Leonard Cohen and Adrienne Clarkson Meet Again At Tonight’s Glenn Gould Prize Ceremony

Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor General, awards Cohen with Canada's top honour, making him a Companion to the Order of Canada - 2003

Leonard Cohen’s Old Friends

It should not be a surprise that Leonard Cohen is well acquainted with many of the performers and guests at The Glenn Gould Prize Gala Concert in Honour of Leonard Cohen tonight.  After all, his long-time partner, Anjani Thomas, and his son, Adam Cohen, are among the musicians scheduled to appear.

Some, especially non-Canadians, may, however, be unaware of the intermittent but ongoing intersections in the lives of the Canadian Bard Of The Holy And Profane1  and Clarkson, who is a speaker at tonight’s award ceremony.  Adrienne Clarkson first met Cohen while she was a producer and broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, became an unabashed fan of the Canadian singer-songwriter, and later found herself on stage with him in her official capacity as the 26th Governor General of Canada.

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson – Self-described Leonard Cohen Groupie

In her list of 10 things former Governor General and author Adrienne Clarkson can’t live without, she indeed calls herself a Leonard Cohen groupie (see below); one notes, however, that she ranks Cohen at #8, – just below her King James Bible that originally belonged to her mother but above Koerner Hall (her favorite place for concerts) and Fantasia (her favorite movie):

Leonard Cohen
He sang on TV for the first time on my CBC show in 1967, and we’ve been friends ever since. (His appearance is online2 and it’s hilarious.) I’ve been to dozens of his concerts all over the world. I’ve never told anyone what a groupie I am!

Even more revelatory and poignant is this essay by Clarkson published in Intricate Preparations – Writing Leonard Cohen  by Stephen Scobie (ECW Press. June 1, 2000):Videos: Two Previous Cohen-Clarkson Contacts

Leonard Cohen Considers the Poetic Mind, CBC Interview 1966

Leonard Cohen Induction Into CSHF  (part 1) 2006

Leonard Cohen Induction Into CSHF  (part 2) 2006

Credit Due Department: Photo found in CBC archives

  1. Leonard Cohen nickname #57 []
  2. This appearance on the May 23, 1966 episode of Take 30, featuring Cohen singing “The Stranger Song” is apparently no longer online. []

One response to “Leonard Cohen and Adrienne Clarkson Meet Again At Tonight’s Glenn Gould Prize Ceremony

  1. Wonderful compilation Allan!
    Many thanks.