If you can sell your anguish, that's probably the best thing you can do with anguish.
— Wyeth Ruthven (@wyethwire) November 11, 2016
From the Rolling Stone story MisterMix posted earlier:
… “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”…
“I never had the sense that there was an end,” he said in 1992. “That there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot.”…
The final act of Cohen’s career began in 2005, when Lorca Cohen began to suspect her father’s longtime manager, Kelley Lynch, of embezzling funds from his retirement account. In fact, Lynch had robbed Cohen of more than $5 million. To replenish the fund, Cohen undertook an epic world tour during which he would perform 387 shows from 2008 to 2013. He continued to record as well, releasing Old Ideas (2012) and Popular Problems, which hit U.S. shops a day after his eightieth birthday. “[Y]ou depend on a certain resilience that is not yours to command, but which is present,” he told Rolling Stone upon its release. “And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted.”…
Along with my deep sadness, I’m embarrassed that our country just showed its frog-belly-white arse so gleefully in front of this man, by electing (with an asterisk) the kind of gaudy shouting grifter Leonard Cohen had warned us about for so many years. It’s not the worst thing about Tuesday’s debacle, nor will it be the last insult, but for me it’s one more irritant and sorrow.
I am stubborn as those garbage bags/That time will not decay
— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) November 11, 2016
Major Major Major Major
Leonard Cohen has gone home.
I’ve been weepy all evening, listening to his voice and thinking.
Just got a text from my wife, who’s out of town: “Trump is tweeting again.”
Burning in our national hell isn’t going to be fun, but it might be funny.
Jay-zuss, just heard him on Terry Gross a couple weeks ago, on the occasion of his new album. Old interview, from 2006, it turns out.* Still, WTF.
2016 really does blow chunks.
*Edited to correct wrong assumption (that it was a recent interview).
I mean, Jesus, the election was just a few days ago, and it’s already time to invoke Amendment XXV? He’s not even president yet!
Leaving now to invest in popcorn futures.
Leonard Cohen’s Prince Of Asturias Speech
At 6:27 of the clip, Leonard tells a very moving story of a man who gave him guitar lessons. Leonard Cohen was a class act and I’m glad that he graced us with his presence.
Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ Is A Family Affair
From the locally produced here in Philadelphia World Cafe, an interview with Adam Cohen regarding the recording and production of Leonard Cohen’s recently released album. And some father and son relationship discussion as well.
I learned about Leonard Cohen when I was 17 (1969) via Judy Collins’ recordings of his early songs. “Suzanne”, “The sisters of mercy”, and “That’s no way to say goodbye” are so deeply etched into the grooves of my brain that they will undoubtedly be among the last things to go.
Jonathan Coulton covers “Famous Blue Raincoat”
Tribute from the Nerd Side of the Force.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym
The anger is starting to recede. Unfortunately, what’s replacing it is panic attacks at the thought of restarting the job search process. I can’t handle this. I somehow need to stop thinking about it while also putting a plan together for how I’m going to do it once I reach the point where I absolutely have to start looking for a new job.
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I hear you, man.
I only heard this one for the first time tonight. :(
Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
I feel fortunate to have seen Cohen three times during his recent tours. He was an extraordinarily generous, witty, clever, compassionate songwriter and performer; a great teacher; and so obviously a mensch. Zecher tzadik livracha.
In the current environment, money made in popcorn futures is tainted.
Died too soon double feature: the Jennifer Warnes recording of “First We Take Manhattan” features Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar.
“Jane came by with a lock of your hair …”
Major Major Major Major
This is my favorite Leonard Cohen recording. Leonard Cohen and Sonny Rollins doing “Who By Fire”.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
@Major Major Major Major: Also reposted from below: For the past couple of years, our synagogue has had a boy soprano from our congregation sing this as part of our Yom Kippur service. I heard it again during these past High Holy Days and again it gave me chills. I suspect this was his last year of being able to perform it that way, but I wish for him that, like Cohen, his voice ever changes and grows but never diminishes. It’s been such a gift to hear Cohen’s genius endlessly transmitted and transmuted through the voices of so many artists over the decades.
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym: I’m right there with you, though for me, anger is way, way too close to the surface still. After a year of looking, I have a temp job (that a friend got me). I’d been at home, taking care of my son, for 24 years; when he passed a year ago, I had to start job hunting, and, as I’m 54, it has not gone well at all. Now, with an almost certain downturn in the economy, I’m more scared than ever.
I got in a fight with a couple of old ladies at the grocery store today, and I am not in any way a confrontational person. But they were walking by me, verbally high-fiving each other about Deadbeat Donnie’s election, (which I heroically ignored), when one of them said “And Melania will be a wonderful first lady, not like that THING who’s there now.” HELL NO YOU DID NOT GO THERE.. I blasted them for their racism and ignorance, for Mel’s naked girl-on-girl pics, for her illegal entry and work, and more. Told them that Melania, or any Trump, wasn’t fit to weed Michelle’s garden.
I know I didn’t change their awful, shitty, moronic little minds, but I was really glad I didn’t bite my tongue and let it pass, either. A Hispanic lady in the aisle with her 2 little kids gave me a thumbs-up.
In retrospect, the only place I went too far was saying that while Michelle has an Ivy League degree and a successful career, as well as being an incredible, inspirational First Lady, the only noteworthy thing Melania has done is fuck a checkbook for 15 years. That may have been uncouth.
@Major Major Major Major: Perfect – and thank you again. Also reposting on a new thread a letter I wrote to Leonard Cohen last August, and his manager told me that he would receive and read it. I think it bears repeating in these times, and as we listen to his music. I am so grateful that I acted on that strong impulse to thank him.
Major Major Major Major
@seaboogie: That’s lovely, thanks for sharing. I’m sure he enjoyed reading your words :)
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: That was so beautifully stated, and thank you for sharing again. I reposted myself on a more active thread because I wanted those here who appreciate Leonard’s work to know that he has received a direct expression of gratitude from one in our cohort – and on behalf of all of us – he knows and did know.
Sounds about right.
It sure does feel like a lot of the remaining good is leaking out of the world…..
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym:
Is your current job in jeopardy?
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: I realized recently that I have a cover of “Suzanne” by a group that had a couple of hits in 1967, Spanky and the Gang. It’s an LP and has been played so much by me when I was 17 and later by my kids out of curiosity and amusement at what Mom thought was good.
A few years ago I took a series of Anatomy drawing classes from the same teacher and she played Leonard Cohen recordings while we sketched nude models and skeletal details and other fun stuff. The one song that really stuck with me was his recording of “Dance Me to the End of Love”. I think the movie “Shrek” was the first time I’d heard “Alleluia” and yes, everyone knows that one, but I do like it.
@cckids: Good for you.
@cckids: It had to be said.
Virtual thumbs up here. I’ve been in a running battle with my Trump-voting cousin on Facebook. She doesn’t seem to like that I keep pointing out that she deliberately chose the candidate who was screeching hate and division, so she doesn’t get to complain that people are being so mean and divisive. She was the country she voted for, and now she’s getting it.
Also, I must have missed the news about your son. I’m so sorry. I know it was not unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
@Mnemosyne: I am semi-cheered by all the buyer”s remorse I am hearing about. Maybe we can peel off a few more that way.
But from what I’ve seen, Trump voters are impervious to facts. And when they are the ones suffering, they blame liberals.
Still: WE MUST MAKE THEM OWN THIS.
I had just popped the recent Criterion release of McCabe and Mrs. Miller into my computer when I read the news of Leonard Cohen’s passing, an irony that I imagine would have amused Leonard.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym
@Steeplejack (tablet): No, but it doesn’t provide health insurance. As soon as the Republicans repeal the ACA, I won’t be able to get it on the individual market, because of pre-existing conditions. So, I’ll need to find a job that has acceptable health insurance.
I like my current job. I don’t want to leave. And, after spending eight years unemployed and unsuccessfully applying for jobs, I can’t face going back on the job market. As I said, I had honest to god panic attacks when I started trying to do the most basic things, like opening my resume to look for changes to make.
When I was eighteen, I was watching a show that had a bunch of different bands & artists playing (3 or 4 a night, I think), hosted by Jools Holland and David Sanborn. I wasn’t particularly grabbed by anything, until this slightly cheesy synthesizer & electronic drum riff started playing. And then a low voice started singing, and I looked up from my book and just stared at the tv for the next five minutes or so. This was the performance: Leonard Cohen singing Tower of Song. Went out and bought the album (I’m Your Man, of course) within a day or two, and when I asked my Dad, he dug out a couple of his albums from the late 60s/early 70s. Love his poetry, and the simplicity of the music. A great artist. I wish my lyrics could be half as good as what he wrote.
I am your fan forever.
@seaboogie: Beautiful, beautiful letter. It must have touched him deeply.
My dad did some printing work for Stan Laurel, back when Laurel was elderly and living in a small apartment in Santa Monica. Dad said that he spontaneously said to him, “You have given me many hours of happiness.” Dad said he got the impression that Laurel truly appreciated hearing that. (Laurel sent Dad a thank-you letter for the printing job, which I still have.)
It is important to thank them, and you did so magnificently.
I was 14 when Leonard Cohen’s voice first entered my consciousness, thanks to the prescient, last gasp of 80s teen movies. Most people don’t remember Pump Up The Volume, but it opened with Mr. Cohen’s Everybody Knows and the two are permanently linked in my mind. Everybody Knows and If It Be Your Will have been on almost every playlist I’ve ever made since. _Various_Positions_ and _I’m_Your_Man_ were the third and fourth cassettes and some of the first CDs I ever bought, after wearing out the cassettes. I ate a lot of dishrag soup and fridge scrapings to afford that food for my soul, and it was worth every penny.
In 1990, I was already a synth-pop fan, to the extent that synth-pop was available on the one Top 40 rock station available in markets too small to have more than one rock station, often too small to even have cable deep enough to hit MTV. (So yes, I had a deeply unnatural affection for Eurythmics, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Culture Club, Pet Shop Boys and anything not a hair band. Still do.) But that film was my introduction to punk, thrash, rap and the NYC art music scene (LC, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, et al). I was a non-Mormon, bookish, introverted, geeky girl living in an extremely Mormon, oppressive town with a pair of abusive narcissists whose dysfunctional dual orbit was rapidly decaying. That movie and its music also prompted me to spend a lot of time at my ham-radio operator grandfather’s elbow, learning the basics of shortwave, and with my WWII ballistics computer grandmother, who had bought an Amiga when she retired and taught me to code, because she wrote the code my grandfather used on his radios. That movie, that soundtrack, those songs, probably saved my life, and certainly my sanity and sense of self. Between the VHS tape that I definitely wore out, the 486 and the shortwave I got for my next birthday/Christmas, the world started opening up for me. It got wider the next year when I spent a metric fuckton of babysitting money on a modem and found a local BBS. I never had AOL, because I could never afford it and it required a credit card, which I didn’t have. I never had a pirate radio station (though I’m strongly considering rebuilding my set, given circumstances) because my generation had another option. In many ways, PUTV shaped a lot of us late Xers and influenced us to build an internet that was open and accessible. And though I am past 40, long past the youthful rebellion of needing to say shit and fuck and damn on the air because that’s the only response available, there is a part of me that will not be silent, that delights in rocking the boat in which I sit, who is not willing to cede the Constitution to the “kind of phony in politics who wears a wig.”
Leonard Cohen shaped me politically, in subtle and deep ways I still can’t define. He influenced my technological skills. His words gave me a voice.
And so I hope there is an afterlife. And I pray that David Bowie was waiting, and there is one glory of a jam in their dimension this night. Sing us the light, if it be your will.
I read something that Melania was supposed to have said (it may not be true, but it sounds like it could be) when asked if she would have married Trump if he hadn’t been rich. Her response: “Would he have married me if I weren’t beautiful.” (Or words to that effect.) That sounds like the kind of vacuousness that I’d expect from a Trump.
I suppose the wise investor would be investing in tacky furnishings in anticipation of Donald redecorating the White House. The paintings of former presidents will have to go to make room for Donald’s portraits of himself. I mean, he’s probably already the greatest president on American history.
@CZanne: Pump Up the Volume was a good movie, and it had an awesome soundtrack. Sounds like I’m a few years older than you, but access to non-mainstream music was a lifesaver for me as well, in my deadly dull conformist outer-Chicago suburb in the 1980s. Nothing unnatural about an affection for Depeche Mode – they’re still making good music, unlike most bands that have been together that long.
@cckids: You were amazingly calm.
@CZanne: That was lovely. Your image of Bowie and Cohen jamming is comforting.
@Jack Canuck: I rediscovered Depeche Mode recently, and am programming a Pandora channel to indulge in this direction.
@cckids: Couth is way, waayyyyy, overrated – go you!
@Emerald: An expression of gratitude is never wasted; it is like throwing a stone into a lake or pond – the resounding “ka-thunk”, and the ripples that follow and change the shoreline – almost imperceptibly – a few grains of sand at a time.
@WereBear: New album coming out next spring. The last one was good, so high hopes for the next as well.
@CZanne: That was how I found Leonard Cohen too — and purchased my first Leonard Cohen album (cassette probably). We didn’t have cable/MTV at our house, and Alaska was not doing college radio stations or anything that might have exposed me to interesting music. My mother had the cheesiest taste in music, awful, so that was never going to introduce me to interesting music. It was purely down to what I heard in movies or what older & more interesting teens were listening to.
I’ve got thousands of CDs now, and I rarely take them out to listen, because everything gets buried in our small house and getting out CDs seems to be too much hassle. A few months ago I discovered that my amazon prime membership allowed me the streaming music option (free) and I’ve found so much new music to love.
One of the most beautiful things about all art, though we’re talking music on this thread, is that the artists and the art that they produce and share with us is never really gone.
Donald Trump elected president and Leonard Cohen dies. Some will say it’s coincidence.
@cckids: Late to thread, but I love you.
If you have a chance to read it, there’s a beautiful long form essay in a recent New Yorker Magazine by editor David Remnick.
What a soulful, suave deep, deep man.
And even in his 80s could take a knee and sell a song.
We’ll not see another of his kind pass this way again.