“America is a great, vast, bewildering, indescribable human experiment” Leonard Cohen

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I like to feel like an Indian – they don’t have to respect that border [between Canada and the United States]. America is a great, vast, bewildering, indescribable human experiment, and I don’t want to lose touch with what’s going on there…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017.

“When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.” Leonard Cohen

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It’s the song that allows the light to come in. It’s the position of the man standing up in the face of something that is irrevocable and unyielding… and singing about it. It’s the position that the Greek Zorba had. When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

This quotation is from the Jan 18, 2012 Old Ideas listening event in London moderated by Jarvis Cocker. An account of the event is found at Leonard Cohen shows there’s life in the old dog yet with launch of new album by Alex Needham (The Guardian: Jan 18, 2012):

When asked how a new song, Darkness, tallied with his famous line in the 1992 song Anthem that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in ,” Cohen replied: “You’ve got me stumped there.”

After some prompting from Cocker, he finally divulged: “It’s the song that allows the light to come in. It’s the position of the man standing up in the face of something that is irrevocable and unyielding and singing about it. It’s the position that the Greek Zorba had – that when things get really bad, you just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig and that’s about all you can do.”

Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I think perhaps you learn with age, the aging process is very important…” Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked If He Is A Teacher

Are you a teacher?

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If I am a teacher I don’t think that my teachings should go into effect until I myself have reached a kind of plane where my experience would be nourishing. If people follow, if people somehow turn on to my work, and turn on to it in the way of education and think that that’s the end, then they’re wrong. I think perhaps you learn with age, the aging process is very important, I think sometimes I might be a teacher.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969.

“I remember laying on a rock after I’d been [in Greece] two months and feeling some interior sliver of ice melt from inside my bones.” Leonard Cohen

hydrascrn

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There are many things about Greece; the most important is the climate. I came from Montreal, I had never been warm before. I remember laying on a rock after I’d been there two months and feeling some interior sliver of ice melt from inside my bones. I thought, God…the universe is benign. I was drawn mostly by the sun.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough” by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

“I know that unless I can get straight with myself no enterprise is going to be very meaningful. I think a lot of people are going to discover that too.” Leonard Cohen On Unemployment And Jobs In Art & Revolution


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I went [to Columbia University] with the idea of doing something because I had this continual sense of unemployment. I was maybe twenty-one or twenty-two at the time. I thought I’d better start taking things seriously, you know, you’re twenty-two and you’re not doing anything, what are you going to do in this world? And so in some corner of my mind I thought, well, post graduate studies in English. But I couldn’t make that for more than two or three weeks. I mean, I always had this sense of unemployment; I think that’s what our disease is. That somehow some of the most imaginative people in our society are unemployed. That’s bad. Now, I mean, unemployed both in the strict sense and in some more symbolic sense. We just are not working at our full capacity. And some people feel, you know, we have to tear the whole thing down and begin it again, that, in a sense is a kind of employment. I think that idea is very inviting to unemployed people; it really is a job. Revolution will employ a lot of people. It won’t employ me, unfortunately. I would love to be employed by it. I think that as one of the alternatives open to young men and women today, revolution is an excellent job. And an excellent discipline, excellent training. But it’s not for me. I’ve gone into it in some ways. I even went down to fight in Cuba. I think I explored it to my own satisfaction. I know that unless I can get straight with myself no enterprise is going to be very meaningful. I think a lot of people are going to discover that too. A very good friend of mine who wanted to be a writer and who found that he had made a mistake and he didn’t really want to be a writer, is a gardener now and very happy. I think a lot of people who simply couldn’t make it in the society as we see it now, turned to art first. And it’s still happening in this present generation. A lot of people who look at the world as they see it and look at the jobs that are offered them, simply can’t imagine themselves doing any of those things and because there aren’t many alternatives, they turn to art. They see in art the freedom and the kind of life they would like to lead, that organized society doesn’t present. But there are very few people who really have the aptitude for art. A lot of people would be a lot happier as gardeners and carpenters and cabinet makers, and I think I might be one of them. It’s certainly on my list of the things that I’m going to try. I feel a lot closer to that now, than I ever did. I hardly pay attention to what we call art. I don’t read poetry and I don’t think of myself as an artist. I’m looking around for a job. I thought it might be as a singer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969. Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, Identifier: ASC01709.

“[Lou Reed] was an early reader of Beautiful Losers which he thought was a good book… He wasn’t getting very many compliments of his work and I certainly wasn’t. So we told each other how good we were.” Leonard Cohen

Embed from Getty Images

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He [Lou Reed] was an early reader of Beautiful Losers which he thought was a good book. In those days I guess he wasn’t getting very many compliments of his work and I certainly wasn’t. So we told each other how good we were. I liked him immediately because Nico liked him.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From September 15, 1974 Leonard Cohen Interview by Robin Pike (ZigZag, Oct 1974). Photo shows Lou Reed introducing Leonard Cohen at Cohen’s 2008 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. Originally posted Apr 28, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric