Wednesday 25 April 2018

Everybody knows the war is over, everybody knows the good guys lost

We'll miss Leonard Cohen's charm and mischief, and his dispatches from the Tower of Song

Leonard Cohen pictured performing in 2013 Photo: AP
Leonard Cohen pictured performing in 2013 Photo: AP
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

There are memories tumbling out of the closet for so many of us this weekend. Because Leonard Cohen wasn't someone you just picked up by osmosis, or picked up through the radio, though maybe in latter years, as Hallelujah becomes destroyed by X Factor winners and vocal histrionics, he was.

But in my time, you were introduced to Cohen. You had to meet the right people, and they would be surprised and then delighted that you were inexperienced. And they would watch you as they popped your cherry, exhorting you to listen, to really listen. There might be a joint, and typically there would be the cliched red wine.

A bit like Leonard himself, I came to his music relatively late in life. I remember two introductions, both in my late teens. Staying at the house of a friend's older sister in Cambridge, and she had The Best of Leonard Cohen, which covered what was then regarded as his golden period up to 1975. Who knew in 1975 what was to come, for 40 more years?

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