“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen 1934 – 2016 Selected Poems 1956 -1968
Leonard Cohen was in his seventy fifth year when he put on the cool hat (to go with the sharp suit), set off on a world tour (2008-2010) with a band of brilliant musicians and reinvented himself. He mined his back-catalogue, a body of work that the media in their trite, reductionist fashion, have long classified as doom-laden, wrote a host of new songs too, and generally set about letting in the light.What a star.
He made me laugh on the inside – little pulses of pleasure – wry, acerbic, revelatory – that hit my cerebral cortex and then migrated at a cellular level to all parts including those spots under your feet that practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine call ‘the bubbling well points’. In short, he was life-enhancing. He may have delved in dark places where we don’t often care to look, but he was also very funny. And we humans do need to laugh at ourselves now and then. Even, and maybe especially, a good dose of dark laughter is always worth having.
We were lucky to see him in 2009 when he was playing the Labatt Stadium (now Budweiser Gardens) in London, Ontario. The venue was packed, with every generation represented, from a bunch of retirement home residents to babes in arms. The concert was as fine as could be, and if you want to see it for yourself the DVD of the 2008 London UK concert is a good buy.
Coming up is a clip that especially makes me laugh inside. He’s performing with U2, and it comes from the 2006 documentary Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man.
The man’s dry humour and humanity live on. Thank you, Leonard.
51 thoughts on “Farewell Leonard Cohen ~ You Made Me Laugh”
Yes, thank you, thank you, Leonard Cohen.
Tish, the sound quality of the video is very scratchy for me. Is it like that for you?
I’ve just reloaded the vid. Hope this sounds better, Ann 🙂
That’s great now, Tish. Thanks. 🙂
It sounds good, Tish.
Thanks, Dina. The previous upload was v. bad.
Makes the whole world seem better.
That’s just it!
Thanks for reminding us of this great man!
Rest in peace, Leonard.
Cohen brought us so much joy with his music and lyrics.
Lazy bastard in a suit
That’s a great line. He wore it so well – on both fronts.
One of the world’s greatest poets – a lovely tribute Tish and how lucky you are to have seen him perform live.
To say it was a treat would be an understatement. And it was especially touching to see several generations within particular family groups in the audience.
I have a client who loves him. He’ll be sad to know he passed away.
I’m just listening to him now Tish, very sad.
I must have been dissuaded in my past. I can hear myself saying he’s a singer of mournful tone. Recently I have have been blown away hearing others sing his songs and at last I begin belatedly see what I have missed. It’s not too late but I won’t be able to invite LC round for breakfast. I’ll continue to search for the cracks.
Tanks Trish for the clip…
You are most welcome, Tony. Even today in BBC tributes the journalists just couldn’t tear themselves away from the doom and gloom pigeon-hole wherein LC was placed so long ago. Shoddy sound-bite journalism as per usual. Just shows how the media hijack people’s careers and present them in reductive ways. But as you say – we still have LC’s output to go at. Lucky us.
I like Shoddy sound-bite journalism. One reason I listen to ITV news in the evening rather than BBC because it covers current news in depth.
It is said we have two deaths; one when we stop breathing and another when people no longer say your name. LC will be spoken about in music and poetry for many years…Hallelujah!
Well said, that man. You and LC.
I first heard him while sitting on a balcony overlooking a garden outside the village of Labrugiere in France in the early 70’s.
I was 13.
As I only ever listened to his first two albums – and never really explored his music further – he came across as a bit too melancholy for someone who was already into Jimi Hendrix. I had a similar feeling toward Nick Drake.
However, I still have those two albums – on tape, would you believe – and the tracks Sisters of Mercy and especially Suzanne ( as I was sweet on a girl by that name) have stuck with me since the moment I heard them.
As LC said himself at the 2008 concert ‘cheerfulness kept breaking through’. He grew more upbeat in the last few years, even as he recycled his ‘golden oldies’. There have also been some amazing covers – Nick Cave, Anthony, Wainwrights – Martha and Rufus to name a few.
Love that little pulses of pleasure comment! You’ve picked his most underrated charm and wit Tish – so many lines brought smiles.
– “he was eating up a lady where the lions and Christians fight”
Have sung along with Leonard since I was 17 and saw him at the Albert Hall with his ‘The Future’ world tour 1993
– the maestro of melancholy is the zen master of wit. Farewell!
I do recommend the DVD of his 2008 world tour. It is totally uplifting – an immaculate presentation of his art.
He definitely had a grand way with words. Ever since I first heard him on an album from the 1960s with judy Collins … he could conjure the best imagery with a few perfect words.
Tish, oh man, I don’t have a TV, and I don’t read the paper…so I was unaware of his passing. He was one of my favorites. I introduced him to some students here. Thanks for your words and sharing!! Talk about “trenchant” eh?
A sad loss indeed, Badfish. He was a man whose words cut right to the core – trenchant indeed, but with caring too.
Yes, and now I can’t get those words out of my mind…the girl who serves “tea all the way from China.” Love that line
Now they’re in my head too, and no bad thing to have in one’s head, so thanks Badfish 🙂
always glad to oblige a lady…with a tune
Here’s a Nick Cave version of Suzanne:
Tish…hey, thanks for this. I didn’t know who Nick Cave was. Don’t know his songs….yeah, I live in a cave. I like his voice, but it seems like he doesn’t know the words to this song, he’s a bit behind his backup singers.
I don’t know much about him either, but I quite liked the time lag re the backup singers. This clip comes from a great DVD ‘Leonard Cohen: I’m your man’ – it’s a documentary about him and featuring a lot of cover versions from an Australian concert honouring his work.
well, now I like his stuff! thanks for the intro
Oh good. I’d’ve hated to leave you something horrid 🙂
ha! like, say, a Tiny Tim tune?
Gad! That would be a real bummer.
yeah…who was that guy anyway?
Very sad, indeed, Tish.
The songs go on though. Also thank you, John. You’ve been doing some heavy reading of my blog. Your company is always much appreciated 🙂
Well, Tish, I’ve been a little distracted of late and haven’t made the rounds like I would have liked. Hopefully some form of normalcy will return and quickly.
The world has lost a talent. A distinctive voice.
Beautiful goodbye, Tish. I will miss him, but happy his work will live for a long time.
I loved him too 🙂 Thanks for this, Tish
You can appreciate his talent at any age but only our blessed generation know what it was like to hear that voice and those words in the context of the time. Suzanne ringing out from a teenager’s Cheshire bedroom. A fine tribute Tish – I will now search out the DVD.
One of the great poets, not just or our time but of any time. I love the way you’ve written about him.
Thank you, Alison. You are so right about Cohen’s poetry. Insightful is too small a word…
Thank you. One of my favourite albums is ‘The Future’ – your quote from ‘Democracy’ for example. I have decided, however, that when I die I want ‘Closing Time’ played. It has some my favourite lyrics, like ‘The gates of love they budged an inch/I can’t say much has happened since’.
Goodbye to a gentle, funny, enigmatic, perceptive, beautiful songwriter, he will be sorely missed.
I think he covered most of life’s eventualities with a light touch. So he could sing many of us out. Thanks for your comment.