Leonard Cohen’s Less Famous Plastic Raincoat


Excerpt from For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article. Note: The raincoat pictured is, as they say, an “artist’s vision” of Leonard’s plastic raincoat.

Note: OK, Leonard’s purchase of a cheap plastic raincoat as a joke doesn’t qualify as Essence Of Leonard Cohen stuff, but I am taken by the notion of Leonard covering herself in the same material my mother employed to protect her living room sofa.

“You shouldn’t have to wait in line to take a bath” Leonard Cohen’s Criterion For Choosing Hotels On Tour (1972)

On my last tour [1972] I had asked my management not to put me into the first-class hotels that we had been put into on my previous tours, because I felt it was just a difficult thing, to go from these luxurious hotel rooms and play for people wearing blue jeans and shirts, and we’d go back in limousines to these hotels. Not that I have any objection to either ambience, but it was the mixture of the two that I thought somehow inhospitable. Anyhow, I was really hoping to be able to find a Chelsea or a Portobello in each city, but I found unfortunately that these hotels don’t exist. So we found ourselves being into hotels where there are no bathrooms with the rooms… You shouldn’t have to wait in line to take a bath. So I ask to be upgraded again. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Note: I guess you can push that “I find the simple life voluptuous” too far, eh?

From Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. Dec 5, 1974.Thanks to Jugurtha Harchaoui, who contributed this interview.

Leonard Cohen On Drinking Scotch

At this point in the show I would have a cigarette here and drink some obscure scotch like Lagavulin…
– Leonard Cohen at the  Dec 5, 2012 Toronto Concert1

Leonard Cohen has been telling his 2012 concert audiences about his intent to start smoking again when he reaches 80.  At the Dec 5, 2012 Toronto concert, however, he upped the ante, adding the tippling of scotch to his anticipated 2014 onstage routine.

Consequently, to keep Cohen fans au courant with the Canadian singer-songwriter’s preferences and plans, Cohencentric offers this introduction to …

Lagavulin Scotch

Lagavulin, according to  Wikipedia, “is an Islay single malt Scotch whiskey produced at Lagavulin on the island of Islay, United Kingdom. The whiskey has a powerful, peat-smoke aroma, and is described as being robustly full-bodied, well balanced, and smooth, with a slight sweetness on the palate. The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old (43%), though they regularly release a 12-year-old cask strength variety, a Distiller’s edition finished in Pedro Ximénez casks, and 25- and 30-year-old varieties.”

The lowest cost found in an online search this morning [at time of original posting: Dec 7, 2012] for the standard 750 ml bottle of Lagavulin Scotch 16 Year Single Malt was $59 (without shipping costs).

It should be noted that in the past, Leonard Cohen has also indicated, in addition to a taste for scotch, a predilection for cognac2  and Chateau La Tour 1982.3  He also concocted an alcoholic potable named Red Needles, consisting of “tequila and cranberry juice and Sprite and fresh cut fruit.”4

Update:  I can affirm that Leonard indeed partook of Lagavulin at least once in 2014.  See  Lunch At Leonard’s In LA – Leonard Cohen & Kezban Özcan Host Nosh For Duchess & DrHGuy

Note: Originally posted Dec 7, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Quoted in Point of View: Be Leonard Cohen by Samantha Swan (Ardent Pictures: Dec 6, 2012) []
  2. I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, Sunday 14 October 2001 []
  3. The Q Magazine Questionnaire in Q Magazine, September 1994 []
  4. Readers who have not previously tried this cocktail are strongly advised to test a few sips before committing to its consumption in quantity []

Leonard Cohen Is A (Paper) Doll

I love your body and your spirit and your clothes

  – From “First We Take Manhattan” by Leonard Cohen

Dressing – And Undressing – Leonard Cohen

Eva M, a member of the Leonard Cohen Forum, offers both an apposite commentary on Leonard Cohen’s style and an entertaining activity for fans  in the form of a well-executed, affecting, unique   paper doll set she created.

The Leonard Cohen paper doll set was originally submitted as an entry in the contest sponsored by the German edition of Rolling Stone to send a “passionate fan” to Paris for the Old Ideas preview. The image atop this post was, in fact, first published at the German Rolling Stone Facebook page (January 3, 2012) with this caption:

A self designed Doll by Leonard Cohen is just a post that we received in the course of the Leonard Cohen contest. Until tomorrow, you can take part – and then we are faced with the difficult task to pick a winner from all the photos, cover songs, stories and poems… [computer powered translation from German to English]

As part of this project Eva M taught herself enough technology to create a flash version of Dress Up Leonard Cohen. (The image of the flash game is shown below; to play the flash version itself, go to the link.)

For those who adhere to traditional forms, Eva M offers these instructions:

Print it  [the paper version] in A3 size, take your scissors and have fun.

Also see Eva M’s Leonard Cohen Specialty Saints Bracelet

Note: Originally posted Jan 8, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Cat In The Hat Is Back – Leonard Cohen Prepares For 2008 Tour


I’m Your (Sharp-dressed) Man

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

– From Sharp-dressed Man by ZZ Top

This shot of Leonard Cohen rehearsing for his upcoming World Tour in his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes1 is intriguing and even a tad mysterious.

How, for example, does he look so good in that hat? Why does he look like an illustration for the dictionary definition of “dapper” wearing a double breasted jacket while 97% of the men that don them (including Dave Letterman, who wears one almost every night on his show) resemble nothing else as much as a corpse being fitted for a shroud? Why is he fingering a keyboard when he typically plays a guitar, if he plays any instrument, in his concerts? Why does he have only one hand on the keyboard? Is the one hand in the pocket stance essential as a component of the not quite insouciant slouch?

And what the heck is with that gong in the background?


Credit Due Department: Photo by Lorca Cohen. Used by permission of Leonard Cohen via Ed Sanders. Thanks to Dick Straub for alerting me to the photo.

Note: Originally posted Apr 27, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Or would these be Leonard Cohen’s “Sabbath-go-to-meeting Clothes?” Or his “Sabbath-go-to-synagogue Clothes?” Such are the perils of the culturally sensitive blogger. []

Leonard Cohen: Fashion Exemplar – The Hollywood YMCA T-shirt


The ever dapper Leonard Cohen had at least one t-shirt in his wardrobe that showed up on occasion in photos and videos. In the above screenshot from Harry Rasky’s Song of Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter is wearing a Hollywood YMCA shirt. In a video of “Take This Longing,” that same Hollywood YMCA shirt can be viewed peeking out from Leonard Cohen’s jacket.


On the cover art of the Birmingham bootleg, a Hollywood YMCA T-shirt is paired with shorts for that especially casual look.

LCbhamBkEsther Park points out that Leonard sports that shirt on the photo spread below.


Esther goes on to note,

If he [Leonard Cohen] were a gentleman and cared anything about his female fans, he would have given the shirt to her and gone topless himself.

And A Historical Note – The Roscoe Beck-Leonard Cohen Hollywood YMCA Connection

In related news, those perpetually popular and always astute reliable sources have it that Rosco Beck and Leonard Cohen wore Hollywood YMCA t-shirts “all the time” during the 1979 tour rehearsals and swam daily at the Hollywood YMCA.

Consequently, it seems likely that more photos of Leonard and perhaps some of Roscoe sporting these garments may be floating about. Viewers who happen onto such specimens are urged to contact me

Update: From The Hollywood YMCA Perspective

This pertinent comment was left by Hollywood YMCA Executive Director, Norris Lineweaver on

Needless to say, hundreds of Hollywood YMCA engraved towels, shorts and t-shirts, muscle shirts, lifeguard shirts, camp counselor shirts, Adventure Trails shirts, staff security shirts, and even maintenance staff uniforms are in circulation. I am embarrassed to say probably one of the most out of control inventory under my watch. Now that Leonard Cohen has come out in the open with contraband I am certain my successors couldn’t do better even with a chain and lock on every t-shirt. Thank you, Leonard! We love you!
Norris Lineweaver
Executive Director (1980-88)

Note: Originally posted Feb 2, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric