Leonard Cohen Fan – Who, Me?
I noticed over the past month that, more and more often, sites linking to Heck Of A Guy identified me as a “Leonard Cohen fan.”
Another blogger who is also obviously an LC [Leonard Cohen] fan had the same idea, … .”
A tad more worrisome is the somewhat dismissive tone used in Jubu News at Another Queer Jewish Buddhist in discussing a story, Sarah Jessica Parker: Hollywood’s Newest Jew-Bu?, that was also a topic at Heck Of A Guy:
Whereas over at Heck of A Guy, the focus on the Parker story shifts to Leonard Cohen, who the author is a real fan of.
There are other examples, but you get the idea.
I can’t explain why I was initially surprised about being thus categorized.2 I have not, after all, hidden my thin green candle of Cohenthusiasm under a bushel.
And it’s hardly a problem. That other bloggers acknowledge my genuine interest in an accomplished musician and poet is not altogether unpleasant. At the least, it may distract them from noticing some of my less attractive traits.
Now, however, things are getting out of hand.
The I Love Leonard Cohen Tipping Point
It’s one thing when a random blogger notes that I am, as the youngsters say, into Leonard Cohen. It’s quite another when singer-songwriter, Robin Grey, whose best known song, for goodness sake, is an adoration of Leonard Cohen called I Love Leonard Cohen, responds to my (positive) review of his music with this entry in his own blog:
For those who favor surfing sans graphics, the text follows:
the internet’s biggest leonard cohen fan?
I think I may have been tracked down by the biggest Leonard Cohen fan blogger as a result of my last e.p. referencing the great man – ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’.
His feature is too long to post in full here, so I will leave you to have a look on his site if you fancy a glimpse inside the mind of someone who may even love Leonard Cohen more than me!
The Internet’s biggest Leonard Cohen fan? As a former patient would remark whenever we approached a sensitive issue in his treatment, “You don’t wanna go into that can of worms.”
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being The Biggest Leonard Cohen Fan
Don’t get me wrong. There would be a certain cachet about being known as the Biggest Leonard Cohen Fan. And, with proper representation, the name recognition could well be leveraged into product endorsement deals.
But the downside is significant. For one thing, when I think “fan,” I think “sports fan,” like these guys,
I don’t want to be that guy.
Just in case, however, I have prepared my version of the “John 3:16″ sign that dude with the multi-colored hair habitually displays.3
And the obligations of being the Biggest Leonard Cohen Fan would be daunting – at least for me. Biggest Fans should, one supposes, abstain from creating fictitious biographical data about the object of their fandom such as this excerpt from 10 Unbelievable Secrets About Leonard Cohen:
6. The story about Cohen’s inheritance was a face-saving device. Other than a few dollars earned publishing his poetry and the occasional commission as a model for Karoll’s Red Hanger Shops, Cohen supported himself during the early part of his career by working, under assumed names, in the TV industry.
Leonard Cohen not only polished the lyrics (uncredited) of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme (Cohen changed, for example, the phrase, “an indeterminate period of time contingent on scheduling availability of local stations,” to the more easily vocalized “three hour tour.” He also successfully argued that meter trumped historical accuracy and that, consequently, “Crusoe” in the phrase, “Like Robinson Crusoe,” should be pronounced as “Caruso”), but also played many minor roles on the series, usually being ambiguously listed in the credits (for example, “Cannibal #2″ or “Angry Headhunter”). He did, however, audition for the role of Thurston J. Howell III but lost that part to Jim Backus, triggering a lifelong feud so intense that Cohen once demolished a TV playing a Mr. Magoo cartoon.
He also provided the voice of Grandfather Clock on Captain Kangaroo, played a number of interchangeable befuddled government officials on I Dream of Jeannie, and, had Bewitched been renewed one more season, could well have been the third Darrin on that show.
Similarly, my claim to have discovered a lost Leonard Cohen album called Songs Of Love And Halloween might be considered counterproductive.
Even my stipulation that there “hasn’t even been a documented virgin sacrifice since [Cohen's] 1980 Australian Tour”4 could be taken the wrong way.
One suspects that few ascend to the post of Biggest Fan of Leonard Cohen by first posting a review of his romantic partner’s album (Anjani’s Blue Alert) that includes a passage of this ilk:
But hope, as it is wont to do, springs eternal so I was thought it was possible that Anjani and I might have a few laughs together in the form of three or four tracks enjoyable enough to justify transferring ten bucks from me to Jeff Bezos. Admittedly, I was only looking for a good time, not a long term relationship. But, hey, she was hanging out with Leonard Cohen so she was probably into that sort of thing, right?
Then, my interest was piqued by a phrase from Amazon’s Editorial Review of the album, which described Blue Alert as
… a collection of gentle music tinged with styles
ranging from Holly Cole to Tanita Tikaram
As it turns out, folks in proximity to me for more than 20 minutes are at substantial risk of being subjected to my adulation of Tanita – if they have survived my even more fervid adoration of Holly. When I read that implicit grouping of Anjani, Holly, and Tanita, my mind raced to the obvious conclusion – that’s right, I’m thinking foursome.
The major sticking point, however, is that I’m not even in the highest ranks of Leonard Cohen fans. Anyone randomly roaming LeonardCohenForum.com for an hour will find scores of folks who have followed Cohen five times as many years as I have, who know more about Cohen, his life, and his music than I do, who resonate with Cohen’s songs at far deeper psychological, spiritual, and musicological levels than I do, and, most importantly, who treat Leonard Cohen with the respect he deserves.
On the other hand, I know my place in the Great Cohen Chain Of Being and, in fact, much prefer it to the station of #1 Fan.
- See Democracy Is Coming To The USA – Leonard Cohen [↩]
- Perhaps it’s the same reason I’ve been surprised each of the 30+ years I’ve lived in and around Chicago that it gets really cold every winter. [↩]
- OK, the inside joke – so inside that only those who are both former Bible majors and current Leonard Cohen fans (an exclusive club populated solely by DrHGuy) gets it – is that II Samuel 11:2, rendered as
And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
in the King James translation, is the scene to which Leonard Cohen refers in “Hallelujah:”
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
[emphasis mine] [↩]
- See Oh My Cohen! They’re Calling Us A Cult [↩]