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So Long, Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has died in California aged 82

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by Lee Paul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: November, 2016
so long, leonard

And now you Leonard.

Leonard Cohen was one of the ones for me. One of the ones that meant something, that meant something could change. When you don't have an older sister or brother or mom or pop into music, when you're a kid and you're beginning to find your own post-punk way beyond daytime radio one, when pop music's immense tapestry begins to roll out afore you, woven near the beginning, if you're lucky, near the top will be The Songs Of Leonard Cohen.

From it's opening moment, where Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river, right up until now, you'll never hear anything else quite like that.

From a room above a bakery where the air was full of the smell of fresh bread, there wrapped in a blanket, in the afternoon, over sugary coffee by a two bar electric fire,  from there to here all down the years,  only separated by distance and time. Suzanne, helped me think about intimacy in a way I hadn't before, Suzanne helped me understand the profundity and the privilege of sharing something someone can feel.  Then the mundane. The whistling of the kettle. The rain on the window outside. No longer certain what to say. More than any poet, Leonard Cohen sang damn sexy songs that's for sure. There's no test of time for The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Whatever, how the hell to eulogize a poet who had all the words to begin with...

I'm still most fond of the story of Leonard Cohen refusing the most important Canadian Governor General's Literary Award and pressed about why, he simply said, with maxed-out eloquence, "I don't know".  There's the whole story here (Mordecai Richler Threatens to Punch Leonard Cohen in the Nose)

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Photo: from Flickr by David Evers

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Lee Paul

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