I might be inclined to have the children dressed in their best clothes for synagogue and such, but Suzanne [Elrod] tells me to lighten up and she’s right.
From Cohen at 50: On His Songs, His Women And Children by Chris Cobb (Ottawa Citizen: April 21, 1984). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
“We knew you could do it, Lenny”
A few weeks ago Cohen received in the mail a newspaper clipping from a South African newspaper, a story about a surgeon named Leonard Cohen who specializes in restoring severed limbs. Scrawled across the sheet was an inscription: “We knew you could do it, Lenny.”
Cohen told me about it in a bar several nights before, and we are laughing about it again. “You know,” I say, “you bring it on yourself, Leonard.”
“Yeah,” he says with a smile. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
Cohen relishes and takes with good humour the bleak proportions of his artistic persona – “I’ve had people tell me that my records have made their lives not worth living.”
From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted June 11, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Q: Is there one piece of criticism that sticks in your mind?
Leonard Cohen: The only criticism that has stuck in my mind is that somebody once said to me that I had a cruel streak. Maybe that is too honest for this article. But that stayed with me, the possibility that I enjoyed and took pleasure in the discomfort of another’s distress.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
Leonard Cohen: That I have a cruel streak.
Q: What is your most unpleasant characteristic?
Leonard Cohen: I really don’t think I have a cruel streak.
From “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” in Q Magazine, September 1994. Photos by Gabriel Jones. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
For some years Cohen has been saddled, poor fellow, with a reputation as a compulsive womaniser (putting out an album called ‘Death of a Ladies’ Man’ didn’t really help). Much has been made of his current affair with the Hollywood actress Rebecca de Mornay, who played the billhook-wielding nanny in ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.’ I commented that he never seemed to lose a sense of wonder at the prospect of the undraped female form. Was it because he is an incorrigible old rogue, or something more elevated?
But that’s very elevated. What Yeats said about ‘a foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling. To stay alive in the heart and the spine and the genitals, to be sensitive to these delicious movements, is not a bad way to go. To me, the sight of a naked woman in statuary – or not naked at all – or the movement of one’s sister or daughters, well, I’m sorry, but I haven’t been able to extricate myself from this human merry-go-round.
From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993. Image is a screen capture from a 1993 Helsinki interview. Originally posted Jan 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.