You want it darker
We kill the flame
Also on the 2017 Eclipse Playlist:
Mimi Lela shot this video of the Leonard Cohen tribute at the Montréal Symphonique, a concert by Montreal’s three major orchestras (The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Métropolitai) and some of the Canada’s biggest pop artists on Mount Royal. According to Montréal Symphonique rouses crowd of thousands on Mount Royal (CBC News: Aug 19, 2017), the show was viewed by “a crowd of 80,000 and thousands more in parks across the city, where it was projected.”
2016 Cohencentric Highlights: In 2016, posts about the deaths of Marianne Ihlen & Leonard Cohen, of course,garnered the most views by a wide margin. Of those posts on other topics, however, the video of Leonard Cohen’s New Song On Peaky Blinders – “You Want It Darker,” posted on , was the most popular,
Update: “You Want It Darker” is the title song from the new Leonard Cohen album coming out this fall. All information available about the You Want It Darker album by Leonard Cohen is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker
“You Want It Darker” is the new Leonard Cohen song heard during an erotic asphyxiation scene (definitely NSFW) near the end of Season 3, Episode 5 of Peaky Blinders. The lyrics of “You Want It Darker” (the segment of the song used in Peaky Blinders) follow:
If you are the dealer
Let me out of the game
If you are the healer
I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory
Mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
Update: The lyrics of the entire song can be found at Lyrics Of “You Want It Darker”
The video of the pertinent Peaky Blinders segment can be viewed below, beginning at 44:22.
You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen
Video by Martin Ferrabee
Anyone who has been following Cohencentric over the last year has seen the mesmerizing video montages of Martin Ferrabee. My introduction to his work was in August of last year when I viewed his Dance Me To the End of Love. I remember thinking that here is an artist who really understands the language of symbolic imagery! Martin’s videos run the gamut from the darkly whimsical to the transcendent and the ineffably profound. His intuitions are uncanny.
Martin and I began an extended conversation that always included a plan to work together on some project for Cohencentric. That moment has arrived with the posting of Martin’s video: Showing it Darker. Martin has invited me to say a few words about a work of art that I feel resists any casual explanation. Rather than analyze, I will simply offer my own personal experience while watching the film. It stands on its own as a powerful glimpse into the darkness that continues to gather in our world.
The video opens with a direct reference to Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I had a small chuckle when Leonard’s album cover for You Want it Darker, hanging in space, appeared between the Star Child and Earth. But the piece gets dark fast, and this is the last (and only) laugh.
The primates in Kubrick’s film have an encounter with a monolith that awakens their potential for evolving consciousness. In Martin’s video, Leonard shares this role with the monolith; the implication being that Cohen is calling for a more evolved consciousness as well. We could say that Leonard is inviting the Star Child to pass, just behind the famous fedora, through the window of Light and Darkness to the blue atmosphere of Earth. This is a kind of Gate that we as well pass through, along with the Star Child, for a short but harrowing journey through some of the darkest iconic moments of our time.
The powerful images that follow the opening sequence are visceral and potent. Coupled with Leonard’s music and lyric, I was pulled into an ever-deepening phantasmagoria of cascading sorrows. After watching it for the first time, I thought of Leonard’s dark walk through the song Amen from Old Ideas:
Tell me again
When I’ve seen through the horror
Tell me again
Tell me over and over
Tell me that you want me then
The video closes with a bookend reprise of the Star Child and Leonard. We leave by the same Gate that we crossed going in. Our journey was a short one, a little over five minutes. But as with all art that moves us deeply, we are taken out of common time and plunged into time out of time; arrested, profoundly engaged, and touched to our core.
The evolution of human consciousness is a thrilling story that has taken many twisted turns along its meandering way. Stanley Kubrick was well known for his misanthropic view of the human race, and it appears all through his work. The question that mankind has been asking for quite some time now is whether or not we will survive our darker angels, or whether we are capable of releasing the Light that we cover with shadows. This is what Ken Wilber calls the Good and Bad news of modernity. The good news is our slow but steady growth to a world centric, compassionate embrace of all life on our luminous planet. The bad news is that 70% of the world is still locked in fundamentalist religion and other ethnocentric worldviews. In these contracted views, the light is only for the chosen few: the true believer. Martin’s video captures this complex conundrum with a startling use of symbolic visual language.
As a final reflection, I would say that art has many faces. One of its most important aspects is to hold up an unflinching mirror that reflects everything and rejects nothing; to show both the darkness we are capable of, and the Light that we truly are. Leonard Cohen has been such a mirror for us from the beginning. With the first song from his first album, Suzanne, this sensibility is already fully present, including the mirror:
And the sun pours down like honey
on our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
there are children in the morning
they are leaning out for love
they will lean that way forever
while Suzanne holds the mirror
Thank you Martin for your inexhaustible capacity to produce visual meditations on the work of one of our greatest visionaries. And if I may speak for all us who have been Ravished by the Song that was Leonard Cohen, immeasurable gratitude to the man who gave us so much Light in a time of great darkness.
Oana Cajal writes:
This video is an expression of our endless love for LC, the Master Reconciliator of Man and his paradoxical, mysterious shadow.
It’s the crack in the wall of our dark times and growing despair.
It’s a sacred tear of infinite sorrow and vibrant hope.
It’s our grief of losing Leonard and our joy of having been touched by his conjuring
faith in the beauty of human imperfections.
It’s our prayer that the voice of God welcomed Leonard in the heaven of flawless verse
and allowed him to serve in the blessed garden of forgiveness.
But, to quote him, “That’s getting too heavy. I’m sorry. Strike that!”
So long Leonard…
Oana and Stefan Cajal’s evocative, Leonard Cohen-themed videos have been cherished features at Cohencentric. All Cajal videos can be found at Oana Maria Cajal.
Sitting in his hotel room in New York this morning, Rabbi Sacks suddenly had a thought about a connection between the late Leonard Cohen’s song “You Want It Darker”, the current state of the world and this week’s parsha of Vayera
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks is a British rabbi, philosopher and scholar of Judaism. He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.
That declaration of readiness, no matter what the outcome, that’s a part of everyone’s soul. We all are motivated by deep impulses and deep appetites to serve, even though we may not be able to locate that which we are hoping to serve. So this is just a part of my nature and I think everybody else’s nature to offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. It’s only when the emergency becomes articulate that we can locate that willingness to serve. [pause] That’s getting too heavy. I’m sorry. Strike that!
From Leonard Cohen Corrects Himself: ‘I Intend to Stick Around Until 120’ by Chris Willman (Billboard: Oct 14, 2016)