“I felt no culture shock, on the contrary, I felt that everywhere else I’d been was culture shock, and this was home. I felt very very much at ease in Hydra … Every corner, every vision – just looking at the corner of your eye – whatever you saw, whatever you felt, whatever you held was beautiful” Leonard Cohen On First Landing On Hydra In 1960

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I felt no culture shock, on the contrary, I felt that everywhere else I’d been was culture shock, and this was home. I felt very very much at ease in Hydra … Every corner, every vision – just looking at the corner of your eye – whatever you saw, whatever you felt, whatever you held was beautiful, and you didn’t have to say those words to yourself, it was just…when you picked up a cup you knew by the way that it fitted into your hand that it was the cup that you always had been looking for. And the table that you sat at, that was the table that you wanted to lean on, and the wine, that was ten cents a gallon, was the wine that you wanted to drink, the price you wanted to pay.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Quote is from Leonard Looks Back On The Past. Interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. Accessed 25 June 2014 at LeonardCohenFiles. Originally posted June 25, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Photos: Leonard Cohen’s Hydra Home & Haunts

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Leonard Cohen’s Home – Hydra, Greece

I’m posting a few of the photos Mel Joss sent from her 2014 trip to Hydra in the belief that fans may enjoy seeing some of the places Leonard Cohen and Marianne frequented during the 1960s when they lived on the island. At the time of Mel’s visit, Leonard Cohen’s home was occupied by his son, Adam, and his grandson, Cass. From these shots, it appears that Hydra today has retained much of its charm that led so many artists to its shores 50 years ago.

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

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs So Long Marianne & Talks About Money, Music, Motivation In 1979

Leonard Cohen Sings So Long Marianne; Irving Layton Reads Death Of A Lady’s Man; Marianne Is Haunting

This clip from Harry Rasky’s “The Song Of Leonard Cohen”1 opens with Cohen’s friend, Irving Layton, reading the younger poet’s “Death Of A Lady’s Man”2 and then segues into a particularly wrenching performance of “So Long Marianne” with many photos of Leonard Cohen and Marianne interspersed throughout the song. Finally, Leonard Cohen responds to a query about the motivation for his music, speaking ruefully about exchanging his beatific life in Hydra for “dark hotel rooms” because “the song seized me and the appetite for reaching many people seized me.”

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Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne With Poem 1979
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Note: Originally posted May 11, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. “The Song Of Leonard Cohen” was produced in 1980. The performances shown here took  place during the 1979 Field Commander Cohen Tour that was the subject matter of Rasky’s film. []
  2. Death Of A Lady’s Man by Leonard Cohen

    The man she wanted all her life
    was hanging by a thread.
    “I never knew how much
    I wanted you,” she said.
    His muscles they were numbered
    and his style was obsolete.
    “O baby, I have come too late.”
    She knelt beside his feet.

    “I’ll never see a face like yours
    in years of men to come,
    I’ll never see such arms again
    in wrestling or in love.”
    And all his virtues burning
    in the smoky holocaust,
    she took unto herself
    most everything her lover lost.

    Now the master of this landscape
    he was standing at the view
    with a sparrow of St. Francis
    that he was preaching to.
    She beckoned to the sentry
    of his high religious mood.
    She said, “I’ll make a space between my legs,
    I’ll teach you solitude.”

    He offered her an orgy
    in a many-mirrored room;
    he promised her protection
    for the issue of her womb.
    She moved her body hard
    against a sharpened metal spoon,
    she stopped the bloody rituals
    of passage to the moon.

    She took his much-admired
    oriental frame of mind,
    and the heart-of-darkness alibi
    his money hides behind.
    She took his blonde Madonna
    And his monastery wine.
    “This mental space is occupied
    and everything is mine.”

    He tried to make a final stand
    beside the railway track.
    She said, “The art of longing is over
    and it’s never coming back.”
    She took his tavern parliament,
    his cap, his cocky dance;
    she mocked his female fashions
    and his working-class moustache.

    The last time I saw him
    he was trying hard to get
    a woman’s education
    but he’s not a woman yet.
    And the last time that I saw her
    she was living with a boy
    who gives her soul an empty room
    and gives her body joy.

    So the great affair is over
    but whoever would have guessed
    it would leave us all so vacant
    and so deeply unimpressed.
    It’s like our visit to the moon
    or to that other star:
    I guess you go for nothing
    if you really want to go that far. []

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Poignant Recall Of Marianne & Hydra

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Leonard Cohen Reminisces About Hydra And Marianne

This video consists of many scenes of Hydra which frame two brief clips from different interviews with Cohen, both of which focus on him meeting Marianne and living together on the island, all set against the music of “So Long Marianne.”

While the amount of information provided is small,1 Leonard Cohen’s wistfulness is impressively conveyed, especially in the second section that ends with his summary,

I met a girl and I stayed for eight or ten years.

Yeah, that’s the way it was in those days.

I hold that the key to this video is Leonard Cohen’s facial expression when he speaks; it’s a delivery that strikingly belies his self-description, “I’m not a very nostalgic person.”2

Leonard on Marianne

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Note: Originally posted May 17, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. For more historic detail about the years Leonard Cohen shared with Marianne, see Leonard Looks Back On The Past, An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. []
  2. From the I’m Your Man documentary []

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: Hydra Pays Tribute To Leonard Cohen June 13, 2015

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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)

Is The House Next Door To Leonard Cohen’s Hydra Home For Sale?

hydrahouse1Mel Joss speculates, based on her visit to Hydra last year, details of the description, and the location near Four Corners, that a house listed for sale (see above photo) is very close, if not next door, to the Hydra home owned by Leonard Cohen.

Description of house for sale at For Sale – Leonards Garden, 4 Corners:

A beautifully presented three bedroomed house that embodies the Hydra aesthetic.

Close to 4 Corners, about a ten minute walk up from the port, this house is on a quiet corner with a high stone wall around a charming courtyard, ensuring complete privacy. The courtyard gives access to the house via the kitchen on the ground floor, and to a separate room that is currently used as a studio, but which could be a third bedroom, and which has large glazed doors that can be completely opened up in the summer.

Off the kitchen is a the winter living room with a lovely original stone floor and a cozy wood burning stove.

Steps lead up to a large sitting room on the first floor, and to two bedrooms, one of which has a private terrace. Off the sitting room is a second lovely private terrace.

This is a good sized house with loads of potential and is beautifully decorated with attention to detail throughout.

All white goods, cooker etc included in the sale, plus some furniture.

Mel writes

Check out this photo of the terrace [of the house for sale] … notice the white dome shaped building on the hilltop to the right and the red building in the middle.

hydrahousesaleThis is my photo of Leonard Cohen’s house.  His front door faces NW. See the white dome and the red building? Thus, the terrace of the house for sale also faces NW.

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The photo directly below is also mine. I ‘believe’ this is the side of Leonard Cohen’s house as I approached it, judging from the time capturing on my camera, but I honestly can’t swear to it.  It was taken only minutes from the ones by his front door. Compare it to the realtor’s photo underneath my photo…the same tree can be seen in the upper right of both shots.

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I can only conclude that the house for sale is extremely close to Leonard Cohen’s

Fans Celebrating Leonard Cohen’s 80th Birthday – Pledges For Bench On Hydra

bench1Leonard Cohen fans are organizing an effort to fund a bench on Hydra to commemorate Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday. An appropriate site has been found and architectural plans submitted. The essential step now is assuring that the cost of the project can be met by collecting pledges for contributions.

Pledges can be made at The Hydra Bench: Call for Pledges. Note: Pledges will be accepted for the next week only; at that time a decision to pursue or drop the project must be made.

A bench on the island where Leonard Cohen and Marianne lived for several years would be an excellent way to celebrate the 80th birthday of this musical icon. (The only negative I can come up with is that I wasn’t the one who thought of the idea; it originated at the Leonard Cohen Forum.) The Duchess & I will be making a pledge and I urge viewers to consider contributing.

A video (by Wijbe) of the projected location of the bench can be viewed at The Bench Project.

The discussion about the commemorative bench, including its cost and alternatives considered, is at How to celebrate Leonard’s 80th birthday

Note: Originally posted July 27, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric