“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

You say there is a war between men and women, now what do you mean?

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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.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen CBC interview by Malka Marom (1970s). Photo by Pete Purnell.

Leonard Cohen On Men & Women At War

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A lot of people ask me about that song [‘There Is A War’], but a lot of people forget that the last line of every verse is, ‘Let’s get back to the war’. Of course, there’s all kinds of conflicts between men and women, rich and poor, all kinds of castes and classes. I talk of getting back to the war meaning that we have to throw ourselves into the predicament. If we are willing to get into it, to confront it, that’s one of the ways through it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Posted Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted Oct 10, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video From Reimagined New Skin for the Old Ceremony: Leonard Cohen’s “There Is A War”

thereiswaLinda Sturgess discovered the video of Leonard Cohen’s “There Is A War” commissioned in 2010 by Lorca Cohen and Darin Klein as part of a reimagined version of Leonard Cohen’s 1974 album New Skin for the Old Ceremony. For more about this project, see Reimagined New Skin for the Old Ceremony Opens At MoMA April 14, 2011

There Is a War – Leonard Cohen
Music video by Lily Lanken and Sylvan Lanken.
Video uploaded by sylvan lanken

Note: Originally posted June 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Outstanding Performance Of There Is A War – Boston 1993

bostonThere 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.
Why don’t you come on back to the war, that’s right, get in it,
Why don’t you come on back to the war, it’s just beginning.

Featuring Bob Metzger On Guitar

Leonard Cohen performs an impressive, animated rendition of There Is A War with a splendid guitar solo by Bob Metzger at Berklee Performing Center, Boston on July 16, 1993. The video includes Leonard’s introduction to the song:

About a thousand years ago, there was this brief period of about 11 or 12 minutes, that is now referred to as the sixties, a hated time, an intoxicating time. I enjoyed myself thoroughly for five or six minutes. It has become a kind of black hole in the sociological cosmos, a kind of Bermuda Triangle, into which all the noblest and worthwhile ideas disappeared forever. A seductive moment, however being the gloomy chap that you know me to be, I was able to resist it. I think it was back in 1971 when it reached its most acute phase, it was then that I was inspired to write this mournful and bitter ditty in response to all the flabby liars of the Aquarian Age.

The sound is excellent; the visual elements are imperfect but can be watched easily and enjoyably.

Leonard Cohen – There Is A War
Berklee Performing Center, Boston: 16 July 1993
Uploaded by messalina79  aka Ruth Pietroni

Leonard Cohen On Flexi-Disc: There Is The War / This Is The War

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Dominique BOILE knows I have a weakness for the flexi-disc (see The Leonard Cohen Flexi-Disc: It’s A Record, It’s A Postcard, It’s Two Obsolete Technologies In One). He forwards this Russian flexi-disc with only one song: There Is A War by Leonard Cohen. While it lacks the graphics featured on previously posted specimens, it does offer an oddity. On the cover, the title is “There Is The War,” but on the disc, it becomes “This Is The War.”

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Leonard Cohen’s “There Is A War” Plays Pivotal Role In Structure Of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “Tug of War: Foreign Fire”

tugIt turns out that Leonard Cohen’s music enhances not only edgy TV series such as Peaky Blinders and True Detective and groundbreaking movies such as Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller but also productions of Shakespeare’splays.

On May 21, 2016, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater debuted “Tug of War: Foreign Fire,” a trilogy of Shakespeare plays – Edward III, Henry V, and Henry VI. Part One – performed the same day over a six hour span (with three breaks).  (A second trilogy comprising Henry VI, Parts Two and Three and Richard III will be staged late summer/fall 2016.)

The significance of Leonard Cohen’s “There Is a War” is made apparent in this excerpt from Chicago Shakespeare Theater – Tug of War: Foreign Fire by City Desk 400 Staff. City Desk 400: June 3, 2016:

But [Artistic Director Barbara] Gaines has purposefully split up Shakespeare’s three-part series, perhaps in part to make the point that war has no finale because we keep fighting the same wars again and again in each generation. To emphasize this point, Gaines adds a postlude, in which the entire cast dons those fold-up Christmas cracker crowns and sings a couple of choruses of “Why don’t you come on back to the war?” from Leonard Cohen’s “There Is a War,” concluding on the line “let’s all get even.” Nothing is finished, war just keeps coming back. Thus we conclude with a depressing but appropriate commentary on our inability to keep the peace.

Bonus: Tug of War: Foreign Fire Montage

Leonard Cohen Video: There Is A War, But First There Is The Kissing – Frankfurt 1993

war

Before starting There Is A War, the second encore of the night, Leonard Cohen beckons a woman from the audience to the stage where much kissing, a hug, and a note-passing ensue.

Leonard Cohen – There Is A War
Alte Oper, Frankfurt: May 27, 1993
Video from SighsNorth (aka Linda Sturgess)