“I won’t say anything about my relation to the stage and the audience. I never talk publicly about my intimate relationships.” Elegant Photos & Words From 2012 Paris Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Press Conference

Leonard Cohen Presents

The perpetually dapper and debonair Leonard Cohen was in his element at the Jan 16, 2012 Old Ideas press conference held at the elite, elegant Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.

Cohen’s responses to the queries at the press conference were, as one would expect, predominantly based on his classical forms.

He opened, for example, with a reflex genuflection to the country of the venue (for the record, Leonard Cohen has also presented his credentials for a special relationship with Canada, Ireland,  Spain, and several other countries.). Asked if he had a special relationship with France, Cohen responded

I always believed that the tradition in which I speak, the song was particularly well understood here in France.1

Similarly, he again attributed the remission of his many years of depression to the notion that with old age, one loses a certain kind of brain cells responsible for causing anxiety,  he once more  explained the difference between clinical depression and ordinary disappointment, and revealed, for the 30th time, his passion for flamenco.

Dominique Issermann

There was, however, a bit of new material.

The album is called Old Ideas. These are just eternal themes that I have always been treated and that affect us all. Ordinary, everyday questions, nothing more.2

Probably the most significant new expression from the press conference has to do with the inclusion of blues songs on the album:

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  1. Nouvel album de Leonard Cohen: un très bon cru by Olivier Nuc. Le Figaro. Jan 17, 2012 []
  2. Les bonnes vieilles idées de Leonard Cohen by Hugo Cassavetti (Telerama: Jan 16, 2012) via Google Translate. []

Q: What was your feeling when you arrived in London? Leonard Cohen: “London welcomes another great writer! There was Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Kelly, Shelley, Keats & now there is me! [Laughs]”

leonard_cohen_at_mrs_pullmans_boarding_house_in_hampstead_1960-scaled1000

What was your feeling when you arrived in London?

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London welcomes another great writer! [Laughs] There was Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Kelly, Shelley, Keats and now there is me! [Laughs] Here I am! Living my little life, creating my masterpiece. That’s more or less the feeling I had. I went to Dublin thinking ‘Dublin, say hello to another great Irish author.’ I wrote a play in Dublin and went to the same taverns as Yeats. In London, I could not find the nightlife, except in a Caribbean club called The Allnighter, with very good music, lots of grass, and dancing. My friend Nancy Bacal, a childhood friend from Montreal, knew the city and took me there. She was dating a disciple of Malcolm X, Michael X, who later founded the Black Muslim movement in London. He told me that he was going back to Trinidad to seize power and wanted me to be part of his government. [Laughs] I said ‘Listen, Michael, you’re going to install a black nationalist government. How could I be part of it?’ He said to me: ‘Permanent Advisor to the Ministry of Tourism.’ [Laughs]quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

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

Also see Leonard Cohen At Mrs Pullman’s Boarding House – Hampstead, London 1960 and photos of that location at Stella Pullman’s boardinghouse at 19b Hampstead High Street, London.

“With Hydra, it was love at first sight. The people, the architecture,the sky, the mules, the smell, the life. Everything you looked at was beautiful.” Leonard Cohen

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What made you stay there [on Hydra]?

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For one thing, economic reasons: I had little money. Renting the house cost me $14 a month. As for the climate, I had never been in a warm place, I did not know what the Mediterranean climate looked like, it was a delightful surprise. In England, everything is very humid, the beds are wet at night, that’s why women are so strong! (Laughs). The first night Mrs. Pullman gave me a kettle. Why? Undo your bed and you’ll know why (laughs)? With Hydra, it was love at first sight. The people, the architecture,the sky, the mules, the smell, the life. Everything you looked at was beautiful, every corner, every lamp, everything you touched, everything you used was in its proper place. The relationship with the water: there was no running water, you had to catch the water drop by drop, so you knew every drop. You knew everything you used, every time you lit the lamp, you knew that you would have to fill it and clean it the next day. The things you used were rich. It was a very nice feeling. It was more animated than any city, much more cosmopolitan. There were Germans, Scandinavians, Australians, Americans, Dutch who you would run into in very intimate settings like the back of grocery stores.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

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

“I remember laying on a rock after I’d been [in Greece] two months and feeling some interior sliver of ice melt from inside my bones.” Leonard Cohen

hydrascrn

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There are many things about Greece; the most important is the climate. I came from Montreal, I had never been warm before. I remember laying on a rock after I’d been there two months and feeling some interior sliver of ice melt from inside my bones. I thought, God…the universe is benign. I was drawn mostly by the sun.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough” by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

“The beautiful thing about Montreal was nobody owned the city. Everyone was an honored guest.” Leonard Cohen

Quote from Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner. Look: June 10, 1969. Originally posted Feb 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Greece] was the first place where I realized what the difference between north and south was. I was there two months and I was lying on a rock. I felt a little shiver. It was the last sliver of ice melting from inside a bone. I was finally warm.” Leonard Cohen

hydra-Marie-louise-Guillard
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My interior landscape stays pretty much the same. If you could change how your felt by where you went, it would be a very nice idea. Greece is the one place where you can. That blast of sunlight does it. It was the first place where I realized what the difference between north and south was. I was there two months and I was lying on a rock. I felt a little shiver. It was the last sliver of ice melting from inside a bone. I was finally warm.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Poems Court The Universe by Mary Campbell (AP: 1968). Photo of Hydra by Marie-louise Guillard. Originally posted July 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Refutes Notion Of “Famous British Reserve”

What about that Famous British Reserve that artists tell us is so inhibiting?

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An audience in Antwerp is more reserved than an audience in London. Everyone knows that the British are really passionate – the cover has been blown! This idea of British reserve and rigidity – I don’t know who invented it. Perhaps the French!quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017. Photo from June 21, 2013 Leonard Cohen London show by Eugene McLaughlin.

Leonard Cohen Bonds With Helsinki Audience Over Hockey Losses – 1988


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Thank you very much, friends. It’s very nice to be here. I’m sorry that the concert was delayed one night and that you lost the hockey game. The Montreal Canadians just lost a hockey game, too, so I’m in deep sympathy with all of youquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s introductory words to the audience at his April 28, 1988 concert at Jaahalli in Helsinki, Finland. Originally posted Nov 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric