Finale Of Three-Year Saga: The Leonard Cohen 80th Birthday Bench On Hydra

In The Beginning …

2014 – Help Buy Leonard Cohen A New Bench For His 80th Birthday

In 2014, 1HeckOfAGuy.com (Cohencentric’s predecessor) joined with LeonardCohenForum and Speaking Cohen in a campaign to commemorate Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday by gathering funds for a bench on Hydra, the Greek island that was home to Leonard (and Marianne) for most of the 1960s (see Fans Celebrating Leonard Cohen’s 80th Birthday – Pledges For Bench On Hydra). At that time, the pertinent 1HeckOfAGuy.com post pointed out that

An appropriate site has been selected and architectural plans drawn up. Now, the fundraising has begun.

bench1

The means by which to make a contribution as well as a description of the project, photos and videos of the site, a rundown on the costs, and an explanation of the significance of Hydra to Leonard Cohen can be found at

Of course, there is always the risk that the fundraising campaign will fall short. Consequently, DrHGuy devised a fallback plan, should that dire fate befall the project.

It turns out that raising the money was the easy step. The goal was quickly met and exceeded. Since then, however, the local and national bureaucracies responsible for monuments on Hydra have stymied the construction of the bench.

June 2015: The Stealth Bench

bench2Russian Intelligence (in the person of Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner) reports from Hydra that recently arrived Dutch and Irish agents have surreptitiously deployed this stealth bench, constructed of exotic materials and embedded with sophisticated cloaking technology to create the illusion to the naked eye and in photographs that the massive facility is little more than a board and a couple of stones. For the full story, check out

June 2017: Bench Construction

This photo, taken June 4, 2017 by Caren & Hans Kloss, of the Leonard Cohen bench under construction preceded official notification that the governmental hassles had been resolved.

Happily, the commemorative bench was completed just prior to the 2017 Hydra Meet-Up.

 

Credit Due Department: The iconic photo of Leonard on a park bench was taken by Dominique Issermann. Thanks to Roman Gavrilin, who shot the stealth bench photo and to Caren & Hans Kloss, who shot the photo of the Leonard Cohen bench under construction.

Hydra Names Street After, Dedicates Bench To Leonard Cohen

hi
More information at Διήμερο εκδηλώσεων στη μνήμη του Λέοναρντ Κοέν and Οδός Leonard Cohen ονομάζεται πλέον ο δρόμος του σπιτιού του αξέχαστου καλλιτέχνη στην Ύδρα (both articles are in Greek but can be easily read via computer translation).

Thanks to Dominique BOILE, who alerted me to these articles and to Sandra Zémor, who originally alerted him to those articles.

Video – Leonard Cohen Talks About His Life On Hydra: Why He Came, How He Met Marianne, Writing Books & Songs There …

quoteup2
I met a girl and I stayed for eight or ten years.
Yeah, that’s the way it was in those days.
quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

“This was the laboratory of my youth”

In this video, excerpted from the 1988 film Songs From The Life Of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen, accompanied by his backup singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, revisits the home in Hydra that he shared with Marianne of So Long Marianne  In addition to a discussion of his life on Hydra, this clip includes performances  of Who By Fire, Bird On The Wire, So Long Marianne, Partisan, and Famous Blue Raincoat.

Video: Leonard Cohen Summarizes His Introduction To Hydra, Greece

These excerpts from the BBC documentary offer a succinct view of Leonard’s embrace of Hydra

The Saga Of The Leonard Cohen 80th Birthday Bench On Hydra

Update: Finale Of Three-Year Saga: The Leonard Cohen 80th Birthday Bench On Hyra

Help Buy Leonard Cohen A New Bench For His 80th Birthday

In 2014, 1HeckOfAGuy.com (Cohencentric’s predecessor) joined with LeonardCohenForum and Speaking Cohen in a campaign to commemorate Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday by gathering funds for a bench on Hydra, Greece (see Fans Celebrating Leonard Cohen’s 80th Birthday – Pledges For Bench On Hydra). At that time, the 1HeckOfAGuy.com post pointed out that

An appropriate site has been selected and architectural plans drawn up. Now, the fundraising has begun.

bench1

The means by which to make a contribution as well as a description of the project, photos and videos of the site, a rundown on the costs, and an explanation of the significance of Hydra to Leonard Cohen can be found at

Of course, there is always the risk that the fundraising campaign will fall short. Consequently, DrHGuy devised a fallback plan, should that dire fate befall the project.

It turns out that raising the money was the easy step. The goal was quickly met and exceeded. Since then, however, the local and national bureaucracies responsible for monuments on Hydra have stymied the construction of the bench.

June 2015: The Stealth Bench

bench2Russian Intelligence (in the person of Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner) reports from Hydra that recently arrived Dutch and Irish agents have surreptitiously deployed this stealth bench, constructed of exotic materials and embedded with sophisticated cloaking technology to create the illusion to the naked eye and in photographs that the massive facility is little more than a board and a couple of stones.  For the full story, check out

June 2017: Bench Construction

While I’ve seen no indication that governmental obstacles have been officially overcome, this photo, taken June 4, 2017 by Caren & Hans Kloss, of the Leonard Cohen bench under construction is certainly heartening.

Credit Due Department: The iconic photo atop this post was taken by Dominique Issermann. Thanks to Roman Gavrilin, who shot the stealth bench photo and to Caren & Hans Kloss, who shot the photo of the Leonard Cohen bench under construction.

Leonard Cohen Had A Thing For The Australians On Hydra

hydra-Marie-louise-Guillard
quoteup2
The Australians [on Hydra] drank more than other people, they wrote more, they got sick more, they got well more, they cursed more, they blessed more, and they helped a great deal more. They were an inspiration.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen George Johnston Charmian Clift On Hydra. Hydra photo by Marie-louise Guillard. Originally posted September 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Listen To Leonard Cohen Talk About Phases Of His Career, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Humor, Women, Greece, Sports … 1988

619px-Leonard_Cohen17bTopics include Leonard Cohen on

  • Touring
  • His love of Ray Charles’ music (“the best there is”)
  • His fascination with country music (and his part in the Buckskin Boys), flamenco guitar, cantorial music in synagogues, and Arabic music
  • His life in Greece
  • His “notable disasters in journalism,” including his interview with Glenn Gould
  • His attempted role as TV host based on his reputation as a “witty young poet.” (He was “wiped out” by guests who he saw as brighter and quicker, especially his first guest, a Borscht Belt comedian who wouldn’t let Leonard “get a word in edgewise.”)
  • Book of Mercy being written “when [his] back was against the wall]
  • His relationship with Roshi: “Cohen, I’ve known you 18 years. I never tried to give you my religion – just pour you saki”
  • Elvis Presley, who was “next to Ray Charles’ in the group of “impeccable America singers” (Leonard also notes that Presley’s movies were his personal “Seven stations of the cross”)
  • The public’s preference for an artist’s older material
  • Setting First We Take Manhattan “to a kind of Sergio Leone Clint Eastwood soundtrack”
  • Ain’t No Cure for Love as an especially poignant song
  • “I don’t know any men who aren’t interested in women.”
  • His family’s preference hat he go into law or the family business ad his leaving law school because of his “burning desire to be a writer.”
  • Montreal School Of Poetry
  • His contention that the “real energy today” is in sports, not music
  • His admiration of “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joaquín Rodrigo and “Je ne regrette rien” By Edith Piaf
  • His self-characterization as “not good father but a loving father”
  • His homes in Greece, Montreal, and Las Angeles and his preference for residences in the “less prosperous parts of town” with white rooms and little on the walls.
  • Growing old

From YouTube Description:

Gill Pyrah talks on The Night is Young to Leonard Cohen, in London as part of his European tour. On his background in Canada and early careers in poetry, writing, journalism and TV interviewing and years spent in Greece; touring and his concert in London; views of him and his music; whether he is a ladies’ man; his children; his painting. His musical choices are edited out. This is pretty rare so be sure to snatch/keep and disseminate since you wont find it anywhere else. The 1988 Leonard Cohen talks about women drugs, women again, booze and music and poetry.

 

Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Roland Godefroy – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia