Leonard and Taxis.

I had an interesting conversation with my father last night.

Having spent the afternoon reluctantly cleaning my studio apartment (while listening to Leonard Cohen’s Limited Edition The Essential Leonard Cohen set) I felt equal parts spent and satisfied with both the album and my efforts.

Pouring myself a glass of wine, I phoned my dear pa par.

We got to talking about Leonard Cohen. I realised I hadn’t mentioned anything to him yet about this project or my motivation for maintaining this blog.  A little note on my old man–  Recently deciding to make some really big life changes himself,  he has undertaken a complete career change and has began driving cabs and undertaking post -graduate studies in intellectual property (and something or other) at university.

Somewhat interested in my project, he mentioned that Leonard doesn’t go down so well in cabs and that most people have the fairly stayed opinion that he’s really fucking depressing. So much so he is often asked to turn him off.

We laughed about this as we both find Leonard Cohen incredibly witty and fail to see what perpetuates this myth of depressive Canadian folk artist as, upon further inspection, the man is a great number of things.

Later that same evening I had a friend over for dinner and used the opportunity to conduct an experiment of sorts.

I invited Leonard to dinner.

And over the course of the meal I came to realise something…

I think an initial conversation with Cohen actually has to be had alone. He won’t demand your attention, you have to listen. And what I began to realise last night was that unless you were really listening, which of course you’re not when you’re talking, you’ll miss everything, comprehending little, perhaps even focusing more on a seemingly tired major chord progression. Depends who you are, I guess.

I think once you’ve had this initial conversation you can tap back in to it under any circumstances, but you have to understand the nature of the narrative first. It has to mean something to you.

Needless to say, after my guest had left I sat crossed legged on the floor with a glass of red and my headphones, listening over and over and over again. Revisiting. Remembering. Laughing.

I think you discover a lot about an artist when you listen to them through headphones. I had no idea, for example how often Cohen uses the Jews in harp in his earlier tracks.

Fitting really.


Photograph taken by Alexandra Coffey: Manhatten 2008.


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