At this point in the show I would have a cigarette here and drink some obscure scotch like Lagavulin…
- Leonard Cohen at the Dec 5, 2012 Toronto Concert1
Only two days ago, a Heck Of A Guy post, 2014 Leonard Cohen Where There’s Smoke Tour, discussed the implications of Leonard Cohen’s stated intent to start smoking again, including during performances, at age 80. At the Dec 5, 2012 Toronto concert, however, he upped the ante, adding the tippling of scotch to his anticipated 2014 onstage routine.
Consequently, to keep Cohen fans au courant with the Canadian singer-songwriter’s preferences and plans, Heck Of A Guy offers this introduction to …
Lagavulin, according to Wikipedia, “is an Islay single malt Scotch whiskey produced at Lagavulin on the island of Islay, United Kingdom. The whiskey has a powerful, peat-smoke aroma, and is described as being robustly full-bodied, well balanced, and smooth, with a slight sweetness on the palate. The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old (43%), though they regularly release a 12-year-old cask strength variety, a Distiller’s edition finished in Pedro Ximénez casks, and 25- and 30-year-old varieties.”
The lowest cost found in an online search this morning for the standard 750 ml bottle of Lagavulin Scotch 16 Year Single Malt was $59 (without shipping costs).
It should be noted that in the past, Leonard Cohen has also indicated, in addition to a taste for scotch, a predilection for cognac2 and Chateau La Tour 19823 He also concocted an alcoholic potable named Red Needles, consisting of “tequila and cranberry juice and Sprite and fresh cut fruit.”4
Well, you know what The Man says about The Future:
When I was a young’un growing up in the Ozarks, I did not anticipate that one of the high points of my life would include witnessing my wife and my favorite Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-icon, having just met backstage at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, admiring each other’s most recent jewelry acquisitions.
A jeweler who has been friends with Duchess for many years crafted a Unified Heart pendant for her …
… while Mr Cohen was sporting a diamond-shaped pendant featuring the recently canonized Kateri Tekakwitha shown (indistinctly) in the blowup below alongside his customary bolo tie.
Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen and friend sitting in Cohen’s home in Hydra, Greece. Baby Axel is in a baby carriage in the foreground. Hydra, Greece 1960.
Dr. Le Goff Identifies Johnstons & Locations In Hydra Photos
The photos seen here were originally posted January 7th, 2011 at 1960 Photos Of Leonard Cohen, Marianne, Axel Jensen In Hydra – In Cohen’s Home, In Seaside Tavern, On Beach. They are being reposted today with the addition of previously missing identifications of Australian authors, Charmian Clift and George Johnston, their son, Jason Johnston, and the exact locations where these photos were taken. This information has been provided by Dr. Raichel Le Goff, Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Newcastle, Australia. Dr. Le Goff first went to Hydra in 1981 and has had a home on the island since 1985. She researched the Johnstons in her early journalist days and recommends Charmian Clift’s book “Peel Me A Lotus” (1959) to those interested in expatriate life on Hydra circa 1960. Dr. Le Goff’s contribution significantly enhances the viewing of these photos and is much appreciated.
The 1960 Photos Of Leonard Cohen, The Jensens, And The Other Artists In Hydra
Almost two years ago, a Heck Of A Guy post, Leonard Cohen & Marianne, Hydra 1960 – That’s Life (Photo Archives), trumpeted the availability of photos of Leonard Cohen and Marianne taken on Hydra by a Life magazine photographer. Today, I happened onto these shots, by the same photographer, James Burke for Time & Life, all bearing the date Oct 01, 1960, none of which were, as far as I can recall, in the original archive (which is no longer available). The captions are those provided by Time Life.
Leonard Cohen and Marriane Ihlen at the Spilia swimming spot on Hydra’s main harbour in 1960. The clothed man is George Johnston; the youngster is his second son, Jason.
Leonard Cohen eating with Marianne Ihlen and her partner Norwegian novelist Axel Jensen, Hydra, Greece October 1960.
Leonard Cohen with Marianne Ihlen, her partner Axel Jensen and others outside Katsikas’ grocery store/taverna on Hydra’s port. The man seated next to Cohen is George Johnston. The woman second from the right is Charmian Clift.. Marianne’s son Axel is in the baby carriage. Hydra – Oct 1960
Leonard Cohen playing guitar on the whitewashed well top in the square outside Douskas Taverna in Hydra. The woman in the photo is Charmian Clift. October 1960
Leonard Cohen playing guitar on the whitewashed well top in the square outside Douskas Taverna in Hydra. The woman in the photo is Charmian Clift. October 1960
Note: This post is a sampler of Leonard Cohen’s literary uses of hair (e.g., using hair in a metonymic expression in a poem) and serves as a companion piece to The Leonard Cohen Hairstyle Gallery, which provides a collection of the hair cuts sported by the the Canadian singer-songwriter over the years.
The Hair Club For Singer-Songwriter-Poet-Novelist-Icons
“I comb my hair for possibilities” is a line from Leonard Cohen’s poem, “The Suit.” Two years ago, I observed in Does This Fashion Suit Leonard Cohen?, a post about a fashionable line of suits purportedly inspired by those verses, that, despite its somewhat misleading title, the poem is less about couture than coiffure:
More to the point, if that poem is to inspire a product, shouldn’t it be a hair product or haircuts or toupees or something hirsute-related? After all, there are two lines about a suit and 23 referring to hair and feelings the narrator experiences about his hair.
Indeed, “The Suit,” published in Flowers For Hitler by Leonard Cohen is a celebration of hair:
I am locked in a very expensive suit
old elegant and enduring
Only my hair has been able to get free
but someone has been leaving
their dandruff in it
Now I will tell you
all there is to know about optimism
Each day in hub cap mirror
in soup reflection
in other people’s spectacles
I check my hair
for an army of alpinists
for Indian rope trick masters
for tangled aviators
for dove and albatross
for insect suicides
for abominable snowmen
I check my hair
for aerialists of every kind
Dedicated as an automatic elevator
I comb my hair for possibilities
I stick my neck out
I lean illegally from locomotive windows
and only for the barber
do I wear a hat
The Human Body As A Convenient Source Of Literary Devices
It is hardly surprising that Cohen employs hair in the service of his literature. Few writers have not experienced the sort of desperation that drives scribblers of prose and poetry to consider body parts as literary devices first and a machine for living second. Whitman thematically focused on the entire human body in work like “I Sing the Body Electric.” Raymond Chandler wrote about a character in The Long Goodbye who”was eager to help but his legs were rubber . . . ” A complete book (Inscrutable Houses by Anne Colwell) is devoted to, as described by its subtitle, “metaphors of the body in the poems of Elizabeth Bishop.” Tongues, toes, teeth, and thyroids have all been used – with varying levels of effectiveness – as figurative language in prose and poetry.
‘Never shall a young man, Thrown into despair By those great honey-coloured Ramparts at your ear, Love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair.’ ‘But I can get a hair-dye And set such colour there, Brown, or black, or carrot, That young men in despair May love me for myself alone And not my yellow hair.’ ‘I heard an old religious man But yesternight declare That he had found a text to prove That only God, my dear, Could love you for yourself alone And not your yellow hair.’
My Dream by Ogden Nash
This is my dream, It is my own dream, I dreamt it. I dreamt that my hair was kempt. Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.))
Leonard Cohen Does Hair
Female hair is rampant across Cohen’s work:
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye: Your hair upon the pillow / Like a sleepy golden storm
Ain’t No Cure For Love” … on the bus. I see you lying down with me and I see you waking up. I see your hand, I see your hair, your bracelets and your brush.
Dress Rehearsal Rag: …and a girl with chestnut hair, / and you passed the summers / picking all of the berries that grew there
True Love Leaves No Traces: …So my hand upon your hair / And many nights endure
Seems So Long Ago, Nancy: …And now you look around you. See her everywhere. Many use her body. Many comb her hair.
Winter Lady: …She used to wear her hair like you / Except when she was sleeping / And then she’d weave it on a loom / Of smoke and gold and breathing
Less frequently but often more poignantly, the hair belongs to a male, as is the case in Famous Blue Raincoat: Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair. She said that you gave it to her the night that you planned to go clear. Did you ever go clear?
Taking advantage of a literary convention, Leonard Cohen invoked Delilah’s emasculating haircut of Samson in “Hallelujah:”
She tied you To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
And, of course, Leonard Cohen was not always serious about hair; in the documentary film, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen,” a young Leonard Cohen lectures an audience on unwanted hair:
I think there should be a place for unwanted hair in our society. A hair museum… I think there should be hair asylums… college beards abandoned for careers… a man should be able to go into one of these hair asylums and, you know, review his whole life.
And in the opening lines of Tower Of Song, Cohen uses the graying of hair as a sign of aging.1
At least 40 of Cohen’s poems mention hair, and there are 46 references to hair in Beautiful Losers alone.
Since this is only an assortment of examples of Cohen’s use of hair in his songs and other literary work, there are no conclusions to be drawn beyond the conviction that Leonard Cohen is acutely aware of the appearance and significance of hair. Now, check out this artist’s own choices of hairstyles.
It is worth noting that Cohen wrote that line, “Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey,” when he was 54 years old. Springsteen has pointed out I was 24 when “I wrote ‘We ain’t that young anymore’ [in the song Thunder Road].” [↩]
The PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Cohen-Berry Criteria
In his acceptance speech at the Kennedy Library February 26, 2012, Leonard Cohen claimed he and Chuck Barry were chosen as the first recipients of the PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award1 on “the basis of seniority.”2
While others may be willing to take this at face value, that’s not how we roll at The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency.3
Consequently, while I hesitate to disagree with this site’s icon of choice, I am obligated to point out that he – and the many periodicals, broadcast stations, and online sites reporting on this event – have inexplicably overlooked two other rather obvious attributes common to both him and the Father of Rock and Roll that were either coincidences on a cosmic scale or, one must assume, weighed in the judges’ decision to confer this honor upon them: their respective signature hats and, of course, their bolo ties.4
And the perfect accessory to set off those bolo ties and hats?
Yep, a big ol’ shiny medal from those nice folks at PEN New England.
How To Win The PEN Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award
So, for all you aspiring PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award winners, Heck Of A Guy offers these recommendations based on the Cohen-Berry Criteria:
Do not, advice from The Who notwithstanding, die before you get old.
Wear a hat that fits your style.
Drape a nifty bolo tie around your neck.
Write exquisitely evocative song lyrics.
Wouldn’t you think that an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” could come up with a name for their prize that flows off the tongue more trippingly than “The PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award?” [↩]
Seniority in songwriting may not an altogether displeasing notion for Leonard Cohen, who has previously stated his preference for songs featuring voices of experience. In an interview with Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone in 2001, for example, he said,
Have you heard George Jones’ last record, Cold Hard Truth? I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation. [emphasis mine] [↩]
The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency is a privately-funded organization dedicated to the rectification of inaccuracies promulgated by Leonard Cohen, no small task given the Canadian singer-songwriter’s admission that “I don’t want to let the facts get in the way of the truth.” The most recent previous Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency post is available at The Case Of Suzanne Vs Volvo. [↩]
I love your body and your spirit and your clothes – From “First We Take Manhattan” by Leonard Cohen
Dressing – And Undressing – Leonard Cohen
Eva M, a member of the Leonard Cohen Forum, offers both an apposite commentary on Leonard Cohen’s style1 and an entertaining activity for fans2 in the form of a well-executed, affecting, unique Dress Up Leonard Cohen paper doll set she created.
The Leonard Cohen paper doll set was originally submitted as an entry in the contest sponsored by the German edition of Rolling Stone to send a “passionate fan” to Paris for the Old Ideas preview.3 The image atop this post (click on images to enlarge) was, in fact, first published at the German Rolling Stone Facebook page (January 3, 2012) with this caption:
A self designed Doll by Leonard Cohen is just a post that we received in the course of the Leonard Cohen contest. Until tomorrow, you can take part – and then we are faced with the difficult task to pick a winner from all the photos, cover songs, stories and poems… [computer powered translation from German to English]
As part of this project Eva M taught herself enough technology to create a flash version of Dress Up Leonard Cohen. (The image of the flash game is shown below; to play the flash version itself, go to the link.)
For those who adhere to traditional forms, Eva M offers these instructions:
Print it [the paper version] in A3 size, take your scissors and have fun.
Bonus: The Eva M – Leonard Cohen Saints Bracelet
Eva M also submitted her hand-crafted saints bracelet analogous to but distinct from the one worn by Leonard Cohen.
For comparison, the saint’s bracelet Leonard Cohen wears is shown below.
See Taste of LC – Heck Of A Guy and Taste of LC – DrHGuy for posts that feature Leonard Cohen’s choices in furniture, clothing (including suits, fedoras, caps, berets, other hats, boots and other footwear, swimsuits, and in at least one case cut-offs), art, jewelry, food, books, magazines, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, … – all of which offer a different perspective on Leonard Cohen. [↩]
Offering such pastimes is one of the many public services offered by Heck Of A Guy. See the “Things To Do While Waiting For The 2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour” series:
Do I Have To Dance All Night Surpasses 70,000 Views
"Do I Have To Dance All Night" was performed many times in concerts but was never released in the US.
As part of my crusade to popularize this song, I've cobbled together 2 videos - one for the semi-funky 1976 version with Laura Branigan and one for the 1980 more gypsy, less disco version - that kinda sorta fit the music.
As of Dec 19, 2012, the video of the 1976 version of Do I Have To Dance All Night has been viewed 70,152 times.
Heck Of A Guy offers 3 videos of clips and photos from The Leonard Cohen World Tour:
1. The Original Heck Of A Guy Dear Leonard Cohen - Thanks For The Tour. I Hope It Was Good For You, Too. Video Celebration Of The First 14 Months Of The 2008-2009 World Tour can be viewed at Thanks For The Tour
The Cohen Fandemic
Endemic for decades in areas such as Canada, Norway, Poland, and France, Leonard Cohen Fan Syndrome has become a world-wide epidemic in the past 2 years, spread by the Leonard Cohen World Tour and abetted by proselyting carriers despite efforts by authorities to quarantine these individuals at LeonardCohenForum.
Based on the observations of DrHGuy, standardized criteria for the pertinent Axis II diagnosis are now available at
In addition to the formal medical description of this diagnosis, Heck Of A Guy has also compiled a list of the aberrant behaviors which indicate one is at high risk for being a full-fledged fan of Leonard Cohen. These signs and symptoms can be found at
Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1
This video features the first version of the song Leonard Cohen would later revise into "Chelsea Hotel #2" along with images of Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin - whose liaison with Cohen at the Chelsea Hotel led to the creation of the song, the Hotel itself, and other associated people & places.
Photos of or related to Leonard Cohen that fall into specific themes have been among the ongoing features at DrHGuy, HOAG's sibling site. Galleries displaying collected images of 3 of these themes are now available at
Over 35 tunes performed by Dylan, Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Chuck Berry, The Platters, Joni Mitchell, George Jones, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jay-Z, and other musicians.
Read what Cohen said about them and listen to the music at
Photos, Videos, & More
See photos of Leonard Cohen's arrival in Oviedo, the opening of Leonard Cohen: The B-Side - Drawings And Engravings Of A Multidisciplinary Artist, his speech and press conference, his tribute conference, the lost and found Famous Blue Sharpie, and more at:
Note: Almost all HeckOfAGuy and DrHGuy posts contain different content.
And We’re Still Making Love In My Secret Life – Julie’s Story & Video
... I never had a chance. I was - and this is the only word that fits - smitten. I still am.
She was smart and quick-witted, although it would take me 3 years to recognize that she was, in fact, much smarter than me, and then another 2 years to forgive her for that. She was also good-looking and unabashedly sexy.
And, we fell madly, irredeemably, unflinchingly in love.
Complementing the unlikely story of how Julie and I met, fell in love, and - 9 years, 2 husbands, 1 wife, and 2 careers later - got together to spend an outrageously wonderful 20 years together before her death, a video, set to the poignant "In My Secret Life" by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, is now available that evokes the role Julie, who died 10 years ago, continues to play in my life.
Clicking on Taste of LC - Heck Of A Guy and Taste of LC - DrHGuy finds posts from those sites that feature Leonard Cohen's choices in furniture, clothing (including suits, fedoras, caps, berets, other hats, boots and other footwear, swimsuits, and in at least one case cut-offs), art, jewelry, food, books, magazines, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, ... - all of which offer a different perspective on Leonard Cohen.
This Heck Of A Guy compilation includes unreleased Leonard Cohen performances over a 30+ year period.
Track List: Vol 1
1. Feels So Good (The Other Blues Song)
2. Book Of Longing
3. The Darkness
6. Do I Have to Dance All Night (1976)
7. Blues By The Jews
Track List: Vol 2
1. Red River Valley
2. Never Got To Love You (Duet with Anjani)
3. Can't Help Falling In Love
4. Ride Around
5. The Union Makes Us Strong
6. We Shall Not Be Moved
7. To Love Somebody
8. The Hypnotist (Poem)
9. Chelsea Hotel #1
10. There's No Reason Why You Should Remember Me
11. Streets Of Laredo
12. Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980)
Now, Another Other Leonard Cohen Album, the second collection of unreleased Leonard Cohen songs joins the popular The Other Leonard Cohen Album to offer fans of the iconic singer-songwriter a total of 3 CDs of musical treats. Another Other Leonard Cohen Album includes the following tracks plus liner notes by Sylvie Simmons.
1. Je Veux Vivre Tout Seul
2. Kevin Barry
3. Die Gedanken Sind Frei
4. Store Room
5. As Time Goes By
6. Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-on
7. Blessed is the Memory
8. Silent Night
9. Dead Song
10. Another Saturday Night
11. Ballad of the Absent Mare
13. The Butcher
14. Un As Der Rebbe Singt
15. Song to the Machines
16. If It Be Your Will
17. Thirsty for the Kiss
18. A Thousand Kisses Deep
19. I Tried To Leave You
20. Whither Thou Goest
21. Mr Cohen Must Be Going
Heck Of A Guy celebrates Leonard Cohen’s 77th birthday (September 21, 2011) with a video of scenes from Leonard Cohen’s life and photos of fans expressing their affection for Mr. Cohen, all set to “I Love Leonard Cohen” by Robin Grey.
Video – Jennifer Warnes’ Way Down Deep & Leonard Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep
The video begins with Jennifer Warnes singing the gorgeous but routinely overlooked "Way Down Deep," which is followed by Leonard Cohen's recitation of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" in Dublin to juxtapose the earliest performed precursor of Cohen's now classic "A Thousand Kisses Deep" with the most recent version.
Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen had a fling in the 1960s that, for unspecified reasons, was short-lived, with Cohen instigating the parting.
It was then and is now a complex connection. In 1988, Cohen said, I'm still very friendly with Joni - I had dinner with her before the tour, and I have the same admiration for her as you do. But I think it was Noel Harrison who came up to me in the LA Troubadour and said "How do you like living with Beethoven?"