Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017.
It’s so curious because I couldn’t get a date. I couldn’t find anybody to have dinner with. By the time that first record came out, which rescued me, I was already in such a shattered situation that I found myself living at the Henry Hudson Hotel on West 57th Street, going to the Morningstar Cafe on 8th Ave, trying to find some way to approach the waitress and ask her out. I would get letters of longing from around the world, and I would find myself walking the streets of New York at three in the morning, trying to strike up conversations with the women selling cigarettes in hotels. I think it’s always like that. It’s never delivered to you.
From The Loneliness of The Long-Suffering Folkie By Wayne Robins (Newsday – Long Island, November 22, 1992.). Originally posted Sep 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Why do you think it is that when we fall in love, our mouths become dry and we shake and our hearts beat too loud and we’re fools?
Because we are awakening from the dream of isolation, from the dream of loneliness, and it’s a terrible shock, you know? It’s a delicious, terrible shock that none of us knows what to do with. Part of the shabbiness of our culture, if indeed it is shabby, is that it doesn’t seem to prepare people. With all the songs about love and all the movies and all the books, there doesn’t seem to be any way that we can prepare the human heart for this experience. Maybe we, the cultural workers like you and I, could apply ourselves. We’re not going to resolve it in this moment or even in this generation, but perhaps as some kind of agenda we could invite our writers and our cultural workers to address this problem a little bit more responsibly, because people are suffering tremendously from a want of data. The psychologists are valiantly trying to provide us with answers, the religious people are trying to provide us with answers. I think it properly falls on the cultural workers to investigate this predicament with a little less concern for the market place and a little more concern for their higher calling.
From Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Anjelica Huston. Interview magazine: November, 1995. Accessed at Remembering Leonard Cohen by Anjelica Huston (Interview: Nov 11, 2016). Photography Dana Lixenberg. Originally posted June 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Leonard’s advice for success with women was even more helpful: “Listen well,” he admonished me, in his husky intense voice, as he shared glasses of whiskey and stared at me with focused intent. “Then listen some more.” I nodded my head and he looked at me during a long, contemplative pause. “And when you think you are done listening, listen some more.”
From What I Learned from My Wise Uncle Leonard Cohen by Jonathan Greenberg (Sonoma Independent: November 14, 2016).
You say there is a war between men and women, now what do you mean?
I don’t have much to say about this war. We are not always in the aspect of warriors. I wrote a song that starts: ‘There is a war between the rich and poor, / A war between the man and the woman. / There is a war between the ones who say there is a war / And the ones who say there isn’t.’ …I am not a politician, and I don’t have to be bound by any aspect of any particular thing that I have treated. I’ve described the war between the man and woman… Any man over 30 knows that there is a war between man and woman, I mean even before women became vocal about their own interpretation of the war. But that isn’t the only aspect between man and woman. It’s just one of the aspects that I’ve treated in my work and in my life – I mean sometimes I’m in a state of war with a woman and sometimes there’s a truce. Sometimes it feels that there never was a war. And sometimes there never was a truce.
Leonard Cohen CBC interview by Malka Marom (1970s). Photo by Pete Purnell.
Malka Marom: In so much of your poetry and songs your lovers are forever parting.
Leonard Cohen: That’s true.
Malka Marom: Do you know why?
Leonard Cohen: I don’t remember the songs I wrote a long time ago. They are all saying goodbye.
Malka Marom: Well they are leaving each other.
Leonard Cohen: Well I have some here in which they are condemned to each other for eternity. On my new record, for instance, I have this sang that goes like this:
“I tried to leave you, I don’t deny
I closed the book on us, at least a hundred times.
I wake up every morning by your side.
The years go by, you lose your pride.
The baby is crying, so you do not go outside,
And all your work is right before your eyes.
Goodnight, my darling, I hope you’re satisfied,
The bed is kind of narrow, but my arms are open wide.
And here’s a man still working for your smile.”
This is a monogamous song.
Malka Marom: You still use the word, “condemn.”
Leonard Cohen: Lovers condemned like mated beasts to the same cage with a long embrace and fighting over scraps of freedom. There is an aversion to the thing, which is very unattractive. I think anyone who has lived with anyone else knows what I mean.
Leonard Cohen CBC interview by Malka Marom (1970s).