Cohen's Shish Kebab

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After finishing my writing and reading on August 2, 2006, it was a little after 2 a.m. I went downstairs and turned on the TV to rest my eyes and brain before going to bed. I was surprised to see …

After finishing my writing and reading on August 2, 2006, it was a little after 2 a.m. I went downstairs and turned on the TV to rest my eyes and brain before going to bed. I was surprised to see Leonard Cohen in an interview on one of the Australian TV stations.(1)

The interview inspired me that same afternoon to read about Cohen on the internet. The material here comes from several interview sites.(2) “I feel tremendously relieved,” said Cohen in 2005 at the age of 70, “that I’m not worried about my happiness. There are things of course that make me happy…..But what I am so happy about is that the background of distress and discomfort I had had in my life has at last evaporated. It’s not that I don’t feel distressed or sad about things that I see and know and what happens to people around me. It’s not that the emotions don’t come, it’s just that the background is clear. Before…it was very dark. I could pierce the darkness. Before…..there was a kind of mist, a kind of distress over everything, but that has lifted at last. –Ron Price with thanks to 1Leonard Cohen, Interview with Leonard Cohen, August 2nd 2006, 2:00-3:00 A.M. TV; and “An Interview in 2005,” Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005.

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    RESPONDING TO THE WORLD

    I first came across Leonard Cohen in the early months of 1968 when I was living on Baffin Island. Leonard Cohen had come to the music industry relatively late, having already established himself as a published novelist and poet. He turned his hand to music when his song Suzanne became a hit for Judy Collins and in 1967 he went into the studio to cut his debut album for Columbia.

    Gerard Fannon, in his “Album Review: Songs of Leonard Cohen Columbia 1967” on 8 January 2009,1 wrote that: “The ten songs on the album are beautifully constructed. Few lyricists have since been able to wrestle with the ideas of love, loss and longing quite so intelligently, articulately and ambiguously as Leonard Cohen. He depicts a world entirely at the mercy of the chaos that arises from love and lust, mastery and submission, the supplicant and the worshipped. Though his words may seem lofty or pretentious, they convey a deep-rooted sense of humanity.”

    “Many artists work their whole career, Fannon continues, “to create a work of such singular artistic vision as Songs of Leonard Cohen, and it is even more remarkable that Cohen achieved this the first time he set foot in a studio. Songs of Leonard Cohen remains an astonishing and enduring debut. -Ron Price with thanks to 1the internet site: Suite101.com

    I heard you again when they gave you
    a tribute at the Sydney Opera House in
    2005, Leonard, and I noted some of what
    you had to say about writing: you wanted
    to respond to the beauty in the world; you
    do not command your work--it commands
    you; you’ll never untangle life’s mysteries;
    you do not dwell on the past or the future.

    Fame and wealth came so early to you
    with your first book of poetry and novel
    before you were thirty. My writing took
    decades longer; I really only got going in
    my fifties and had to unload my career as
    a teacher and all that community work so
    that I could free my spirit to respond to the
    beauty around me and engage symbiotically
    with my real-life master-piece....if it is that..
    which became my epic, my opus, my oeuvre
    by sensible and insensible degrees due to the
    mysterious dispensations of Providence which,
    as you say, Leonard, one never really untangles
    nor the leaven which leavens the world of being
    and furnishes the power by which the wonders of
    the world--the sciences and the arts--are manifest.

    Ron Price
    16 February 2009
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  • 1. COHEN’S SHISH KEBAB After finishing my writing and reading last night it was a little after 2 a.m. I went downstairs and turned on the TV to rest my eyes and brain before going to bed. I was surprised to see Leonard Cohen in an interview on one of the Australian TV stations.1 The interview inspired me that same afternoon to read about Cohen on the internet. The material here comes from several interview sites.2 “I feel tremendously relieved,” said Cohen in 2005 at the age of 70, “that I’m not worried about my happiness. There are things of course that make me happy…..But what I am so happy about is that the background of distress and discomfort I had had in my life has at last evaporated. It’s not that I don’t feel distressed or sad about things that I see and know and what happens to people around me. It’s not that the emotions don’t come, it’s just that the background is clear. Before…it was very dark. I could pierce the darkness. Before…..there was a kind of mist, a kind of distress over everything, but that has lifted at last. –Ron Price with thanks to 1 Leonard Cohen, Interview with Leonard Cohen, August 2nd 2006, 2:00-3:00 A.M. TV; and “An Interview in 2005,” Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. You’ve been writing poetry as long as my life’s been associated with the permeation of that light, with that most wonderful and thrilling motion with the very inception of the Kingdom of God on earth when the manifest Standard began waving in the centre of the great continent where we were born and raised. It’s been a heavy trip for you, Leonard, and I’m so pleased your distress and discomfort has evaporated at last—me too, Leonard, me too: at last a lifting, an ease,a tranquillity never known, forgiveness and an early peach with all labour put away---well, not quite all, eh Leonard, eh?--- the heart still cooks, sizzling like,
  • 2. how did you put it—shish kebab? Ron Price August 2nd 2006