Hey, Mister Cohen, that’s no way to say goodbye…

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December 26, 2016 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette December 8th. 2016

Leonard Cohen’s passing, I don’t think he would approve of the word ‘death’, took us all by surprise. I recently saw him live in concert and the memories of a long ago came flooding back. I wondered if younger folk had a different memory and feeling for the dark poet and songster and asked my daughter her views. She came back with these thoughts and it seems not, dark is dark it just seems darker these days than it did back in the day…

‘After Leonard died, I spent a lot of time just sitting and listening to his music. It struck me that you listen to Leonard Cohen. You don’t have him on as background music while you are working, sitting and having a drink with friends in the pub, or out dancing. His music demands that you truly listen and you give your full attention to it – much like a book. Over the years his songs have been a great comfort to me, both in happiness and sadness, but more so on the darker days. His stories, his poems, his lyrics (whatever you want to call them) can help you understand your self and other people with extraordinary clarity. My love for Leonard Cohen comes of course from my parents, who would tell me of late nights in north London in the 60’s and 70’s, long before I was born, when people would sit around in the evenings with friends and play his records on vinyl, drink red wine and smoke French cigarettes. That painted a heady picture of a dreamlike, simpler time – inevitably romanticised through film and television – and of my parent’s own youths. He helped me imagine their life before me, and what that era really felt like. His songs are precious time capsules that I know I, and many of my friends, will go back to throughout our lives. Thanks for the music, Leonard.


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