“The artist has no position other than the one that gets him through the day, as a coat-hanger. Yeats had that. He had a mad, metaphysical philosophy.” Leonard Cohen

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The artist has no position other than the one that gets him through the day, as a coat-hanger. Yeats had that. He had a mad, metaphysical philosophy. He heard voices and took them down. He hung his coat on them. Then he took out the hanger. He hung his coat on them, but the coat stands there. That cape shines by itself. It doesn’t need the support of some cranky Lego construction.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

DrHGuy Note: “Coat-hanger” alludes to the recurrent line from The Apparitions by Yeats:

Because there is safety in derision
I talked about an apparition,
I took no trouble to convince,
Or seem plausible to a man of sense.
Distrustful of thar popular eye
Whether it be bold or sly.
Fifteen apparitions have I seen;
The worst a coat upon a coat-hanger.

And, this is not the first time Lego has been referenced on this site; see A Little Leonard: Leonard Cohen Miniatures

“To me, the critic is on trial at this point.” Leonard Cohen On Music Critics

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At this point, yes I am interested in the market journey of the product; but I’m very, very interested also in the mind of the reviewers, how they change over the decades, and how a man approaches new work. Whether he approaches it in a spirit of curiosity, charity, interest, or as a vehicle for his own self-aggrandizement, his own career. Whether he uses it as an opportunity to display humanism, or cruelty… I mean to me, the critic is on trial at this point.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic in a Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975). Image is back cover of Energy Of Slaves. Originally posted October 19, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Also see 

“You’re going to have the occasional inspired individual who just uses the form in the way a poet uses a sonnet. They’re going to be able to create cultural value and create an intellectual and emotional delight” Leonard Cohen on Rock Critics


From Rebirth Of A Ladies’ Man by Steven Blush. Seconds No 22: June/July 1993. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.

Also see 

“I still don’t have a clue / except that I was lonely / and there was only you” From The Flame By Leonard Cohen

The Flame by Leonard Cohen is divided into sections:

  • Poems
  • Notebooks
  • Lyrics
  • Drawings

Of these divisions, I find Notebooks the most intriguing because (1) most of the selections are new to me and (2) many of the entries resonate with issues raised in Leonard’s later work.

More information at The Flame By Leonard Cohen.

Q: Who is your best male friend and your best female friend? Leonard Cohen: “My 12-inch dick” + Summary Of Leonard’s Genital Self-Assessments

From “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” in Q Magazine, September 1994.

On the other hand,

If only my genitals didn’t float
When I relaxed in the bath
And we both looked down and we both agreed
It’s stupid to be a man

From The Good Fight by Leonard Cohen, published in Stranger Music (1993)

More About Leonard’s Genital Self-assessment:

“Doctor, I have this problem. It’s called aging. Can you do something about it? If not, I am going to die.” Leonard Cohen, On Being Introduced To A Physician

Leonard had a dark sense of humor. When I introduced him to a young Canadian doctor friend, he said, ‘Doctor, I have this problem. It’s called aging. Can you do something about it? If not, I am going to die.’

What I Learned from My Wise Uncle Leonard Cohen by Jonathan Greenberg (Sonoma Independent: November 14, 2016). Thanks go to Cohencentric viewer, Uli, who, accompanied by her Swiss sidekick, attended the Leonard Cohen Colmar Concert where she shot the stellar photo atop this post.

Leonard Cohen Describes How John Hammond Signed Him To Columbia Records – 1967

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I was staying at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street [in New York City]. We met in the lobby and he [John Hammond] took me down to a restaurant that no longer exists, on 23rd Street, and he bought me a very nice lunch. We didn’t really talk about anything, in particular. He seemed to be putting me at my ease, which I appreciated very much at the moment. Then, he said, ‘Let’s go back to the hotel, and maybe you’ll play me some songs.’ So, we went up to my room in the Chelsea Hotel, and it’s hard to play for somebody, just cold like that; but, if you could do it for anybody, it would be John Hammond, because he made it easy. I believe I sang him the songs that were on my very first record. I believe I sang the ‘Master Song’ and the ‘Stranger Song,’ ‘Suzanne,’ and a song that I never recorded about rivers. I don’t remember… [suddenly recalling] ‘Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye,’ I sang for him.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

The John Hammond Years: Interview with John Hammond & Leonard Cohen broadcast on BBC, Sept 20, 1986. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo Credit: York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp: ASC01709.

DrHGuy Note: At the time, John Hammond was Columbia Records’ leading artist and repertory executive, having discovered and signed Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan. Hammond would later sign Bruce Springsteen to a recording contract. He also, of course, signed Leonard to Columbia Records, which would be his record label, except for Death Of A Ladies’ Man (Warner Brothers) and Various Positions, which Columbia initially rejected and was subsequently picked up by the independent label Passport Records (the album was finally included in the catalog in 1990 when Columbia released the Cohen discography on compact disc) for the rest of his life.

Originally posted March 28, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Whatever erotic fantasy I had had about the whole situation, evaporated very very quickly – everybody had different purposes, theirs was fatigue and rest, and mine was some kind of bewilderment as usual about the whole situation… That was the first time I ever wrote a lyric from beginning to end without any revision.” Leonard Cohen On Sisters Of Mercy

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I remember reading various accounts of the song ‘Sisters of Mercy.’ I also don’t remember anything, except the snowstorm in Edmonton, it was very very – and I’m used to the snow, I come from Montreal. I know a lot about snow, but this I remember as a particularly ferocious storm, and I don’t know whether it was the part of Edmonton that I was in or the way it was laid out or the way the wind would come out right down from the north, but it was so strong that I had to seek shelter from the street. And I saw a doorway of a small building and I went in there, and there were two girls there also waiting till the storm laid down a bit, and I had a little room in a hotel which was called the… I have forgotten the name of it, I have to check some other persons’ account of the story. It looked out on the Edmonton river, just a little wooden hotel, nothing fancy. I think I was playing at a coffee shop nearby. Anyway, I invited the two young women to my room, and they were happy, because they were on the road and couldn’t afford a room. And they were road weary and there was a large bed and they fell asleep immediately in this big bed. And there was an easy chair beside the radiator right next to the window, and there was moonlight or I don’t remember, but it seemed to be the ice on the river, and it was very beautiful, a very beautiful northern view. And these two young women asleep in the bed. Whatever erotic fantasy I had had about the whole situation, evaporated very very quickly – everybody had different purposes, theirs was fatigue and rest, and mine was some kind of bewilderment as usual about the whole situation. So I was sitting there in that easy chair, that stuffed old chair. That was the first time I ever wrote a lyric from beginning to end without any revision. And I had a kind of tune, and I had my guitar there and I was playing it very very softly, and when they woke up, I’d play them the song, and everyone was very happy. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Looks Back On The Past (unedited interview for Norwegian Radio) by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo taken in Edmonton in 1966 by Rocco Caratozzolo, contributed by Kim Solez.