Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked If He Would Prefer Being Introduced As A “Poet, Songwriter, Novelist, Singer” (Hint: It’s None Of The Above)

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Most of the things you do – poet, songwriter, novelist, singer – which do you prefer if you were going to be introduced as something?

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… It’s hard to live by a name anyhow and whatever you created gets away from you anyhow and I’d just as soon be introduced as a vegetarianquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Note: Leonard Cohen was a self-professed vegetarian for a few years in the 1960s. Information about this aspect of his life can be found at Was Leonard Cohen A Vegetarian?

The featured excerpt is from a CBC interview broadcast three weeks before his first album (Songs Of Leonard Cohen, released December 27, 1967). That selection was included in Inside the music – Various Positions:Leonard Cohen in His Own Words: Broadcast Jan 30, 2012.  The photograph atop this post, taken by Bill Dampier, is credited to York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC26833. Originally posted March 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“We are all embraced by the truth continually and sometimes we know it and sometimes we don’t.” Leonard Cohen

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From Leonard Cohen: A Portrait in the First Person. Interviewer: Moses Znaimer. CBC, 1988. Photo “Leonard Cohen, 1988 01” by GorupdebesanezOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons. Originally posted March 19, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. 

Leonard Cohen On Songwriters Who Influenced Him

Do you identify more with a European cultural tradition of songwriters – Jacques Brel, Mikos Theodorakis, Georges Moustaki, [Georges] Brassens?

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Of course those singers and songwriters have meant a good deal to me. But so does Chuck Berry.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Radio Interview by Tom Schnabel: July 13, 1988 (Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW-FM)

Also see “The thing I liked about [the PEN Award] was that I’m sharing it with Chuck Berry” Leonard Cohen [2012]

Note: This content originally posted Mar 20, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“Culture’s always been violent, and it is something we find very entertaining. Not only does it reflect our social reality, but it also reflects our psychic reality.” Leonard Cohen

Anjelica Huston: Do you think [distracting us from our internal panic] is what the present trend in extremely violent films and music is about?

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I think culture’s always been violent, and it is something we find very entertaining. Not only does it reflect our social reality, but it also reflects our psychic reality. We actually lead very violent, passionate lives and I think that we’re hungry for insights into this condition. That’s why we get all that stuff on television. It’s really where we are, really what we are. Probably all cultures, certainly Western culture, always have been violent. At the very center of our culture is a crucified man, a tortured man hanging on a cross of wood. You have an image of violence at the very center of our spiritual investigation. Suffering, violent suffering, seems to be something that corresponds with something that we experience. But maybe the culture is [particularly] shabby now. Maybe it’s because I’m over sixty, that I can feel that about everything.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Anjelica Huston. Interview magazine: November, 1995. Accessed at Remembering Leonard Cohen by Anjelica Huston (Interview: Nov 11, 2016). Photography Dana Lixenberg. Content originally posted May 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

What’s In Leonard Cohen’s Bag? Snake Tattoo, Girlfriend Photo, Airplane Tickets, AIDS Test Card

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The Scene: It is early 1988.  Leonard Cohen is being interviewed in the restaurant of a Covent Garden hotel. The interviewer reports “a tall man in a black suit suddenly approaches our table and hands Len a small black travel bag. Len lets out a huge sigh of relief. The man bows and disappears.”

The Excerpt:

[Interviewer:] What’s that then, Len?

[Leonard  Cohen:] I left it in the car last night. It’s got everything. My tattoo.

[Interviewer:] You’ve got your tattoo in your bag?

[Leonard  Cohen:]  It’s one of those stick-on ones, a big snake, a present for my daughter. Here’s my airplane tickets. Cheque books. A picture of my girlfriend.

[Interviewer:] Can I have a gander, Len?

[Leonard  Cohen:] Sure. I took it myself.

[Interviewer:] Very beautiful. What’s that bit of paper there?

[Leonard  Cohen:]  That’s my AIDS test result. Negative. It’s good to carry that around. ‘Hi, I’m Leonard, here’s my card!’ It’s like being let out of prison, getting one of those.

Source: Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabatoge Times. Posted Dec 3, 2015 (the excerpt itself is from a 1988 interview). The photo atop this post was taken on another occasion (Milan, 1989) by Guido Harari. This content was originally posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“There’s so little that you can do about [death]… We’ve got to live our lives as if they’re not going to end immediately. So we have to live under those – some people might call them illusions.” Leonard Cohen (2009)


Are you fearful of death?

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Everyone has to have a certain amount of anxiety about the conditions of one’s death. The actual circumstances, the pain involved, the affect on your heirs. But there’s so little that you can do about it. It’s best to relegate those concerns to the appropriate compartments of the mind and not let them inform all your activities. We’ve got to live our lives as if they’re not going to end immediately. So we have to live under those – some people might call them illusions.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From ‘I’m blessed with a certain amnesia‘ by Jian Ghomeshi. The Guardian: July 9, 2009. Originally posted Apr 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric