A tribute to Leonard Cohen, by Johnny Sharp
It’s not all doom and gloom being Leonard Cohen. Having just turned 70, you might assume he’d be staring disconsolately into the abyss of his own physical and mental decline, or at least raging hard against the dying of the light. If so, you’ve got Leonard Cohen wrong, and you’ve had him wrong for years.
Contrary to the popular caricature of Cohen as the messiah of miserablism, the maudlin companion of a million tortured souls, Leonard Cohen’s records have always been peppered with dry humour, philosophical wisdom, and above all, his most abiding obsession – women and sex. The more you listen to Cohen, the more you realise his songs are just as often about finding some company for the bedroom as finding some meaning in the bedsit.
Over the course of 11 studio albums, Cohen has shown himself to have far more in common with lusty old roués like Serge Gainsbourg than any sombre goth stereotype.
Leonard Cohen once explained that he only ever started writing poetry ‘to get a date’. He may have been half-joking, but with Cohen, many a true word is spoken in jest.
“Poetry seemed to be the natural language of women,” he has since explained. “If you wanted to address women, you had to know this language.” He evidently learned that language pretty well, since by the mid …
by Johnny Sharp
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