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stillilllife

Leonard Cohen has passed away

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Forbes Quote of the Day: "Music is the emotional life of most people." - Leonard Cohen

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Memories from a long-time friend

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/opinion/my-friend-leonard-cohen-darkness-and-praise.html

“Dear Uncle Leonard,” the email from the boy began. “Did anything inspire you to create ‘Hallelujah’”? Later that same winter day the reply arrived: “I wanted to stand with those who clearly see G-d’s holy broken world for what it is, and still find the courage or the heart to praise it. You don’t always get what you want. You’re not always up for the challenge. But in this case — it was given to me. For which I am deeply grateful.”

Leonard sang always as a sinner. He refused to describe sin as a failure or a disqualification. Sin was a condition of creatureliness, and his feeling for our creatureliness was boundless. “Even though it all went wrong/ I’ll stand before the Lord of song/ With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!”

Here, in memory of Eliezer ben Nisan ha’Cohen, is a passage on frivolity by a great rabbi in Prague at the end of the 16th century. “Man was born for toil, since his perfection is always being actualized but is never actual,” he observed in an essay on frivolity. “And insofar as he attains perfection, something is missing in him.

In such a being, perfection is a shortcoming and a lack.” Leonard Cohen was the poet laureate of the lack, the psalmist of the privation, who made imperfection gorgeous.

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I have never really listened to Adam Cohen's music and the one or two songs I have heard I've not been that impressed with in all honesty, however, since the release of Leonard's latest album I have much enjoyed hearing Adam Cohen in interviews discussing it. The way he speaks and constructs his sentences, he is definitely his father's son. 

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this on The Guardian website this evening. An extract from a book called My Old Man in which Adam Cohen writes a few paragraphs on his father and their relationship.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/live/2016/nov/11/leonard-cohen-death-tributes-singer-songwriter-live

I’ve had a very normal relationship with my father, with the exception that he’s terribly well known and, so it’s said, one of the most important writers in his domain.

Like all sons, I have found the relationship has added layers to itself over time. These days, my relationship with him is just looking in a mirror and consulting with him. Hearing the timbre of his voice in my own. Body posture, mannerisms, ethics, morals, linguistics. All the deep imprintings that are there either from socio-genetics or, if you were to be cruel, parroting. Whatever the reason, I throw my arms around the lifestyle I was given.

My father made a remarkable effort – and one that I am much more impressed with now as a family man myself – to remain in his children’s lives despite a less-than-perfect breakup with my mother. I always saw him. He was always around. He always made gigantic efforts. There was even a time when he wasn’t allowed on the property; to circumnavigate that, he bought a trailer and put it at the T where the dirt road of our house in the south of France connected to the municipal road, and we would walk up the dirt road. A lot was imparted by that. From Los Angeles to the south of France was no small journey. We spent all our holidays with him. Every winter we would go to Montreal and every summer we would go to Greece.

There was always laughter. Despite his notoriety for, I quote, “having a voice like the bottom of an ashtray”, for being “the prince of darkness”, for being famed for his lugubriousness, he is one of the most quick-witted men, and he is generous with his humour. The guy is hilarious. I’ve gone into the family business, and we get a tremendous amount of laughter out of that. Hanging out with him is the best, whether it’s over a tuna sandwich or on the front stoop of his house. He doesn’t like to move much, having been a touring man his whole life. He does love being sedentary.

I’ve learned a lot from him on that stoop. The main inspiration that his life provides is a dedication to his craft. He has an old-world view of it. It’s not the notion of instantaneous success that exists in new generations. His whole life has been a demonstration of the opposite. I remember something he told me when I was 16 and starting to take songwriting seriously. He said there’s a moment when you’re blocked on a song, or on any work, and it’s only when you’re about to quit having put much, much more time than you planned into it that the work begins. That’s when you’ve crossed the threshold of being on the right track. But the nature of my dialogue with him is nearly always instruction. From the manner in which we should greet someone about whom we have reservations, to gender relationships, to the proper dosage of mustard and mayonnaise. We talk about women all the time, too, and, if I may, out of privacy, I’ll keep that princely wisdom to myself. It’s a long-running and possibly incomplete transmission.

We’ve never really fallen out. We’ve had a series of minor misunderstandings that were corrected, and actually served to provide better understanding in the long run. When you have someone in your family who is in such demand, and from whom you derive a sense of identity because of the nature of your relationship, you can start to become covetous of the amount of time spent with that person. There are times when, no question, I wish we had been able to spend more time together.

You want to know some secrets about Leonard Cohen? Here’s the dirt. He loves George Jones and Hank Williams. He travels with one small suitcase. Many of his impeccable suits are actually threadbare. He’s only about 5ft 8in, despite that giant baritone. He awakens at four in the morning and blackens pages every single day of his life. He cuts his own hair. He will find a patch of sun anywhere and sit in it, like a big cat, following that sliver wherever it goes. Although he no longer smokes, there is nothing he would rather do. He makes the best tuna salad I’ve ever had – he seems to have a knack for that. He loves making food for people, in fact. He spends a lot of time in the kitchen. He’s probably the best-known short-order chef in the world.”

1280.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f

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I'm about 20 minutes late posting this.  Great version of Mr. Cohen's song by Jeff Buckley who would have turned 50 on 11/17/2016.

 

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On 11/10/2016 at 11:45 PM, janeymarywendy said:

The first person I thought of when I heard this news on the radio was Kay.  I know what he means to her, so sending my condolences.

 

Such a lovely, nice thing to say.  Thank you very much.  Read this last week but was in a pool of tears so couldn't reply.  Meant a lot though.  

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On 11/17/2016 at 1:49 PM, -Sussudio- said:

I have never really listened to Adam Cohen's music and the one or two songs I have heard I've not been that impressed with in all honesty, however, since the release of Leonard's latest album I have much enjoyed hearing Adam Cohen in interviews discussing it. The way he speaks and constructs his sentences, he is definitely his father's son. 

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this on The Guardian website this evening. An extract from a book called My Old Man in which Adam Cohen writes a few paragraphs on his father and their relationship.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/live/2016/nov/11/leonard-cohen-death-tributes-singer-songwriter-live

I’ve had a very normal relationship with my father, with the exception that he’s terribly well known and, so it’s said, one of the most important writers in his domain.

Like all sons, I have found the relationship has added layers to itself over time. These days, my relationship with him is just looking in a mirror and consulting with him. Hearing the timbre of his voice in my own. Body posture, mannerisms, ethics, morals, linguistics. All the deep imprintings that are there either from socio-genetics or, if you were to be cruel, parroting. Whatever the reason, I throw my arms around the lifestyle I was given.

My father made a remarkable effort – and one that I am much more impressed with now as a family man myself – to remain in his children’s lives despite a less-than-perfect breakup with my mother. I always saw him. He was always around. He always made gigantic efforts. There was even a time when he wasn’t allowed on the property; to circumnavigate that, he bought a trailer and put it at the T where the dirt road of our house in the south of France connected to the municipal road, and we would walk up the dirt road. A lot was imparted by that. From Los Angeles to the south of France was no small journey. We spent all our holidays with him. Every winter we would go to Montreal and every summer we would go to Greece.

There was always laughter. Despite his notoriety for, I quote, “having a voice like the bottom of an ashtray”, for being “the prince of darkness”, for being famed for his lugubriousness, he is one of the most quick-witted men, and he is generous with his humour. The guy is hilarious. I’ve gone into the family business, and we get a tremendous amount of laughter out of that. Hanging out with him is the best, whether it’s over a tuna sandwich or on the front stoop of his house. He doesn’t like to move much, having been a touring man his whole life. He does love being sedentary.

I’ve learned a lot from him on that stoop. The main inspiration that his life provides is a dedication to his craft. He has an old-world view of it. It’s not the notion of instantaneous success that exists in new generations. His whole life has been a demonstration of the opposite. I remember something he told me when I was 16 and starting to take songwriting seriously. He said there’s a moment when you’re blocked on a song, or on any work, and it’s only when you’re about to quit having put much, much more time than you planned into it that the work begins. That’s when you’ve crossed the threshold of being on the right track. But the nature of my dialogue with him is nearly always instruction. From the manner in which we should greet someone about whom we have reservations, to gender relationships, to the proper dosage of mustard and mayonnaise. We talk about women all the time, too, and, if I may, out of privacy, I’ll keep that princely wisdom to myself. It’s a long-running and possibly incomplete transmission.

We’ve never really fallen out. We’ve had a series of minor misunderstandings that were corrected, and actually served to provide better understanding in the long run. When you have someone in your family who is in such demand, and from whom you derive a sense of identity because of the nature of your relationship, you can start to become covetous of the amount of time spent with that person. There are times when, no question, I wish we had been able to spend more time together.

You want to know some secrets about Leonard Cohen? Here’s the dirt. He loves George Jones and Hank Williams. He travels with one small suitcase. Many of his impeccable suits are actually threadbare. He’s only about 5ft 8in, despite that giant baritone. He awakens at four in the morning and blackens pages every single day of his life. He cuts his own hair. He will find a patch of sun anywhere and sit in it, like a big cat, following that sliver wherever it goes. Although he no longer smokes, there is nothing he would rather do. He makes the best tuna salad I’ve ever had – he seems to have a knack for that. He loves making food for people, in fact. He spends a lot of time in the kitchen. He’s probably the best-known short-order chef in the world.”

1280.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f

Brilliant. And yes, so much his father's son.

Precious picture too.

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On 2016/11/17 at 8:49 PM, -Sussudio- said:

I have never really listened to Adam Cohen's music and the one or two songs I have heard I've not been that impressed with in all honesty, however, since the release of Leonard's latest album I have much enjoyed hearing Adam Cohen in interviews discussing it. The way he speaks and constructs his sentences, he is definitely his father's son. 

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this on The Guardian website this evening. An extract from a book called My Old Man in which Adam Cohen writes a few paragraphs on his father and their relationship.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/live/2016/nov/11/leonard-cohen-death-tributes-singer-songwriter-live

I’ve had a very normal relationship with my father, with the exception that he’s terribly well known and, so it’s said, one of the most important writers in his domain.

Like all sons, I have found the relationship has added layers to itself over time. These days, my relationship with him is just looking in a mirror and consulting with him. Hearing the timbre of his voice in my own. Body posture, mannerisms, ethics, morals, linguistics. All the deep imprintings that are there either from socio-genetics or, if you were to be cruel, parroting. Whatever the reason, I throw my arms around the lifestyle I was given.

My father made a remarkable effort – and one that I am much more impressed with now as a family man myself – to remain in his children’s lives despite a less-than-perfect breakup with my mother. I always saw him. He was always around. He always made gigantic efforts. There was even a time when he wasn’t allowed on the property; to circumnavigate that, he bought a trailer and put it at the T where the dirt road of our house in the south of France connected to the municipal road, and we would walk up the dirt road. A lot was imparted by that. From Los Angeles to the south of France was no small journey. We spent all our holidays with him. Every winter we would go to Montreal and every summer we would go to Greece.

There was always laughter. Despite his notoriety for, I quote, “having a voice like the bottom of an ashtray”, for being “the prince of darkness”, for being famed for his lugubriousness, he is one of the most quick-witted men, and he is generous with his humour. The guy is hilarious. I’ve gone into the family business, and we get a tremendous amount of laughter out of that. Hanging out with him is the best, whether it’s over a tuna sandwich or on the front stoop of his house. He doesn’t like to move much, having been a touring man his whole life. He does love being sedentary.

I’ve learned a lot from him on that stoop. The main inspiration that his life provides is a dedication to his craft. He has an old-world view of it. It’s not the notion of instantaneous success that exists in new generations. His whole life has been a demonstration of the opposite. I remember something he told me when I was 16 and starting to take songwriting seriously. He said there’s a moment when you’re blocked on a song, or on any work, and it’s only when you’re about to quit having put much, much more time than you planned into it that the work begins. That’s when you’ve crossed the threshold of being on the right track. But the nature of my dialogue with him is nearly always instruction. From the manner in which we should greet someone about whom we have reservations, to gender relationships, to the proper dosage of mustard and mayonnaise. We talk about women all the time, too, and, if I may, out of privacy, I’ll keep that princely wisdom to myself. It’s a long-running and possibly incomplete transmission.

We’ve never really fallen out. We’ve had a series of minor misunderstandings that were corrected, and actually served to provide better understanding in the long run. When you have someone in your family who is in such demand, and from whom you derive a sense of identity because of the nature of your relationship, you can start to become covetous of the amount of time spent with that person. There are times when, no question, I wish we had been able to spend more time together.

You want to know some secrets about Leonard Cohen? Here’s the dirt. He loves George Jones and Hank Williams. He travels with one small suitcase. Many of his impeccable suits are actually threadbare. He’s only about 5ft 8in, despite that giant baritone. He awakens at four in the morning and blackens pages every single day of his life. He cuts his own hair. He will find a patch of sun anywhere and sit in it, like a big cat, following that sliver wherever it goes. Although he no longer smokes, there is nothing he would rather do. He makes the best tuna salad I’ve ever had – he seems to have a knack for that. He loves making food for people, in fact. He spends a lot of time in the kitchen. He’s probably the best-known short-order chef in the world.”

1280.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f

I posted this on the LC thread on the other side as well, but I thought perhaps it might be appreciated here too:

 

They will speak of my father when he's not around
You'll be hearing his voice like you're hearing it now
And I'll be the son with his father's books and guns
His breath inside my lungs, his words upon my tongue

I'm gonna let myself just fall apart
I'm gonna let myself just fall apart
Something old must end, something new must start
I'm gonna let myself just fall apart

In your house in Montreal, the walls talk back to me
And when I consult a mirror it's both of us I see
And what has begun cannot be undone
Like a bell that has rung for a beloved one

I wanna let myself just fall apart
I'm gonna let myself just fall apart
Something old must end, something new must start
I'm gonna let myself just fall apart

Na na na na na na...

I will speak like my father when he's not around
You'll be hearing his voice like you're hearing it now

Something old must end
So that something new can start
I'm gonna let myself just fall apart
I wanna let myself just fall apart
I'm gonna let myself
Fall apart

Na na na na na na...

I will speak like my father
When he's not around
You'll be hearing his voice
Like you're hearing it now

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I'm back to a bit teary eyed.  Have been spinnin' this over and over, might have been a bit of a hit for Len but when you dissect the lyrics, they're incredible:

 

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My girlfriend still cannot listen to any Len.  I understand it, completely, but shockingly I've been the opposite.  Normally I'm the avoidant one. 

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On November 26, 2016 at 3:18 AM, Kay said:

So beautiful:

 

She was my "gateway drug" to him, 50 years ago now, reading liner notes to see who wrote that special song. 

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On 11/17/2016 at 1:49 PM, -Sussudio- said:

I have never really listened to Adam Cohen's music and the one or two songs I have heard I've not been that impressed with in all honesty, however, since the release of Leonard's latest album I have much enjoyed hearing Adam Cohen in interviews discussing it. The way he speaks and constructs his sentences, he is definitely his father's son. 

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this on The Guardian website this evening. An extract from a book called My Old Man in which Adam Cohen writes a few paragraphs on his father and their relationship.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/live/2016/nov/11/leonard-cohen-death-tributes-singer-songwriter-live

I’ve had a very normal relationship with my father, with the exception that he’s terribly well known and, so it’s said, one of the most important writers in his domain.

Like all sons, I have found the relationship has added layers to itself over time. These days, my relationship with him is just looking in a mirror and consulting with him. Hearing the timbre of his voice in my own. Body posture, mannerisms, ethics, morals, linguistics. All the deep imprintings that are there either from socio-genetics or, if you were to be cruel, parroting. Whatever the reason, I throw my arms around the lifestyle I was given.

My father made a remarkable effort – and one that I am much more impressed with now as a family man myself – to remain in his children’s lives despite a less-than-perfect breakup with my mother. I always saw him. He was always around. He always made gigantic efforts. There was even a time when he wasn’t allowed on the property; to circumnavigate that, he bought a trailer and put it at the T where the dirt road of our house in the south of France connected to the municipal road, and we would walk up the dirt road. A lot was imparted by that. From Los Angeles to the south of France was no small journey. We spent all our holidays with him. Every winter we would go to Montreal and every summer we would go to Greece.

There was always laughter. Despite his notoriety for, I quote, “having a voice like the bottom of an ashtray”, for being “the prince of darkness”, for being famed for his lugubriousness, he is one of the most quick-witted men, and he is generous with his humour. The guy is hilarious. I’ve gone into the family business, and we get a tremendous amount of laughter out of that. Hanging out with him is the best, whether it’s over a tuna sandwich or on the front stoop of his house. He doesn’t like to move much, having been a touring man his whole life. He does love being sedentary.

I’ve learned a lot from him on that stoop. The main inspiration that his life provides is a dedication to his craft. He has an old-world view of it. It’s not the notion of instantaneous success that exists in new generations. His whole life has been a demonstration of the opposite. I remember something he told me when I was 16 and starting to take songwriting seriously. He said there’s a moment when you’re blocked on a song, or on any work, and it’s only when you’re about to quit having put much, much more time than you planned into it that the work begins. That’s when you’ve crossed the threshold of being on the right track. But the nature of my dialogue with him is nearly always instruction. From the manner in which we should greet someone about whom we have reservations, to gender relationships, to the proper dosage of mustard and mayonnaise. We talk about women all the time, too, and, if I may, out of privacy, I’ll keep that princely wisdom to myself. It’s a long-running and possibly incomplete transmission.

We’ve never really fallen out. We’ve had a series of minor misunderstandings that were corrected, and actually served to provide better understanding in the long run. When you have someone in your family who is in such demand, and from whom you derive a sense of identity because of the nature of your relationship, you can start to become covetous of the amount of time spent with that person. There are times when, no question, I wish we had been able to spend more time together.

You want to know some secrets about Leonard Cohen? Here’s the dirt. He loves George Jones and Hank Williams. He travels with one small suitcase. Many of his impeccable suits are actually threadbare. He’s only about 5ft 8in, despite that giant baritone. He awakens at four in the morning and blackens pages every single day of his life. He cuts his own hair. He will find a patch of sun anywhere and sit in it, like a big cat, following that sliver wherever it goes. Although he no longer smokes, there is nothing he would rather do. He makes the best tuna salad I’ve ever had – he seems to have a knack for that. He loves making food for people, in fact. He spends a lot of time in the kitchen. He’s probably the best-known short-order chef in the world.”

1280.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f

Brilliant. And yes, so much his father's son.

Precious picture too.

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Thank you @JimCT for quoting my post because it caused me to re-read Adam Cohen's words on his father and a certain paragraph has helped me. My ex-partner has my child and I'm used as a babysitter, I see her maybe once or twice a week and am not allowed her overnight. No particular reason, just malice it seems. I didn't want to go down this route by I equipped myself with a lawyer to propose having my daughter overnight for at least once a week with additional afternoon visits. This was rejected by my daughter's mother and now I've been asked whether I want to take her to court or not. I don't want to but I think I will have to. This situation has been occupying the majority of my thoughts day-in-day-out. These words from Adam Cohen regarding Leonard have brought my comfort.

"My father made a remarkable effort – and one that I am much more impressed with now as a family man myself – to remain in his children’s lives despite a less-than-perfect breakup with my mother. I always saw him. He was always around. He always made gigantic efforts. There was even a time when he wasn’t allowed on the property; to circumnavigate that, he bought a trailer and put it at the T where the dirt road of our house in the south of France connected to the municipal road, and we would walk up the dirt road. A lot was imparted by that. "

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What a wonderful track - I only repost as I have been working on this today.

 

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Note to self: don't listen to teh brilliance of Take This Waltz when you're grieving coz you gotta hear such genius as :

 There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears

Whole song is so brilliant. 

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This has just been uploaded today on Leonard's official YouTube account. Lyric video for Traveling Light - asides from it being one of the highlights on the album, it also opens up with some footage of Leonard Cohen talking about how strong but weak he is.

"The lyric video for "Traveling Light” is a beautiful memorial of Leonard Cohen, created by You Want It Darker album collaborator Sammy Slabbinck under the guidance of Cohen's son and producer Adam Cohen"

 

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Sisters of Mercy was always my favourite LC song...just sheer magical poetry and a gorgeous melody

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