The National Post Ampersand section is running a story based on Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Leonard Cohen, which will be broadcast in April. 1
My only complaint about the article is that I can’t find material not to excerpt. The following extracted sections are outstanding, but so is the rest of the piece.
He’s [Cohen is] all beatnik and bohemian and I suddenly feel like the square wearing a “visitor” badge at the commune. He leads me to his kitchen and then I realize that, for a moment, I’m cooler than I’ve ever been through proximity alone. Still, how is it that this spindly man in a cap, almost twice my age, is making me feel like a old stodge? Leonard Cohen is young.
He’s already my kindest uncle and my hippest friend. But we’ve only just met. It’s all a bit embarrassing.
When we begin the interview, Cohen is open but not transparent. He is artful at revealing enough without giving too much. Still, as we tread through territory ranging from creativity to liquidity to fidelity to mortality, his answers are refreshingly candid. He makes admissions he has not made before. It never feels like he is on message.
When we talk about his trepidation about getting on stage, he responds, “Well I’ve been generally fearful about everything, so this just fits in with the general sense of anxiety that I always experienced in my early life.”
On Hallelujah, Cohen smiles and says, “I like the song. I think it’s a good song, but I mean, I think too many people sing it … I think people have to stop singing it for a little while.”
At one point we discuss Cohen’s long-established tendency to write poetry and songs inspired by his awe and reverence for the beauty of women. I ask whether he believes women have been a source of empowerment or weakness in his life. He answers both (of course): “We’re invited into this arena, which is a very dangerous arena, where the possibilities of humiliation and failure are ample. So there’s no fixed lesson that one can learn about the thing because the heart is always opening and closing, it’s always softening and hardening. We’re always experiencing joy or sadness.” When I follow with a query about whether, despite his famous relationships with various women, he regrets not having one single lifelong partner, he responds by singing to me, “Je ne regrette rien …”
The entire article by Jian Ghomeshi, which you should read immediately, is available at Leonard Cohen talks women, age and Hallelujah
- The broadcast schedule for the interview follows:
- On Thursday, April 16, at 10 a.m., an interview of Leonard Cohen by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q, the CBC arts and entertainment program, will be broadcast on CBC Radio One and Sirius Satellite 137.
- On Thursday, April 23, at 5 p.m., an encore presentation of the interview will air on CBC Radio 2.
- After April 16, the full interview will be available as an audio and video podcast at http://www.cbc.ca/spotlight [↩]