“I feel most comfortable and most abundant when things are very simple and I know where everything is and there’s nothing around that I don’t need.” Leonard Cohen

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Radio Interview by Vicki Gabereau. Interview: May 1984; Broadcast: Sept 6, 1984. Variety Tonight, CBC.  Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen by Jeff Burger (Chicago Review Press: April 1, 2014)

Leonard Cohen On The English Origins Of His Famous Blue Burberry Raincoat & Olivetti Typewriter

Is it during this time [in London] that you bought your raincoat, made famous by your song Famous Blue Raincoat?

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Yes, in England, we needed a raincoat [laughs]. The day I arrived in London, I bought my Olivetti typewriter and my raincoat: I was equipped for my life in London. I kept my raincoat for years until I was stolen in 1968. A good coat, a Burberry.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Also see Leonard Cohen & His Prized Olivetti Lettera 22 Typewriter.

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

“I try to live simply, but it’s not a virtue, it’s my pleasure not to have too many things. Because if you have a lot of things, you have to take care of it and I do not like that… Living simply is a great luxury.” Leonard Cohen

Do you feel that it is a luxury to live in your own way, detached from material things?

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I am not detached from material worries, nobody can be. I have a family to support, I have friends, I have keyboards that are expensive, I have to pay the rental of my car. I am not at all detached from material things. They do not obsess me. I try to live simply, but it’s not a virtue, it’s my pleasure not to have too many things. Because if you have a lot of things, you have to take care of it and I do not like that. So I like to have as little as possible, I already have too many things here. Living simply is a great luxury.  It’s true it takes a lot of money for that. You know, my last album sold well, but the previous ones were not selling, I always had to fight, always had financial concerns. But I had a very privileged life, I was very lucky, I do not deny it. I was able to do my job and get paid for it. It is a great luxury. I can not complain about being able to lead the life that is mine. I see that there are people who work so hard, people who work in mines in Bolivia and are not as well paid as me. I work as many hours as they do but I am much better paid. In our society, people are not encouraged to work so hard. I would really rather not work that way.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

Leonard Cohen’s Style – Likes Suits, Doesn’t Like Shopping

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Interviewer: Did you always dress this well? Or is it something you’ve developed?”

Leonard Cohen: “No, I always wore a suit, pretty much. I grew up before blue jeans hit. I always felt better in a jacket.”

Interviewer: “So you put on a jacket even if you’re not going out?”

Leonard Cohen: “Especially if I’m not going out.”

Evidently, wearing a jacket and tie was a matter of discipline, a poet’s version of a uniform. The jacket, which was purchased at a thrift store on Fairfax, cost $7, and most of Cohen’s suits are years, sometimes decades old. “I don’t like shopping,” he explained, showing me a threadbare Armani in his closet. Next to it was another jacket with a small gold badge on the lapel. The badge said: Canadian Border Patrol.

From Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001. Photo by Michael Donald.

“It’s in what they call a slum, not a fashionable slum like Greenwich Village.” Leonard Cohen Talks About “Our House In Montreal”

How do you live now? What style and mode of luxury do you allow yourself?

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It would be hard to describe our house1 in Montréal without seeming that I was being pretentious, on the side of modesty. We live in an extremely small house… [The neighborhood] is one I always liked. It’s in the East End of town, on a Portuguese working class street. Our house is about the size of this room, I would say. There are one and a half levels. It’s very crowded, and I’ve just given my studio over to the babies. I’ll have to get a little apartment across the street. It’s really a beautiful place, and we have a garden. But you should come up and see it. It’s like living in the country in the middle of the city. It’s in what they call a slum, not a fashionable slum like Greenwich Village. But now there’s another writer on the street… [The neighborhood is] safe, that’s the thing. Like the little child Adam runs on the street and goes into the neighbors’ houses. The doors are open, and the children come into our house. You know, if you can stand that sort of thing, it’s extremely nice… I’ve always lived like that. My own personal style of living has changed very very little. I don’t know what I would do otherwise, what would one do?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. Dec 5, 1974.

Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: The best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks

Credit Due Department: This outstanding interview was discovered and contributed by Jugurtha Harchaoui. Photo taken by and posted with the permission of Lilian Graziani.
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  1. “Our” refers to Leonard and Suzanne Elrod along with their children, Adam & Lorca []

“What suits me is a more modest style than generally could be discovered in a first class hotel where so much is based on the good graces of the people around you being purchased” Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen’s room at the Chelsea Hotel

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Someone said ‘If riches assist thee acquire riches, if poverty assist thee seek poverty.’ There are many styles of life, I don’t think one is better than another, it’s just that what suits me is a more modest style than generally could be discovered in a first class hotel where so much is based on the good graces of the people around you being purchased.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Complexities And Mr. Cohen” by Billy Walker (Sounds, March 4, 1972). Found at LeonardCohenFiles.  Photo of Leonard Cohen’s room by Mel Joss. Originally posted at Dec 10, 2014 DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“I love hotels to which, at 4 AM, you can bring along a midget, a bear & 4 ladies, drag them to your room & no one cares” Leonard Cohen On The Chelsea Hotel

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[The Chelsea] is one of those hotels that have everything that I love so well about hotels. I love hotels to which, at four a.m., you can bring along a midget, a bear and four ladies, drag them to your room and no one cares about it at all.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Blogging From the Hotel Chelsea by Jem Carlson (Gothamist: Apr 12, 2006). Photo by Historystuff2 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons