Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench – Report #2

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Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench as it appears to naked eye & in photographs

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Actual Leonard Cohen Hydra Bench with Stealth technology deactivated

Soon after the first Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench1 report from Roman Gavrilin (aka Hermitage Prisoner) appeared, Cohencentric received this communique from Joy Ezekiel, another Cohenite agent currently on Hydra.

Now 24 hours after the planting of the stealth bench it can revealed that it was an English led operation. As a strategic and blame avoidance scheme, a mixed bag of Europeans were filmed near the site. Politicians from Netherlands and Ireland are seeing it as a blatant fueling of fire over Britain’s threat to referendum their continued inclusion on the European Union. The value of the pound against the Euro is expected to rise sharply when markets open on Monday.

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Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench (occupied) as it appears to naked eye & in photographs

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Actual Leonard Cohen Hydra Bench (occupied) with Stealth technology deactivated

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post and photo immediately below text by Marie Nolan
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  1. As many Cohenites know, the proposed Leonard Cohen Hydra bench project, undertaken in commemoration of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday, has been placed on hold due to objections from a local homeowner. Now, however, a 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, has been deployed. []

Hydra in early 1970s: Disco, Orgies & “Weekly Poker Games With Regular Attendance By Leonard Cohen”

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Hydra had its heyday, and people talk about it with an almost tragic nostalgia. Victoria Zevgolis now has a gravelly voice, but in the early 70s she was a young woman in Hydra, when the real decadence was just starting up. She came to the island on a whim and fell into the circle of Alexi Bolens, a superbly handsome retired diamond smuggler and mercenary whose fortune waned and waxed with his gambling luck. It was said he smuggled arms, but Zevgolis never believed it.

In his Hydra circle-an ever-changing mix of industrialists, artists, models, and assorted royalty-you lived a variation of the high life. Zevgolis remembers getting up shortly before noon, wandering down to the port with a dozen or so friends to hire a sea taxi to a deserted beach for the afternoon, away from the tourists. They rarely wore bathing suits. Back at the harbor by 4 p.m. to buy yogurt from the nuns who had hiked down from the mountain convent, Victoria et al would sit in a cafe, eat their yogurt, and drink ice tea. Then they’d take a swim in Alexi’s pool (which he won in a poker game) to wash off the salt water and go take a nap. In the evening there would be drinks, followed by dinner for at least a dozen around the table, “and then the big decision was, would we put in an appearance at the disco. You’d never dare to show your face before 2 a.m.” If you did go, the evening would wind down around 6 a.m. with warm milk in a port cafe.

There were orgies (“although we didn’t call them that; we called them ‘partout,'” says Zevgolis), and then there were weekly poker games with regular attendance by musician Leonard Cohen and artists Brice Marden.

Excerpted from Hydra’s Uncertain Turn from Cosmopolitanism to Solitude (Odyssey: Issue #43, September/October 2000) posted February 10, 2007 at Hydraecoloists:

Ira Nadel in Various Positions also reports Cohen (as well as George Johnston and other artists) playing in the “legendary poker games” organized by Alexis Bolens, “a wealthy Swiss bon vivant.”

Video: Victoria Zevgolis & Charmaine Dunn Visit Four Corners & Leonard Cohen’s House Hydra: September, 2005

Victoria Zevgolis is featured in the excerpt above. Charmaine Dunn is the daughter of Ann Dunn who founded Matador, the Toronto club where Leonard Cohen hung out and where the official video for “Closing Time” was filmed.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Herbert Ortner, Vienna, Austria (own image, scan from slide) [GFDL, CC BY 3.0 or CC BY 3.0 at], via Wikimedia Commons

Note: Originally posted Aug 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench

bench2As many Cohenites know, the proposed Leonard Cohen Hydra bench project, undertaken in commemoration of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday, has been placed on hold due to objections from a local homeowner. Now, however, Russian 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.

Update: See Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench – Report #2

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Leonard Cohen’s Finest Memory Of Hydra: “Just that feeling of being grown up, with somebody beautiful that you’re happy to be beside and all the world is in front of you.”


What is your finest memory from Greece, from Hydra?

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I remember Marianne and I were in a hotel in Piraeus, some inexpensive hotel and we were both about 25, and we had to catch the boat back to Hydra, and we got up and I guess we had a cup of coffee or something and got a taxi, and I’ve never forgotten this. Nothing happened, just sitting in the back of the taxi with Marianne, I lit a cigarette, a Greek cigarette that had that delicious deep flavor of a Greek cigarette, that has a lot of Turkish tobacco in it, and I’m thinking, I’m an adult. You know. I have a life of my own, I’m an adult, I’m with this beautiful woman, we have a little money in our pocket, we’re going back to Hydra, we’re passing these painted walls. That feeling I think I’ve tried to recreate it hundreds of times unsuccessfully. Just that feeling of being grown up, with somebody beautiful that you’re happy to be beside and all the world is in front of you.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From  Interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 for Norwegian Radio. Accessed 12 June 2015 at LeonardCohenFiles

In Situ Signs Of Leonard Cohen At Hydra Harbor: Leonard Cohen Tribute – Hydra June 13, 2015

poster3About the Tribute:

The Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 21.30 Hydra celebrates the great artist Leonard Cohen with an event taking place at the Port. The event was organized by the Municipality of Hydra in celebration of Miaouleia 2015 in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy and international clubs Friends of Leonard Cohen.

Excerpt via Google Translate from Η Ύδρα τιμά τον Leonard Cohen by Spilios Spiliotis (Hydra News: June 5, 2015)

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Peter Torbijn of the Netherlands, who took these photos, and to his son Lennard Torbijn, who forwarded them our way.

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The online version of the poster can be viewed below:
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“Does danger cure?” Leonard Cohen (& Marianne) Mail Postcard From Hydra 1965

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Dear Friends … All Good Things, Leonard

My routine cyber-rounds turned up this small gem – a postcard written from Leonard Cohen from Hydra on Jan 20, 1965 to his neighbor, Wallis, then residing in London. While there is no ground-breaking revelation contained in the message (unless Leonard was using invisible ink or a secure code to transmit information covertly) the style itself is impressive enough to warrant posting:

How many postcards1 have you received that included phrases such as these:

Faces of  Dimitris & Carolina filled with strange lost / found grace

Does danger cure?

And it’s somehow heartening to find that in 1965 Leonard Cohen wrote that it was

good to learn that work (good or bad) makes me happiest

Front Of Card

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Identifications

I can offer readers a few annotations:

“Redmond” Frankton Wallis (1933-2006) was a novelist (Point Of Origin) from New Zealand who lived in London and Hydra at various times during the 1960s.

“Dimitris & Carolina” are Demetris Gassoumis and Carolina identified in this photo from  Lagoudera – The Golden Age of Hydra 1959-1967.

hydrapix “Steve” is almost certainly Steve Sanfield, a close friend of Cohen since they met on Hydra more than 50 years ago. A brief biography of Sanfield can be found at Warrior Poets.

Sanfield was the first American student of Zen teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who is the “guru in Calif.” In 1969, Cohen served as best man for Sanfield at a wedding officiated by Joshu Sasaki Rosi. Sanfield is also featured in Other Writers, a poem by Leonard Cohen from Book Of Longing:

Steve Sanfield is a great haiku master.
He lives in the country with Sarah,
his beautiful wife,
and he writes about the small things
which stand for all things.

The postcard is archived at the National Library of New Zealand – Wellington. I found it posted Jan 4, 2014 at Adelphe

Credit Due Department: The photo and caption identifying Demetris Gassoumis and Carolina were found by Sophia Koutselini. Peter Torbijn from the Netherlands identified the front of the card as a match for the back.

Note: Originally posted Jan 4, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Yeah, I know, I haven’t received a personal postcard  in a decade either. Feel free to substitute “email” or “IM” if that helps. []