“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.