from the jukebox in the French cafés in Montreal. The fact that French was the dominant language in Montreal made me aware that I belonged to a minority. Thus, I have come to appreciate the peculiarity and the beauty of my own language, English.
From ‘Gesprek met Leonard Cohen, de boeteprediker van de popmuziek; Het Oude Testament is mijn handboek’ [Talk with Leonard Cohen, the philosopher of pop music; the Old Testament is my guide] by Pieter Steinz, NRC: December 4, 1992. Photo “Leonard Cohen, 1988 01” by Gorupdebesanez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Credit Due Department: Contributed & translated by Anja Deelen
Thanks to Montse Coque of Barcelona, Spanish Cohen Brigade
Ir turns out that the good folks at Reddit were interested enough in the account of Phil Spector holding a gun to Leonard Cohen’s head to make Guns Aimed At Leonard Cohen the most popular Cohencentric entry yesterday and, in the process, cause a spike in this site’s recent popularity. (Guns Aimed At Leonard Cohen features the Phil Spector anecdote as well as the stories of Cuban soldiers with submachine guns capturing Leonard and Maoists at the 1970 Aix-En-Provence Festival shooting at him.)
On the same day a post on Steve Hoffman Music Forums about Joni Mitchell’s Rainy Night House included links to Firearms In The Work & Life Of Leonard Cohen: His Father’s World War I Pistol and That Don’t Make It Junk – Things Cohenites Don’t Like About Leonard Cohen: His Guns, which also added to the total hits, albeit less dramatically.