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.

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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

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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

Adam Cohen’s “We Go Home” Mini-documentary Offers Window Onto Leonard Cohen’s Hydra & Montreal Homes

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Co-starring Cass Cohen

A video promotion for Adam Cohen’s “We Go Home” album focuses on recording sessions that took place in his father’s homes in Montreal and on Hydra and thus offers many views of these residences.

Also featured are several Hydra scenes (other than Cohen’s home) and appearances (including a speaking part) by Cass, Adam Cohen’s son and Leonard Cohen’s grandson.

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Adam Cohen – We Go Home – EPK

Note: Originally posted July 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Marianne, Hydra And Her Love Affair With Leonard Cohen – Now In English

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Marianne, Hydra And The Love Affair With Cohen

By Evangelia Avlonitou (Kathimerini: June 14, 2015)
Translated into English by Demetris Tsimperis

Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired the song «So Long Marianne» by Leonard Cohen and had a love affair with him during the years they lived in Hydra, is sitting opposite me in a cafe at the harbor of the island. She is beautiful, charming and humane, awaiting – a bit anxiously- my questions. I did not come with questions, I reassure her,  taking off my glasses. I came only with a bag and a book excerpt in my mind. She laughs, relieved. “How good” she says and sinks into her chair. I explain to her that the passage I am going to share with her is by a 87 year old Australian writer, Elizabeth Harrower.

Thermopylae

Harrower writes: “A woman may encounter at any time in her life, a concrete pyramid in the middle of the road. It is usually a man or more. The woman is capable of sitting there convinced that it is impossible to proceed until finally the pyramid becomes her personal Thermopylae. This obstacle may contribute to the perpetuation of the species, but its price is heavy. What makes men superior is that – most of them – don’t stop to function forever because of another human being. They lack this inherent disadvantage and they are lucky”. Marianne laughs loudly. “How true is this” she says taking off her dark glasses. “I climbed this pyramid, I fell down and then moved on”. We stay silent for a while. Me out of respect and she for her own reasons. The midday flying dolphin has just arrived at the port of Hydra and our silence is covered by the sounds of the crowd.

“I  saw the film ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ in a cinema in Oslo in the ’50s and I thought here’s a place that I will never go. And here I am,” she says, and what impresses me more than the coincidences of life, is that her eyes – blue of ice and sky – are so different from the eyes of most people today; warm and vivid, full of patience and gentle curiosity. “If I hadn’t met Dalai Lama in Norway in ’52 I would never have come here” she continues. “It was he who gave me the courage to leave my home and who first taught me the meaning of compassion; to accept, to overcome and to not criticize.”

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Leonard Cohen Describes His Home On Hydra

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My house [in Hydra] looked beautiful, and it looks exactly the same as it always did. It doesn’t have a great view. It’s a big house full of little rooms. Rooms about half the size of this kitchen. And just with old tables and chairs that people gave me, most things in that house were given to me by people who were moving up and could afford a better table, like the Johnsons, gave me the kitchen table because they made a little money and they bought a better table. And that’s what we would do for the new generations coming in. At first all my pots and pans were second generation, you know, and then you made a little money and you could buy your own pot and pan and you’d give your pot and pan to the next kid who was moving in. At that stage when I was living with Marianne, we didn’t have any money… Well, Axel had made a little money, so there were some things from his house that found their way into my house.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Also see

From Leonard Looks Back On The Past, an interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 (Unedited interview for the Norwegian Radio). Found at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Rauli Arjatsalo of The Leonard Cohen Files. Originally posted May 11, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric