“The real truth about my visions is that I don’t have any special secret.” Leonard Cohen


[Interviewer:] I wondered if he [Leonard Cohen] was feeling as healthy as he seemed.

I’m just reeling, man. I’m just reeling. Sometimes in the midst of the thing I don’t know how I do it, you know. Like I manage to get my daily life together to get this tour together. But most of the time I’m staggering under the blows. It’s no doubt that I contrive these blows for myself. I think everyone is responsible for their own condition. But I don’t intend to stay here, you know; I’ve run through a lot of programs to get myself out of here and this is one that I’m ending because it didn’t work. And it’s not a question of putting myself down. It’s a question of being as accurate as possible. You know, that’s why I wouldn’t like to intrude on anybody’s life by trying to advise them. I mean the real truth about my visions is that I don’t have any special secret. I said it in a song. ‘Please understand I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Note: The line referenced by Leonard Cohen is, of course, from The Stranger Song

From Famous last words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman (Macleans: June 10, 1972)

Leonard Cohen’s Formula For Choosing Car Radio Stations

Driving over 60, I like to listen to country-western or pop music. Between 40 & 60, I like classical music. Then, in city traffic, like under 30, I like to listen to talk shows.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen Press Conference, Reykjavik, 1988. Originally posted Oct 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I had to go to work. I have no money left.” Leonard Cohen On The Loss Of His $5M Retirement Fund

What can I do? I had to go to work. I have no money left. I’m not saying it’s bad; I have enough of an understanding of the way the world works to understand that these things happen.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


A ‘Devastated’ Leonard Cohen by Katherine Macklem (Maclean’s: August 17, 2005). Originally posted February 1, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Mistakes Antidepressant Side-Effect For “Spiritual Achievement”

By the time I finished my tour in 1993, I was in some condition of anguish that deepened and deepened. Prozac didn’t work. Paxil didn’t work. Zoloft didn’t work. Wellbutrin didn’t work. In fact, the only comic element in the whole thing was when I was taking Prozac, I came to believe that I had overcome my [sexual] desires. I didn’t know that it has that side effect. I thought it was a spiritual achievement.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone: 30 November 2016) Note:  The entire article – an excellent read – is available at the link.

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“It became clear to me that I had no position and that nobody else did either.” Leonard Cohen

I couldn’t enter into the orthodox Jewish stream, the Hassidic dance – I tried, but it wasn’t really my own. I couldn’t really become a fighter in the Spanish Civil War, since it was over. I didn’t have the right accent or speak the kind of English my professors spoke. There was plenty of cafe culture in Montreal, but I wasn’t welcome there. It was mainly French and I spoke English. You had more prestige if you came from the wrong side of the tracks and I come from the right side. So I was always trying to find a cafe that was mine, a language and style that was mine, always looking for a homeland and a position – until it became clear to me that I had no position and that nobody else did either. They’d been swept away. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993 Originally posted Jan 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked If He Would Prefer Being Introduced As A “Poet, Songwriter, Novelist, Singer” (Hint: It’s None Of The Above)


Most of the things you do – poet, songwriter, novelist, singer – which do you prefer if you were going to be introduced as something?

… It’s hard to live by a name anyhow and whatever you created gets away from you anyhow and I’d just as soon be introduced as a vegetarianquotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Note: Leonard Cohen was a self-professed vegetarian for a few years in the 1960s. Information about this aspect of his life can be found at Was Leonard Cohen A Vegetarian?

The featured excerpt is from a CBC interview broadcast three weeks before his first album (Songs Of Leonard Cohen, released December 27, 1967). That selection was included in Inside the music – Various Positions:Leonard Cohen in His Own Words: Broadcast Jan 30, 2012.  The photograph atop this post, taken by Bill Dampier, is credited to York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, ASC26833. Originally posted March 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

What’s In Leonard Cohen’s Bag? Snake Tattoo, Girlfriend Photo, Airplane Tickets, AIDS Test Card


The Scene: It is early 1988.  Leonard Cohen is being interviewed in the restaurant of a Covent Garden hotel. The interviewer reports “a tall man in a black suit suddenly approaches our table and hands Len a small black travel bag. Len lets out a huge sigh of relief. The man bows and disappears.”

The Excerpt:

[Interviewer:] What’s that then, Len?

[Leonard  Cohen:] I left it in the car last night. It’s got everything. My tattoo.

[Interviewer:] You’ve got your tattoo in your bag?

[Leonard  Cohen:]  It’s one of those stick-on ones, a big snake, a present for my daughter. Here’s my airplane tickets. Cheque books. A picture of my girlfriend.

[Interviewer:] Can I have a gander, Len?

[Leonard  Cohen:] Sure. I took it myself.

[Interviewer:] Very beautiful. What’s that bit of paper there?

[Leonard  Cohen:]  That’s my AIDS test result. Negative. It’s good to carry that around. ‘Hi, I’m Leonard, here’s my card!’ It’s like being let out of prison, getting one of those.

Source: Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Posted Dec 3, 2015 (the excerpt itself is from a 1988 interview). The photo atop this post was taken on another occasion (Milan, 1989) by Guido Harari. This content was originally posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.