From Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira Nadel
Standdart & Leonard Cohen
A composite image (click on graphics to enlarge) created from a photo of Leonard Cohen at the beginning of his singing-songwriting career and one from the recent past graces the cover of the Spanish art and culture magazine, Standdart #6 (2012), an issue dedicated to the Canadian singer-songwriter.
Following that striking front cover are 136 pages of articles and photos completed with the collaboration of Alberto Manzano, Montxo Armendáriz, Luis Sepúlveda, Montero Glez, Adrian Vogel, and others.
Standdart, Hugo Izarra, & Allan Showalter
The final page of this issue is a bibliography. I admit to being irredeemably proud – and incredibly humbled – that this web site is included1 in a list replete with works by Leonard Cohen and erudite books and articles about him written by deservedly well known authors.
“You’ve been my personal confidant.” Hugo Izarra
Sadly, my first contact with Hugo Izarra, the brilliant editor of Standdart, was an email exchange commiserating on the termination of the journal, another victim of the new economics of publishing and culture. While his perspective on this event was, as one might expect, philosophical, wise, and worthy of emulation, I fear my attention was diverted by his revelation that he followed my posts and found them helpful. But, I was completely overwhelmed when I read his words, “You’ve been my personal confidant.”
And thus are the accounts balanced, full compensation having been received for the past few years spent in this time-consuming, frustrating, money-losing enterprise of hurling words into cyberspace.
Originally posted Aug 29, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
- as “Dr. HGuy Files, Allan Showalter” – #8 on the list [↩]
From She @notthatpositive via Twitter (Nov 12, 2012 Vancouver concert). Originally posted November 13, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I Got My MOJO
A couple of days ago, when I received a copy of the March 2012 edition of MOJO in return for some assistance I was able to render for that issue’s Leonard Cohen feature, (see Exclusive 1st Look – Leonard Cohen MOJO Cover) the first item to which I turned was – well, the very first item I checked was whether I was mentioned in the credits (more, inevitably, about that later) – but the very next page I sought and located was the beginning of Sylvie Simmons’ interview with Leonard Cohen. The article is not available online so I have excerpted the opening paragraph below. (Click on excerpt to enlarge)
The ensuing eight pages of text1 cover a multitude of points such as Leonard Cohen’s current day to day life, the 2008-2010 World Tour, songs that made it on the recently released Old Ideas album, songs that didn’t, and songs that are planned for next new album, Cohen’s grandchildren, Cassius and Viva, his recording studio that is atop what once was his garage, Roshi, the music Cohen heard his parents sing during his childhood, the issues involved with growing old, and much more, including fudgesicles and the identity of the secret ingredient in Cohen’s homemade salad dressing.2
Anyone with even a passing interest in Leonard Cohen or, for that matter, in pop music journalism will be enriched by reading “Bringing It All Back Home” by Sylvie Simmons, whose biography of the Canadian singer-songwriter is due to be published this fall.
And the art in the Leonard Cohen ain’t bad. The following is part of a page from the interview (click on image to enlarge) containing six images, each of which was suggested by me and each of which first appeared on the Heck Of A Guy or the DrHGuy sites. One of them, “End Of The Word Tour” graphic, is an original DrHGuy construction.3
And those chaps at MOJO were as good as their word, crediting my efforts, albeit in an appropriately inconspicuous manner. The print encased in red below is shown enlarged in the following image.
Originally posted Feb 18, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
- It’s actually “eight pages more or less”, depending upon one’s criteria for a page of text [↩]
- Still, there are inexplicable lacunae in this Cohen salmagundi Ms Simmons presents to us. Somehow, for example, a report of the long discussion I am certain they had about me is absent. [↩]
- Yes, I am pretty pleased with my own contribution – you gotta problem with that? [↩]
Leonard comes up with phrases that will go through you like a screaming army. I aspire to that, but I know I don’t have in me what he has. What I can do is distill all my knowledge of music into a single drop, with each note being the right one.
Inside Track: Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems by Paul Tingen (Sound On Sound: Dec 20, 2014)
Sitting at a small kitchen table, the 67-year-old composer of such songs as “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” “Chelsea Hotel,” “I’m Your Man” and “Democracy” plied me with pâté and gorgonzola, with red wine and aquavit. He drank strong coffee and smoked cigarettes. He looked less like a singer than an unusually cultivated business man of indefinite provenance — the face Jewish, the accent Canadian, the manner Old World and faintly elusive. A cosmopolite, but not quite at home anywhere. A Jew with a shrine to the Virgin Mary in his kitchen. A bohemian in a jacket and tie.
It was a pleasure to meet him. His hair is close-cropped and gray now, his smile wonderfully embattled. He makes you laugh. The man known as the most doleful singer in the world is really a kind of comedian, obsessed with hierarchies and judgments at a time when the world has been trying to forget that they exist.
Q: Why did he eat a banana?
Sharon Weisz: I guess he was hungry.
How did you meet Leonard Cohen?
Sharon Weisz: I met Leonard Cohen in 1986 when I was hired to market Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat album, which was an album of Leonard Cohen songs.
Do you remember your first meeting?
Sharon Weisz: I had planned a filmed interview with Entertainment Tonight for Jennifer Warnes, and the producer asked if Leonard could also participate, which he agreed to do. Jennifer decided that the interview should take place in a recording studio in the San Fernando Valley where she had taken Leonard. I met them at the studio and it was the first time I met Leonard in person. I had spoken to her several times over the phone and we had noticed that we lived very close to each other. Therefore, at the end of the interview, Jennifer asked me to bring Leonard home. My first meeting with Leonard was in my car on Highway 405 during rush hour for over an hour.
Where was the photograph taken from the album cover?
Sharon Weisz: Jennifer Warnes’ record company had decided to make a video clip for her version of First We Take Manhattan. The location was the former assembly plant of Ford Motor Company in Los Angeles. It is a gigantic building on the water that has been used for many film and television shootings. The upper floor where cars were once assembled has large floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light, and there is a lift at the bottom large enough to accommodate a car. I was at the other end of the room taking pictures of the video shoot when I saw the elevator door open. Leonard emerged and began to walk slowly to where the shoot was taking place. I noticed that he was peeling a banana while walking and when it appeared fully, I turned and took a picture with the banana and went back to what I was doing.
DrHGuy Note: The Jennifer Warnes video referenced by Sharon Weisz can be viewed below.
Why did he eat a banana?
Sharon Weisz: I guess he was hungry. The road had been long …
It was an easy “session”?
Sharon Weisz: People are shocked when they discover that it was not a “session” at all. In fact, it was only an image. The rest of the pictures I took that day were from Jennifer or Jennifer and Leonard during the shoot. When I had the contact board, I laughed when I saw Leonard’s picture with the banana. I ordered an 8×10 print and sent it with a note explaining that I thought he would like this particular photo. He phoned me about a week later to ask if it would bother me to put it on the front of his album. He later named it my most famous photograph. I think he was right.
From [1988 – 2018] Everybody knows Leonard Cohen (Soul Kitchen: Aug 21, 2018). Via Google Translate.