Alan Light is the author of The Holy Or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”
Note: Originally posted Jan 17, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Dominique Issermann’s 1984 photo of Leonard Cohen smoking on a park bench, a shot that has been recycled into posters, post cards, and at least one book cover (the Leonard Cohen Collection songbook published in 2001).
Then there are those boots, shown below in an enlarged section of the Issermann photo.
Asked “What’s your most prized material possession” by his friend and interviewer, Danny Fields, Cohen responded “I like these boots,” leading to the following exchange:
D: They’re nice. What are they? How high do they go? Oh I like the toes. It’s hard to get those toes.
L: Today we saw a beautiful pair of boots in the window of a place called Botticelli [Botticelli Shoes – New York City]. I imagine they’re extremely expensive. They didn’t take an credit cards.
D: Oh, but any good boots are at least a hundred dollars.
L: I’ll never accustom myself to that.
D: Shoes are different from anything else.
L: Well, I agree with you. But I only buy boots with foreign money that I don’t understand. I know these cost a lot, but I don’t know how much because I paid francs for them. They’re probably at least a hundred dollars.
Music Director Roscoe Beck remembers that at his first meeting with Leonard Cohen in 1979, Cohen “was wearing his customary dark grey suit and black cowboy boots.”1 Anjani Thomas also includes the boots in her description of her first meeting with Leonard Cohen, which took place in 1984:
I was waiting to meet him [Leonard Cohen] at the loft [belonging to John Lissauer]. When he walked through the door, I saw that his cowboy boots and everything he wore was black. It was an impressive entrance.2
They [Leonard Cohen and Anjani] concluded with “Whither Thou Goest,” a song that had a pleasant, hymn-like quality, but of course, true to Leonard’s libido, had overtones of intimacy and romance. I don’t know how he does it. I swear he was making eyes at every lady in the house. I suppose only Leonard can assume the dual role of wise old sage and raging sex beast.
From cahootszine.com | 8 pm: Near the Astor Place Subway Stop – Review of April 24, 2007 Anjani Concert at Joe’s Pub in New York
Video: Leonard Cohen & Anjani – Never Got To Love You
Joe’s Pub, NYC: April 24, 2007
Note: Originally posted January 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
When the singer and composer Leonard Cohen left the stage, soaked in sweat, at the end of a 2009 concert in Tel Aviv, he couldn’t known he’d just funded the means of not just better understanding deeply held beliefs, but perhaps of helping to rewrite them. He’d named the concert, attended by 47,000 people in the middle of widespread calls for boycotts of Israel following its three-week Gaza war, “A Concert for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace.” And he gave the approximately $1.5 million in ticket sales to a newly formed charity run by a board of Israelis and Palestinians, so that they could pursue projects that promoted coexistence.
The money funded, in part, work by a pair of researchers, Daniel Bar-Tal, who teaches at the school of education at Tel Aviv University, and Eran Halperin, a conflict specialist and psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hezliya. Their mandate from Cohen’s organization was clear: Pursue peace along paths that haven’t been walked before. So, hoping to find new ideas, they approached Israeli advertising agencies, and asked for suggestions on how to break through seemingly impossible disagreements.
From Absolutely Right: The Persuasion Technique That Could Bring Us to Our Senses, or Deepen Our Conflicts by Jacob Ward (Medium: Dec 4, 2017). The complete article is available at the link.
More posts about this concert can be found at 2009 Cohen Tel Aviv Show,
Leonard Cohen was, in fact, the President of the McGill Debating Union, but, his linguistic skills notwithstanding, he and his partner, Avrum Cohen, were defeated by a team of convicts (who did have the advantage of playing on their home field). The following excerpt is from “The Cohens of McGill” by Jim Hynes (McGill Reporter May 15, 2008 – Vol 40; No 17):
Avrum Cohen followed his father Hyman’s first steps on campus, earning a BA in 1953 and a law degree in 1956. Back in the days when the position came with a room adjacent to its offices in what is now the Redpath Museum, the future lawyer served as President of the McGill Students’ Society. He was also part of McGill’s Debating Union Society, teaming up in 1956 with an unrelated Leonard Cohen (yes, that Leonard Cohen) for a debating contest tour that included a loss to a team of inmates from thepenitentiary where one debate was held. Avrum Cohen later married Robin’s mother, Barbara, who earned a Diploma in Teaching – at McGill, of course. [emphasis mine]
Note: Originally posted December 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Introduction by DrHgGuy: Leonard Cohen has incorporated into his work images and phrases from a panoply of sources, including but certainly not limited to
Kim Solez1 posits that a discussion he had with Leonard about the international classification for renal transplant biopsies may have contributed to the first draft of what later became the song Treaty.
In November 2005, I met with Leonard at his home in Montreal for a three day weekend during which we discussed at length standard-setting in medicine and the controversy over the status of borderline changes in the Banff classification for renal transplant biopsies.
At the Nov 6, 2017 Montreal Tower Of Song Tribute Concert, I opened the program to find pages from Leonard’s notebook indicating that nine months later at the same kitchen table where our conversations took place, Leonard wrote the first draft of Treaty in which the word ‘borderline” appears five times. I explain further in this video.
Also, in 2006 when Leonard accepted induction into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame he mentioned “living life with microscopic precision,” a phrase from our conversations together in November 2005 when we talked about the profession of pathology.