Tag Archives: Taste Of LC

Quiet And Devastating, Like Leonard Cohen In Cowboy Boots

Charles Berberian’s Jukebox And Leonard Cohen’s Boots

This morning, I was struck by the above illustration (from Charles Berberian’s latest book, Jukebox) featuring the author discussing Leonard Cohen’s vintage boots with the Canadian singer-songwriter, exclaiming “Wow! The cowboy boots! What class !”1

That was when my itchy trigger finger started smacking the mouse button – and. not so incidentally, the point at which I lost control of this post.

Dominique Issermann’s Leonard Cohen On The Bench Photo

The first association was to Dominique Issermann’s 1984 photo of Leonard Cohen smoking on a park bench, a shot that has been recycled into posters, post cards, and at least one book cover (the Leonard Cohen Collection songbook published in 2001), and which now serves as the basis for Berberian’s sketch. Click on image to enlarge.

A Closer Look At Leonard Cohen’s Boots

Then there are those boots, shown below in an enlarged section of  the Issermann photo.

 Charles Berberian and I aren’t the only ones taken by the boots.

Music Director Roscoe Beck remembers that at his first meeting with Leonard Cohen in 1979, Cohen “was wearing his customary dark grey suit and black cowboy boots.”2

Anjani Thomas also includes the boots in her description of her first meeting with Leonard Cohen, which took place in 1984:

I was waiting to meet him [Leonard Cohen] at the loft [belonging to John Lissauer]. When he  walked through the door, I saw that his cowboy boots and everything he wore was black. It was an impressive entrance.3

And for something even more dramatic, consider Burr Snider’s writeup of meeting Leonard Cohen for a 1970 interview that would become  Leonard Cohen: Zooey Glass in Europe:4

He’s [Leonard Cohen is]  wearing yellow Peter Fonda shades (possibly protection against some of that secret psychic snow), a beautifully pressed safari jacket, fitted black trousers and a pair of handtooled boots so lovely you want to cry with envy. [emphasis mine]

Then there was that certain  introduction when one moment Leonard Cohen wasn’t wearing cowboy boots and the next  moment he was:

About a thousand years ago I used to live in this hotel in New York City, a very good hotel. In the elevator of that hotel, early in the morning I used to bump into a young woman. After about a week, I gathered my courage and I said to her, “Are you looking for someone?” She said, “Yes,I’m looking for Kris Kristofferson.” I said, “Little Lady, you’re in luck. I’m Kris Kristofferson. “Those were very generous times as you may have read.So she never lead on that she really knew I wasn’t Kris Kristofferson. Maybe I was Kris Kristofferson. I wasn’t wearing cowboy boots until that moment. A couple of years later I was sitting at the bar of this Polynesian restaurant in Miami Beach, some place I hope I never bump into you. They serve drinks in ceramic coconut shells. All up and down the boulevards there are real coconut trees with real coconut shells. There is some arcane meaning in all of that but I couldn’t penetrate it. I was sitting at that bar and this young woman’s presence became very strong and I wrote this song for Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel. [emphasis mine]5

 In the 1985 photo below, note the slick boots and remarkably plaid shirt that somehow work as accoutrements to the suit – when worn by Leonard Cohen.6

Nor are all Leonard Cohen’s boots black.

Leonard Cohen - Oslo 1994

That shot also segues nicely into one example of Cohen’s use of boots in his poetry. This excerpt is from “You need her” published in The Energy of Slaves:

You need her
so you can get
your boots off the bedspread
We who have always ruled the world
don’t like the way you dance
And she said, I for one
am happy with the world

Boot Procurement

In answer to Mr Berberian’s query as to where Leonard Cohen might have picked up those boots, Marco Adria, writing in Music Of Our Times: Eight Canadian Singer-Songwriters (Lorimer. January 1, 1990), notes that

The shops in the area [near Leonard Cohen’s place in Montreal] include boutiques and antique stores. The shoe stores — there must be one on every block — carry beautiful cowboy boots made of finely crafted leather, one of Cohen’s indulgences.

And, in Various Positions (Random House of Canada, 1996), Nadel points out that “One of his [Cohen’s]  favorite places in Nashville was the Woodbine Army Surplus store.” Among other items Leonard Cohen, then as well known as a poet as he was a singer, purchased for his homestead near Franklin, Tennessee were “a jeep, a carbine, a pair of cowboy boots…”.7

Finally, I offer this screenshot from the documentary, “Leonard Cohen Under Review 1978-2006,” of a needle nosed boot, then worn by Leonard Cohen.

 Credit Due Department:

The title, “Quiet And Devastating, Like Leonard Cohen In Cowboy Boots,” is from Noah W. Bailey’s review of Kris Kistofferson’s Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends (Dallas Observer May 19, 2010):

Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-1972 collects 16 tracks–flubs, false starts and all–recorded by Kris Kristofferson at the height of his powers, when he was arguably the finest lyricist working in Nashville. “The Lady’s Not For Sale” and the title track come off quiet and devastating, like Leonard Cohen in cowboy boots, …

The cartoon atop this post was found at My Life As A Jukebox by Marta Caballero (ElCultural.es 09/11/2011).

Thanks to Dominique BOILE for volunteering the French to English translation of the cartoon’s dialogue and the further description of the Leonard Cohen section of the book.

The shot of Mr Cohen on the couch is by Steve Tynan and was was used as illustration in “The Portable Leonard Cohen” by Scott Cohen (Spin, Vol. 1, No. 4: Aug 1985)

The 1998 Oslo photo is credited to Scanpix and was found at the NRK site.

The final photo of the needle nosed boot was first posted at Photo Found Of Leonard Cohen, Singing Cowboy.

  1. The French to English translation is volunteered by Dominique BOILE.  Twelve hours after I published this post, I discovered that Dominique, by virtue of his son’s friendship with the author, has an autographed copy of Jukebox by Charles Berberian.  Dominique informs me that Charles devotes six pages of that book to humorous drawings and texts, the title of which is “Les Pieds de Leonard Cohen” (Leonard Cohen’s Feet), to ask the philosophical question, “Qu’est-ce qu’un chanteur comme Leonard Cohen peut bien mettre comme chaussures?” (What can a singer like Leonard Cohen wear for shoes?)


  2. Roscoe Beck On Leonard Cohen, The World’s Quietest Band, “Jenny Sings Lenny,” & More at Heck Of A Guy. []
  3. The Anjani Chronicles: Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, and Finds Romance – But Not In That Order at Heck Of A Guy []
  4. Leonard Cohen: Zooey Glass in Europe by Burr Snider was from the book, Leonard Cohen: The Artist & His Critics, edited by Michael Gnarowski (1976) although this article originally appeared in Gypsy I, No. 1. Found at Speaking Cohen. []
  5. Introduction to “Chelsea Hotel #2 given by Leonard Cohen at June 1, 1988 London Royal Albert Hall concert. From Diamonds In The Lines. []
  6. Warning: Do not try this at home. Mr Cohen is not only a trained professional – he’s Leonard Cohen. []
  7. He also bought a Walther PPK, which, I suspect, was then the handgun of choice among your Tennessee transplants who were Canadian singer-songwriters-poets-novelist-soon to be icons. []

Leonard Cohen – Spanish Style Update


Still Stylish and Still Pinned

Happily, the additions, clarifications, emendations, and corrections required in regard to Leonard Cohen – Spanish Style offer an opportunity to include these shots from Cozycot, which describes itself as “Singapore’s best loved online beauty, fashion, lifestyle, shopping portal and forum, catering to women and their insatiable needs.”

Not only are these photos evidence that Leonard Cohen is, indeed, still stylish but they also depict one more accoutrement not listed in the original post – the Prince Of Asturias Award pin bestowed upon Cohen during these ceremonies (see Leonard Cohen, Prince Of Darkness, Pinned By Prince of Asturias) and which he wears on his left lapel.

Click on images for best viewing.

Bracelet Vs Watch

A viewer who prefers anonymity postulates  that “The Other Bracelet” is only a photographic illusion and is, in fact, the wrist watch mentioned in the post

Typically, Leonard Cohen wears a wrist watch (digital, natch) on his left wrist, sometimes with a leather strap, sometimes with a metal band.

The screen capture from a video of Leonard Cohen at the Jovellanos Tribute Concert which (mis)identified the bracelet follows:

After searching for and finding another shot from the same event, I came upon this altogether exquisite  Reuters photo at iDNES.

Expanding the region around Cohen’s wrists shows that, indeed, the supposed bracelet is in reality the metal expansion band of his watch.

Saints Bracelet Vs Saints Bracelets

In her comment, Majmunka accurately points out that

… there are more than one saints bracelets. The one in Oviedo and on the first reference photo has black and white oval shaped pictures. The one spotted many times during the tour (the one on the tour video screenshot) has rectangle shaped colour pictures. (I used the latter as a reference for designing my own bracelet with photos of “my own saints” – the Unified Heart Touring Co. Band

For the record, the first time Mr Cohen was spotted wearing a saints bracelet was at the July 25, 2010 Zagreb concert, a video from which is the source of the referenced screenshot. The Heck Of A Guy post,  Leonard Cohen Zagreb Concert Opens 2010 Tour,  notes:

 Leonard Cohen Dons Bracelet For Zagreb Show

The bracelet visible on the right wrist of Leonard Cohen has not, as far as I can determine, been seen at earlier concerts

The next post, “I’m Your Man” Video, New Song Report, & Setlist From Leonard Cohen Zagreb, Croatia Concert, also included the following:

A LeonardCohenForum post by mnkyface notes the similarity of the bracelet worn by Cohen for the first time at the Zagreb concert (and visible on his right wrist in the photo atop this post and in the final photo of last night’s post) to a bracelet of Catholic saints such as the one shown above.


Leonard Cohen – Spanish Style

Leonard Cohen’s Always Dapper Details

As the above photos (click on images for best viewing) make clear, “the always dapper Leonard Cohen” may be a cliche, but it also proved to be an accurate description of the Canadian singer-songwriter during  his stay in Spain for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards festivities.

Sadly neglected, however, are Leonard Cohen’s accoutrements.

Thankfully, DrHGuy stands ready to correct this lacunae in Cohen’s fashion coverage.

Update 24 October 2011: See Leonard Cohen – Spanish Style Update

The Saints Bracelet & the Unified Heart Signet Ring

The Saints Bracelet was worn during many of the Leonard Cohen World Tour concerts and is similar to the specimen shown below.

The version of the Unified Heart Signet Ring that was available at the merchandise stands during the Leonard Cohen World Tour is displayed below.

For another look at Cohen’s own jewelry, the first photo below displays the ring and bracelet, which are shown in closeup in the second shot of  the series.

Standard Silver Tie Tack

Wearing a standard tie rather than the bolo tie favored during  the World Tour, Cohen opted for a tasteful silver tie tack.

The Other Bracelet

Typically, Leonard Cohen wears a wrist watch (analog, natch) on his left wrist, sometimes with a leather strap, sometimes with a metal band. The latter is shown below in a video screenshot of Cohen performing in a World Tour .

These screen captures from a video of the Jovellanos Tribute Concert, however, depict Leonard Cohen wearing another bracelet.

The Filigree Monogram

And, finally, these screen captures from the press conference introduce us to a filigree monogram on Leonard Cohen’s shirt sleeve.

Leonard Cohen Reaches Out – A Sharpie Parable

Live In Las Vegas – Leonard Cohen

This photo of Leonard Cohen, taken December 2010 in Las Vegas by Judy Green of Sweet Cottage Charm, displays an impressive depth of detail (e.g., the stitching and texture of Cohen’s coat and hat are evident as are the wrinkles on his face) despite being shot with an iPhone.  It also captures an interesting perspective on Leonard Cohen as he reaches out to accommodate an autograph request.

The photo is also entry #83 in the Shades Of Leonard Cohen series.1

In addition, DrHGuy can supply further informational detail to this depiction of Leonard Cohen during his two nights in the wilderness of Las Vegas in the form of what he likes to call …

The Parable Of The Sacrificial Sharpie Surrender

The Sharpie in the photo belonged, at the moment the image was created, to Mandy MacLeod, who carried it and her treasured softback UK edition of Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing “in [her] bag at all times, on the off chance [she] would bump into LC and ask him to sign it” – which is, of course, exactly what happened.

Then, as Mandy reports,

I made the ultimate sacrifice with that pen – I let my friend Gwen Langford keep it after LC had signed our books, photos, iPhone covers, [censored] – oops, that last bit is wishful thinking. 

So, boys and girls, what have we learned from this tale?  Well, we learned that if one is a devout fan perpetually prepared for a chance encounter with Leonard Cohen – especially if one enhances the odds of such a random meeting by traveling across the Atlantic and most of the US to attend the final World Tour concerts –  providence can indeed grant such a petition. And, if one is also pure of spirit, albeit a tad salacious of mind, that Sharpie-relic can bond a friendship.


For the story of another  St Leonard Sharpie sanctification, see The Leonard Cohen Encounter, A Fable By S Elkoni.

  1. A gallery comprising all items published in the photo series, Shades of Leonard Cohen, can be viewed at Collected Shades Of Leonard Cohen. []

Two Leonard Cohen Drinking Games

The Leonard Cohen Drinking Game – Traditional Style

1. Choose a live Leonard Cohen CD or DVD (e.g., Live In London or Songs From The Road), a Leonard Cohen concert playlist at YouTube (e.g., the Leonard Cohen 1985 Philadelphia Concert), a concert bootleg (e.g., Leonard Cohen Live In Israel 1972),  or the equivalent in individual video or audio recordings of live  performances  (approximately 25 songs). Begin playing the selected songs.

2. Take a drink whenever

  • Leonard Cohen  sings the word “naked
  • Leonard Cohen alludes to drinking (e.g., “Johnny Walker wisdom” from Closing Time or “It was drinking from your cup” from Darkness)
  • Leonard Cohen tells the Kris Kristofferson-Janis Joplin story
  • Leonard Cohen addresses the audience as “friends”
  • Leonard Cohen tells the “just a kid with a crazy dream” joke

If watching video:

  • Leonard Cohen skips on or off stage
  • Leonard Cohen doffs his hat

If listening to audio only (no video):

  • Leonard Cohen expresses appreciation for “keeping [his] music alive”
  • Leonard Cohen sings the word “dance”

And drink a shot whenever

  • You find yourself thinking:”Damn, Leonard Cohen is Good” (also acceptable “Damn, Leonard Cohen is God”)

The Leonard Cohen Drinking Game  – DrHGuy Version

1. Choose a high quality, Cohen-relevant liquor, liqueur, or wine. Obvious choices include but are not limited to scotch,1 cognac,2 and Chateau La Tour 1982.3 Note: While Red Needles, an alcoholic potable originally concocted by Mr Cohen himself, is clearly Cohen-relevant, some might dispute whether it meets the “high quality” criterion.  Readers who have not tried this cocktail are advised to test a few sips before committing to its use in this or any drinking game.

2. Play audio or video recordings of your favorite Leonard Cohen songs.

3. Sip your chosen drink as moved by the music.


Credit Due Department: The photo above the heading “The Leonard Cohen Drinking Game  – DrHGuy Version” is by Ken Sharp.

  1. I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors” by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, Sunday 14 October 2001:  “Much of the time, Roshi and I were two buddies drinking. He likes sake, I tried to convert him to French wine, but he was very resistant. But we both agree about Cognac and Scotch.” []
  2. Ibid []
  3. “The Q Magazine Questionnaire” Q Magazine, September 1994. Found at Speaking Cohen: “I’ve recently developed a close acquaintanceship with red wine, especially Chateau Latour 1982, one of the finest vintages since Caesar planted the vine.” []

More About Leonard Cohen’s Hollywood YMCA T-shirt

Another Leonard Cohen Hollywood YMCA T Shirt – From Heck Of A Guy Blog

I am reminded by Esther1 that, in addition to those examples of Leonard Cohen wearing a Hollywood YMCA shirt featured in Seductive Songs … Bonus: The Hollywood YMCA Shirt, the Canadian singer-songwriter is shown attired in that apparel in the photo recently republished Leonard Cohen And His Romanian Friend (see original photo above and a blow-up of the section with the shirt below).

Esther goes on to note,

If he [Leonard Cohen] were a gentleman and cared anything about his female fans, he would have given the shirt to her and gone topless himself.

An example from Seductive Songs Of Leonard Cohen #11 – “Take This Longing” & Bonus: The Hollywood YMCA Shirt follows:

And A Historical Note – The Roscoe Beck-Leonard Cohen Hollywood YMCA Connection

In related news, those perpetually popular and always astute reliable sources have it that Rosco Beck and Leonard Cohen wore Hollywood YMCA tee shirts “all the time” during the 1979 tour rehearsals and swam daily at the Hollywood YMCA.

Consequently, it seems likely that more photos of Leonard and perhaps some of Roscoe sporting these garments may be floating about. Viewers who happen onto such specimens are urged to contact Heck Of a guy.

  1. Ongoing readers may recall Esther, aka mnkyface at LeonardCohenForum,   from New And Improved Leonard Cohen Merchandise – The DIY Unified Heart Jacket Patch, “The Lost Canadian” Performed By Leonard Cohen – A Video Re-interpretation, and Leonard Cohen For Governor General of Canada Campaign Video []