And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Don’t worry – there’s no danger of something like that happening here.
This is the follow-up to yesterday’s post, Leonard Cohen’s Now You See It, Now You Don’t Unified Heart Ring Trick, which introduced the Now You See It – Now You Don’t Leonard Cohen Unified Heart Ring phenomenon: the recent onset of Leonard Cohen beginning a concert wearing a ring only to have it disappear in the first part of the show.
Leonard Cohen Pre-Tour Ring-Wearing
The 2012 Tour was not the first time Leonard Cohen has worn the Unified Heart ring. A brief search this morning turned up several photos documenting the ring adorning the middle finger (with a single exception) of his left hand, all but one of which have previously appeared on this site. The earliest of this set is a shot taken at Cohen’s June 17, 2010 Songwriters Hall Of Fame induction.
The September 4, 2011 photo below shows a ring on the little finger of his left hand. Somehow, this instance does not seem congruent with the connotations of pinky ring, but technically …
Blow-up of hands from above image.
Cohen also wore the ring intermittently during the October 2011 Prince Of Asturias Awards ceremonies in Oviedo.
It was present during the January 16, 2012 Old Ideas Paris Event.
And, of course, he was wearing the ring in the photo by Kezban Özcan that became the basis of the Old Ideas album cover.
Blow-up of left hand from above image.
Maarten Massa On The Case – The Lisbon Stakeout
As is often true, the forensics laboratory can only go so far in solving mysteries of this ilk. Sometimes there is no substitute to having eyeballs on the scene.
After publishing yesterday’s post, I received this message from Maarten Massa:
First of all: great post (as usual).
Secondly, I noticed the same pattern the second night in Paris (a young eye with a 24x zoom lens in front of it sees everything!) and was – like so many others – curious to know when and why the ring disappeared… So on the third night in Paris, I gave clear instructions to my father (who came over for the final Paris show with my mum as well) to keep a close eye on Mr Cohen’s ring. Of course, parents aren’t to be trusted and – just like me – my father got distracted by Mr Mas’ beautiful solo introducing “Who By Fire.”1 But it became clear to me that the ring disappeared sometime after the 4th song… Luckily, I got a second chance in Lisbon and was absolutely determined to resolve the mystery.
And I did.
Mr Cohen’s ring disappears into his left jacket pocket just before guitar tech Mickey Sullivan hands him his guitar at the start of “Who By Fire.” The Moment is captured here around 5:30, although it’s not very visible. [The videos are cued to start just before the pertinent point.]
You can notice a small moment where Mr Sullivan is ready, waiting with the guitar in hand. Here at 5:20 – not clear either.
The fact that I can’t see the movements in these videos Maarten describes is not a concern. I am confident his eyewitness report is accurate; Maarten is, after all, the poster child for Cohenphilic Personality Disorder, obsessive-compulsive subtype.
The problem arises when the focus shifts from How to …
Maarten’s message continues:
The reason is simple: Mr Cohen starts playing guitar in “Who By Fire”. The ring would probably bother him while playing guitar. During the first 4 songs, Mr Cohen “only” sings and kneels and sings and kneels and…
To which, my response can only be Maarten, Maarten, Maarten, …
Now, it is theoretically possible that the appearance and disappearance of Leonard Cohen’s ring is simply a function of his performance as Maarten describes – and no doubt that is what Mr. Cohen and his cronies want us to believe.
But how likely is that compared to other possibilities, such as an elaborate scheme for smuggling rings? Or perhaps a covert signal to Cohen’s cronies in other countries?
Regardless, this case isn’t closed yet, and Leonard Cohen can be sure we have our eyes on him.
Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame: Stephen Lovekin. Photo of Leonard Cohen at Maria’s cafe: Found at Aleim Magazine (no photographer named). Photo of Leonard Cohen striding in Oviedo: Found at Cozycot (no photographer named). Photo of Leonard Cohen in Gijón: Eloy Alonso for Reuters. Photo of Leonard Cohen in Paris: Alex Sturrock, found at Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (a review) (Toronto Quarterly, February 4, 2012).
- One cannot help but wonder if Maarten might not now be in the process of importing an ice floe on which to domicile his folks. [↩]