Thursday, January 10, 2013


Three Stories About Leonard Cohen

...who has added a bunch of new tour dates.

1. My little brother works at a Tim Hortons in Ottawa, because Canadians, and one of his customers gave him two tickets to see Leonard Cohen, who he did not know from a hole in the ground. And he emailed my mom and I to say "do you know anyone in Ottawa who might want to see Leonard Cohen?" and we yelled at him and said, oh, my God, you idiot, go see Leonard Cohen.

So he got a little drunk and went to see Leonard Cohen alone, as one does, and it was a transformative emotional experience.

2. This one.

3. I cannot find the interview, but I remember him saying he didn't really like to perform "Bird on the Wire," the greatest song of all time, because people forget that songs are rooted in singers' lives, sometimes, and when you say "I swear by this song / And all the things I've done wrong / I'll make it all up to thee," and it turns out you didn't, you don't necessarily want to go around proclaiming it for the rest of your life.

Maybe you should go?

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Oh god Leonard Cohen, I do understand you about "Bird On a Wire" because I can't actually play the entire album (Songs from a Room) anymore because every single song is so emotionally loaded and crushing for me--and I'm not even the one who wrote it!

Obviously Leonard Cohen and I are soul mates and he should probably come to Boston to sing to me.


Thanks for sharing it. Amazing! @j


Is it weird that I want to know WHICH Tim Hortons in Ottawa?


Oh god, LC. I give you, Teddy Thompson (Richard's son!) singing Tonight Will be Fine rehearsing for that tribute concert that time. And Julie Christensen, Cohen's old backup, coming to him in tears after. Oh god.



The matchings of artists and songs for that concert were uniformly fabulous. (Thompson KILLED doing The Future, too.)


Whelp, C. loves Leonard Cohen, so I guess we're going! Maybe bop up to Milwaukee for the Friday show and make a weekend of it?


I saw him in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago, and let me tell you, he's still got it. I would have a May-December with him any day.


My mom had a date with Leonard in the late 60's. My mom was gorgeous and recently divorced from my father. She was introduced to Leonard Cohen at a party, and then they went on a date. I was excited about that as I was a teen and a fan of his early stuff. But the date didn't go that well. My mom said he seemed to take it for granted that they would wind up at his hotel room because he was famous, and she felt insulted. She was not that kind of girl!


@Trilby Ahaaaa, I knew it I knew it! I've always had trouble appreciating Leonard Cohen because in spite of his talent, he reminds me of the famous version of a lot of the most asshole-ish guys I've known, the artistic/intellectual ones who give off an aura of Great Depths and Compassion but once you actually spend time with them they turn out to be complete jackasses.


@werewolfbarmitzvah What's the point of being artistically inclined and having Great Depths and Compassion if you can't get a blowie out of it now and then??


I'm totally going try to get tickets to the Victoria show. I went last time he was here and it was unreal. He puts on an amazing show, and not even just for his age!


At the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, no less! What a name!

More generally, these are some interesting locales. Saint John, Regina, and Tampa? Perhaps the spaced-out dates mean he's aiming to fill in the gaps later?

Mad Dog

@annebee I came out of lurkerdom just to say that I also saw Leonard Cohen a few years ago at the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre and it was a transcendent experience. I am jealous I no longer live in Victoria, otherwise I would totally go!


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I know I know. It used to be the Memorial Arena and it was super run down and '50s and awesome.

But yes the dates and locations definitely seem like they were picked kind of randomly? But maybe not?


Seriously, do Canadians really say "foods"? If so, maybe this will be my new word for any meal! "No, looks delicious, thanks, but I already had foods."


@annebee As long as we're talking venues for this tour, it looks like the Oakland date is at the Paramount Theatre, the same place I saw Leonard Cohen back in...2009? Anyway, it's a gorgeous art-deco theatre and I couldn't think of a more perfect place to see Leonard, so anyone who is waffling about buying tickets should know that it's pretty small (seats about 3,000) and absolutely beautiful.

This is my new username

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll We do not say "Foods" as far as I am aware. I am not sure why the store is named like that come to think of it.

I saw the lovely Leonard Cohen when he was in Edmonton and it was amazing. He made Rexall Place feel like an intimate venue somehow. I normally hate concerts there, so that is quite a feat.

Hiroine Protagonist

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll

It's a supermarket chain, owned by a billionaire. A union busting billionaire. We usually just call it Save On. I googled briefly and can't find out the name origins, perhaps a cutesy marketing ploy from the early 80s. We don't say foods. Well, it's not correct anyway.

This is my new username

@Hiroine Protagonist Really? I have not heard about this? This is unfortunate because the Save-On-Foods is so conveniently close to my house :(

I smell burnt toast

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I think 'Foods' is used almost exclusively in the context of grocery stores, like Whole Foods. But your use of Foods in a sentence made me laugh.

Hiroine Protagonist

@This is my new username

Jimmy Pattison - also owner of Overwaitea. Let's race to the bottom!

sorry for the convenience

@yeah-elle Yes! I saw him at the Paramount as well. One of the best experiences of my life, period. I strongly urge anyone considering it to buy tickets for this show! I may skip a few meals so I can afford a ticket.


I've seen him twice - on the last major tour. Once in Victoria at the Save-On and once in Vancouver at GM/Rogers. @Mad Dog, I think we saw the same show.

The morning after the Victoria show I had the pleasure of missing a Harbour Air flight home to Vancouver due to him and his entourage booking up all the seats. I wasn't so mad after I had the chance to squeeze past him on the narrow walkway down to the dock. I was so starstruck I forgot to ask him to marry me. I did get to compliment Sharon Robinson on her fabulousness though, as I had recovered from the Leonard fever by the time I walked by her in the parking lot. I ended up on the ferry that afternoon. Stupid ferry.


I've seen LC live twice, and twice it was AMAZING. He is incredible and so, so, sooo sexy.


Thanks so much for posting this. I'm terrible about keeping up with live show happenings. My mom has been telling me for years to listen to Leonard Cohen. I finally took her advice a while ago and have become a fan. I hope the NYC tickets don't sell out.


Oh god, I love Leonard Cohen so much. I saw him live a few years ago and it was incredible. I took my mom (who introduced me to his music) and we both wept a little with happiness.

Also whenever I visit home and we listen to him, my dad rolls his eyes and goes, "ugh, the moaner, again?"


@yeah-elle My mother doesn't believe Leonard Cohen knows that there are multiple notes in music. She has imitated him in the past by making a weird droning sound until I begged her to stop.

Clearly my teenage self was right when suspecting that my mother does not appreciate genius.

Nicole Cliffe

"Moooooom." (eye roll)


@yeah-elle "the moaner" laughing forever

This is my new username

@yeah-elle I actually feel like his singing has gotten significantly better in recent years.


Can anyone tell me the backstory behind "Bird on the Wire" and who he did not make it up to?


@wealhtheow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_on_the_Wire


@Heidi I checked that first! That and a simple google search has told me nothing.

Sam Farley @twitter

A friend from school, Spencer Gordon, recently published a book "Cosmo" that has a story with Leonard Cohen as the protagonist, eating at Subway. Cohen fans just found out about it and have been giving him shit. But I know Spencer has been a Cohen fanatic since forever. "Beautiful Losers" is crazy.

Mad Dog

I think one of my favourite things about the Leonard Cohen show I saw (other than the fact that he goes for HOURS, like how does he do that is he magic?!?!) is the excellent mix of age ranges present. Twentysomethings, fiftysomethings and seventysomethings unite! Unite in your love of this hopelessly romantic curmudgeon!


I once dated a guy whose mother was taking a grad degree in English at University of Alberta in the 1970s, and the professor knew Leonard Cohen and had him to come lecture for a class. Afterward, Leonard invited all teh students back to his hotel room to continue talking. And at one point, Leonard Cohen decided he wanted to take a bath. So this guy's mom ended up sitting on the toilet, talking literature with Leonard Cohen, while he took a bath and outside, everyone else in the class talked and drank and smoked. Amazing. I wanted to marry that guy for a brief moment in time, mostly because of his amazing family.

Also, the song "Sisters of Mercy" is about a threesome with two nurses, which took place in Edmonton.


Heard in an interview he'd forgotten who Famous Blue Raincoat was about. Now that is some crowded years.


My Dad went to high school with Leonard Cohen. He was the grade behind him in school in Montreal. I saw his picture in my Dad's yearbook and was all OMG. I then had to convince my Dad that he is now famous. I still don't think he believes me.

Stacy Worst

Growing up, my parents would talk about this girl from high school who "went around with Leonard Cohen". The way they said it I could tell it meant a lot of things: beautiful, bohemian, and a little bit doomed.

Anyway, in case you haven't watched this:


Nicole Cliffe

I would go around with him so hard his voice would get better.


In 1993 Leonard Cohen told an audience of fans in Atlanta that me and my then-boyfriend were "a glowing and exemplary couple." Still in the top 5, days-of-my-life-wise. We were 18.

(there's audio of the patter and a photo of the three of us, and those are top 5s, too, things-that-exist-wise)

Hiroine Protagonist

Obligatory Leonard Cohen story. At the peak of my obsession at age 16, I attended a concert at the Orpheum Theatre here in Vancouver. By far the youngest there and annoyed several in our row by "woo"ing - I couldn't help it, I was out of control. We waited around the stage door after and he came out and he signed my t-shirt and kissed me and said his daughter had the same name. I died. Or I though I had. I really died a month later when my mom WASHED THE SHIRT which took off the silver felt he'd used. I'm a ghost now.


thus begins a binge of Leonard Cohen (amongst trying to figure out where in my computer all the stuff I have is!) and the cementing of plans to take a road trip to the Bay Area in the spring! If Oakland is the closest he's gonna get, I'll get to Oakland.


The first time I saw Leonard Cohen in LA I was blown away. Here is a 78 year old being a consummate professional, and playing everything that has put him on the map. Friday, I am buying I found tickets from Ticketsinventory.com for when he comes to Dallas. Can't wait.


Tim Hortons in Ottawa, because Canadians, and one of his customers gave him two tickets to see Leonard Cohen, who he did not know from a hole in the ground. Business Listings


Leonard Cohen is a mysterious man as I know. But he is popular too. He is talented.aggrand fertilizer

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