My Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen. My world´s very best singer and poet. Thinker.
Here he is interviewed in Mt.Baldy, the zen monastry where he lived for a few years.

First time I “met” Leonard Cohen, was in a music video for his then new song “I´m your man”.
Hmmm…. I can´t find an official video for the song on Youtube… is my memory failing me?
Has it been a tv programme where they have shown images of him walking whilst we heard his new song?
I don´t know. I think it came out in 1988. Here he is singing it in 2009:

To me back then, at 16 years of age, and still today, it is the ultimate lovesong from a man to a woman.

I bought his album and fell in love with every song on it.
Since then I have bought all his albums, the older ones, and each new one as it arrived.

I have seen him in concert twice in Denmark, 2008 in Århus and 2013 in Odense. Amazing to be in his presence. The energy of the listening audience. The respect he shows his fellow musicians, the warmth in his words between each song. His punctuality, starting every time exactly on the dot as announced, and playing for 3-4 hours, then coming back to gice us more when we can´t stop clapping……. what a man.

One of my very favourite songs of his, is one from his last but one album, Old Ideas (2012).
Called “Going home”.

In this video, he is singing in a hospital in Ireland. Which gives it extra meaning. As I read the lyrics, it´s about going home to the existence after life… The subject changes between God and Leonard, the song is a conversation between the two… “Going home without this costume that I wore… to where it´s better than before… home without my burden, home behind the curtain…”

Here´s my favourite from his newest album, Popular problems. “Born in chains”:

The list of his songs that have moved me deeply and for ever, is so long.
Take this waltz
Dance me to the end of love
In my secret life
Dear Heather
So long Marianne
That´s no way to say goodbye
Famous blue raincoat
Suzanne
Like a bird on a wire
Tower of song
Love itself
The nightingale
A thousand kisses deep

Many more for sure… these are just the ones that come to mind immediately as I try to think of some.

Mostly I have listened to him one album at the time, and listening to the full album through and through.

Like Dear Heather, the album. From 2004. Which was the year I got pregnant for the first time (2.of March) and gave birth to my eldest daughter (22. of November). I listened to this album a LOT throughout the pregnancy and the first year or so of her life.
And when she was born and had nights of unease, unable to sleep, this album would soothe her and make her quiet and relaxed, as she knew it so well from the months inside the womb…

Especially this song, rested deep in my soul in that periode. Also a very difficult time for me, as the relationship with her father was such a complicated one.

Undertow:

Yeah, Leonard Cohen… his music and his words have a special place in my heart, and always will have.
I love his book too, “Book of longing”, with poems and sketches.
And I LOVE the documentary where he has the voice-over; “The Tibetan book of the dead”.
I feel connected to him. Spirit to spirit.

His probably most famous song of all, is this one.

It was to this song, played by a coverband in an Irishbar in Bergen 28/4-07, that I first felt the arms of my now husband, around me. He had asked me to dance during “Living on a prayer” by Bon Jovi, but as we entered the floor, they switched to Hallelujah.
And we smiled and moved closer together and danced the tune. And when they finished playing, we were holding eachother unbelievably close. And we just stood there and did not let go of eachother.
For several minutes, waiting for another song to dance to.
But it was the last song of the night. So we had to let go in the end. Walked outside together and stood talking. Wanted to go to a club, but it was already 03 in the morning and nowhere to go. We agreed he could walk me home. Outside my flat we sat on a park bench for several hours talking and kissing, before I went inside and to bed, and he went back to his hotel room.
We smsed. And he left for Denmark next morning, but returned ten days later to visit me for five days. When he left, my daughter and I jumped on a ferry two days later and came and stayed with him for another ten days.
After that he came to see us as much as he could during that spring and summer, all July for example, joining my Summerholiday of visiting my family and friends around Norway… And in August we went to stay with him in Denmark, not knowing when we would return to Bergen. In January the following year, we decided I would move myself and my daughter, our life to Denmark, to build an everyday life together.

I told him that if Leonard Cohen ever comes to my door and wants to live with me, then he must be allowed to. My husband laughed and said that of course Leonard may stay with us if he wants to, and sleep in our bed with us too, totally fine.
And with that promise secured, I married my beloved.
Whose last name is Leonhardt. And who is a gifted musician with a beautiful, deep voice with which he sings his self made lovesongs to me.

I want my Leonhardt to Dance me to the end of Love.

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2 thoughts on “My Leonard Cohen”

  1. My heart was so moved by this story! And I love Leonard Cohen too. I went to hear him in the north of England in about 1974 when I was in the 6th form. I love him even more now. And my list would look much like yours! Recently I read I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons – quite a tome but worth reading.

    1. Oh, you heard him live in 1974….. you lucky girl….. 🙂 How lovely we share a love for his music and words… I bought myself a biography for my birthday, possibly same title, a thivk one with a lot of photographs in the middle of the book… looking forward to reading it when I get more time to myself. 🙂

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