“There’s been… a number of extremely boring artistic creations dealing with saving the forest. That creates a kind of totalitarian situation. You can’t live in those songs.” Leonard Cohen

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You know, nobody wants to destroy all the forests. There’s been a million — well, not a million, but a number of extremely boring artistic creations dealing with saving the forest. That creates a kind of totalitarian situation. You can’t live in those songs. You can’t really make love in those songs, or if you do there’s going to be something that is dangerously absent. If you want to write about the forest, say what I said: ‘Take the only tree that’s left and stuff it up the hole in your culture,’ That’s a good line about saving the forest. I haven’t read a better line than that.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993. Photo by Gerrit Terstiege.

“I alone among people saw [the collapse of the Berlin Wall] as a sinister event.” Leonard Cohen

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I alone among people saw [the collapse of the Berlin Wall] as a sinister event. I thought: ‘This is going to bring a lot of suffering with it.’ It’s just my gloomy and grim nature coming through.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Rebirth of a Ladies’ Man By Brendan Kelly. The Financial Post: December 12, 1992.
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“The Future would be pretty grim if I just nailed it up on the church door like Martin Luther. I mean it is a hot little track and you can dance to it. It’s gotta have that.” Leonard Cohen


 
From Rebirth of a Ladies’ Man By Brendan Kelly. The Financial Post: December 12, 1992.

Leonard Cohen Explains “The difference between the philosopher, the priest and the politician and what I do.”

Did you ever harbour hopes for the way the world would progress, that things might get better, more dignified, that we were looking to a brighter and better tomorrow?

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When you’re on the frontline in the battle for your own survival there are times when the fighting subsides and you can come up with some reflections one way or the other. But then the snipers start and the grenades are launched and you wonder how you’re going to acquit yourself honourably of the responsibilities that you’re engaged. That’s the difference between the philosopher, the priest and the politician and what I do. I don’t have to win a vote, I don’t have to establish a system that doesn’t contradict itself, I don’t have to have a clear vision, I don’t even have to have a vision. All I have to do is report things as accurately as I can from moment to moment.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Hello! I Must Be Cohen” By Gavin Martin (New Musical Express, January 9, 1993).

Leonard Cohen Talks About The Future Lyrics: “The little Jew who wrote the Bible”

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I don’t exactly know where that line [‘The little Jew who wrote the Bible’] comes from. I knew it was a good line when it came and it didn’t come to me casually, I really sweated over it. I know somehow that I’m in a tribe, not necessarily a Jewish tribe, but a human tribe through which deep perceptions are manifested. I’m not trying to get a job on that basis, get a religion or even promote myself on that basis, I just know that the things I feel are true.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Hello! I Must Be Cohen” By Gavin Martin (New Musical Express, January 9, 1993).

Leonard Cohen Elaborates On “Take the only tree that’s left And stuff it up the hole In your culture” From The Future

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
And stuff it up the hole
In your culture
Give me back the Berlin Wall
Give me Stalin and Saint Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother:
It is murder.

From The Future by Leonard Cohen

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Of course I affirm the people that are trying to save the forest and the environment but to me those are symptoms of something else. It’s an alibi to think you’re getting anywhere by doing that sort of thing. The self-righteousness and self-congratulations that go with it seems to suggest that you can’t write a song about the boredom of the rainforest, the boredom of the ozone, the boredom of recycling. Yeah, we’ve got to do all those things but let’s not ignore the fact that something is going down here. It’s like trying to tidy up on the Titanic. I wrote that song soon after the Wall came down — it had to be written. When the centre erodes and people can no longer find a centre they will seize on the most easily available form of identification. The most easily available identification is racial. We see that happening, there’s no way you can sit down and reason in that situation, reasoning depends on some sort of order. When it’s every man for himself the identification of race arises. I think those are very dangerous times. And that is the time we are in.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Hello! I Must Be Cohen” By Gavin Martin (New Musical Express, January 9, 1993).

“[‘The Future’] would be bleak if it wasn’t set to a hot dance track.” Leonard Cohen

From One on One: The Imprint Interviews by Leanna Crouch (Somerville House Publishing, 1994). Interview date November 19, 1992. Originally posted June 21, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If I’d just nailed this lyric [“The Future”] to the Church door, like Martin Luther, it might be a cause for some trembling and menace; but, the fact is, it’s married to a hot little dance track.” Leonard Cohen

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I mean, if I’d just nailed this lyric [The Future] to the Church door, like Martin Luther, it might be a cause for some trembling and menace; but, the fact is, it’s married to a hot little dance track. So, you’re going to dance your way through The Future. You’re going to dance your way through the whole record because the groove is honoured.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992. The transcript was prepared by Judith Fitzgerald. Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric