Leonard Cohen’s Bagpipe Museum Reference At 1972 Newcastle Concert


The only specific part of the concert I recall [other than the music] were Leonard`s first words to the audience, ‘It’s nice to be in Newcastle, the only city that has a bagpipe museum.’ There was no reaction from the crowd – so he repeated the line. This time it received a warm and enthusiastic response!quotedown2


John Corless, in response to my question about what he recalled about the March 22, 1972 Leonard Cohen concert at City Hall in Newcastle.

Leonard Cohen’s concerts have often included a recognizable local reference.1 His onstage banter has been studded, for example, with shout-outs to poets who lived or worked in the area as well as allusions to indigenous foods and animals (e.g., New Zealand’s Colossal Squid), geographical and architectural landmarks, local politics, and his own residences in London, Greece, and Montreal.

I am especially fond of the bagpipe museum reference, perhaps because it demonstrates a trait the Canadian singer-songwriter and I share – neither of us (apparently) considers the audience’s failure to recognize a great line as a reason to give up on it. It’s a matter of artistic integrity.

There was indeed a Bagpipe Museum, comprising the bagpipe collection of William Alfred Cocks (1892 – 1971), a clockmaker, housed at the Black Gate, Newcastle upon Tyne, at the time of the concert. In 1986, however, the collection was loaned to Castle Morpeth Borough Council and is now located in Morpeth’s medieval Chantry buildings.2

Bonus: The Newcastle Concert Review & Leonard Cohen Interview

mother-grumble-1972-lc-interview-scaled500In researching the concert, I came across a review of the show and an interview with Leonard Cohen I had not previously seen. Highlights and links to the original article are found at Leonard Cohen “This is probably my last tour”

Credit Due Department: The story about the bagpipe museum opening was contributed by John Corless

Note: Originally posted Mar 24, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. See Local References By Leonard Cohen for more posts on this topic. []
  2. Source: Friends of the Bagpipe Museum []

Leonard Cohen & Yeats: The 2010 Lissadell House, Sligo Concerts


Leonard Cohen Transcendent In Sligo

Leonard Cohen and his troupe reliably perform great concerts throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. In Ireland, however, Leonard Cohen offers something more akin to a religious experience.


Lissadell House, Sligo

That was true in 2008 and 2009 at rather ordinary or even sub-par venues; a transcendent event was inevitable when Leonard Cohen performed on the grounds of the legendary Lissadell House in Sligo, Ireland, where Yeats stayed when he visited the Gore-Booth sisters. Cohen, you see, has long professed to being an ardent admirer of Yeats – the foremost poet in a land of poets.


Sage On Stage – Photo by Paterick Comerford

That vertex of artistry and culture has generated similarly poetic responses. Consider the opening of Patrick Comerford’s description of the Lissadell House concert at A night of poetry and song with Leonard Cohen in Lissadell:

There was a Mediterranean atmosphere at Lissadell House last night. Although the rain was eventually coming down in buckets, and the grounds became a mud bath, that took nothing away from the atmosphere, or from the attitude of the 10,000 people who had come to hear Leonard Cohen in concert.

It was a night of poetry and music beneath the slopes of Ben Bulben and on the shores of the Atlantic, and it lasted until midnight.

Continue Reading →

Leonard Cohen Local References Trading Cards – Collect Them, Trade Them With Your Friends

Card #1: Victoria, BC – Seagull Visits Leonard Cohen’s Hotel


Leonard Cohen Local References Trading Card #1 (front)

Regional Allusions Featured In Leonard Cohen Concert Stage Banter

When I asked Coco Éclair if there were any features at the March 6, 2013 Leonard Cohen  Victoria concert she attended, she responded that there were no new songs, acrobatics, or such, but there was a bit of stage banter about one of Victoria’s ubiquitous seagulls visiting Cohen’s windowsill, which was, as Ms Éclair parenthetically noted, “one of those ‘specific to the city where he is playing’ jokes.”

Indeed, the Canadian singer-songwriter’s stage presentation often includes a recognizable local reference to a specific location. Some, for example, have been to poets who lived or worked in the area, some to local customs  (e.g., locking a padlock on Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne), some to local foods…  In Victoria’s case, the allusion was to a bird – one on a windowsill rather than a wire.

It struck me that Mr Cohen’s seagull returning to that hotel in Victoria whenever he’s in town is just as notable as a batch of swallows vacationing every year in Capistrano and, certainly worth commemorating.  Thus was born …

The New & Improved Leonard Cohen Local References Trading Card

And #1 in the Leonard Cohen Local References Trading Card series honors that seagull that recurrently visits Leonard Cohen’s hotel whenever he plays Victoria.

Note: The seagull photo used for this card was found on the Webb Sisters” Facebook page. While it does depict a seagull on a windowsill of the hotel at which Leonard Cohen and his troupe resided during their stay in Victoria, there is no evidence this  specific bird is Leonard Cohen’s guardian seagull.  No animals or Canadian singer-songwriter-icons were harmed in the production of this trading card.

So, buy them, sell them, collect them all, trade them with your friends, play them, put them in the spokes of your bike …


Leonard Cohen Local References Trading Card #1 (back)

Text on back of card:

March 6, 2013: Leonard Cohen tells the Victoria Concert audience that whenever he comes to Victoria a seagull visits his hotel window. Further, he knows it is the same seagull each time because it is white with some grey. He goes on to say he fed the bird his breakfast – first his toast, then his eggs, then his iPad.

Note: Originally posted March 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Places Love Lock On Cologne’s Hohenzollern Bridge – 2009


Leonard Cohen Crosses That Hohenzollern Bridge When He Comes To It

Leonard Cohen’s concerts often include a recognizable local reference.1 His stage comments have, for example, sometimes been studded with shout-outs to poets who lived or worked in the area. He has mentioned indigenous foods and animals (e.g., New Zealand’s Colossal Squid); his own residences in London, Greece, and Montreal; geographical and architectural landmarks; and local politics.  And, in his introduction to “Anthem” during his July 1, 2009 concert in Cologne, Leonard Cohen reports to the audience that he had taken part in the ritual of placing a padlock on the Hohenzollern Bridge and throwing the key in the river.

Leonard Talks
Cologne: July 1, 2009

Love Padlocks

Love padlocks have become a ritual in many locations. The custom is for sweethearts to affix padlocks to a fence or similar public fixture to symbolize their love, a tradition which perhaps began in the 1980s in Pécs: Continue Reading →

  1. See Local References By Leonard Cohen for more posts on this topic. []

In New Zealand, Leonard Cohen Sings, Refers To Colossal Squid & A Blog

Leonard Cohen And The Colossal Squid

At the Oct 31, 2010 Wellington show, Leonard Cohen added a bit of local color to his stage banter. According to a LeonardCohenForum post by dce,

Just before he played Chelsea Hotel, LC spoke to the audience saying how great it was to be back in Wellington. He said, however, that there was one disturbing item that he hastened to relate … “The Colossal Squid”, he said, “isn’t dead. It’s just sleeping … waiting to get out.”

The well-received reference was to the Colossal Squid (aka Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni), which is, by the way, the world’s largest known invertebrate,1 recently captured near New Zealand.

The Colossal Squid is only one specimen of Leonard referencing local phenomena at his shows. More examples of can be accessed at the link.

The Wellington concert thus becomes the the only Leonard Cohen show with a documented reference to an invertebrate since a momentary memory lapse during an Oslo concert resulted in Cohen improvising “Spotted Spiny Lobster On The Wire.”

The Sexy At 76 Blog Query

Even rarer than a Leonard Cohen reference to invertebrates are his onstage references to blogs, but one of did occur at the October 28, 2010 Auckland concert. Another LeonardCohenForum post also written by dce notes,

Before reciting the poem [A Thousand Kisses Deep], LC spoke briefly about having recently read a blog on the topic “can a man of 76 be sexy”.

He said he particularly liked one comment which said “yes, but in a repulsive way”.

neo, also a Forum member, tracked down the specific post to a site named Soulpancake, which describes itself as “a place to speak your mind, unload your questions, and figure out what it means to be human.” The question proffered follows:

Do you think that Leonard Cohen at the age of 76 is still sexy?

The precise answer, which Cohen approximated was

Yes..in a revolting kind of way.

I’m away for two or three days, and Leonard Cohen quotes some other blog?


I’ll get over it, but I gotta admit it has me rethinking our BFF status.

And Leonard Cohen Sang

Although the Kiwis have not been overwhelming YouTube with uploads, there are videos worth viewing, two of which are embedded below.

Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat
Auckland: Oct 20, 2010
Video from PinderTwins

Leonard Cohen – The Darkness
Auckland: Oct 20, 2010
Video from TheLadyLilley

Credit Due Department: Graphic atop this post by Mike Goren from New York – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons


  1. Wikipedia []