Ishiguro on Cohen

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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wakeupmartin
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Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby wakeupmartin » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:31 pm

My sister in Paris found this in the Paris Review (The Art of Fiction No. 196, Kazuo Ishiguro, Issue 184, Spring 2008.)
The full interview is at http://www.theparisreview.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5829.
Below I've pasted the part where he mentions Leonard.

...INTERVIEWER
What was your next obsession, after detective stories?

ISHIGURO
Rock music. After Sherlock Holmes, I stopped reading until my early twenties. But I’d played the piano since I was five. I started playing the guitar when I was fifteen, and I started listening to pop records—pretty awful pop records—when I was about eleven. I thought they were wonderful. The first record that I really liked was Tom Jones singing “The Green, Green Grass of Home.” Tom Jones is a Welshman, but “The Green, Green Grass of Home” is a cowboy song. He was singing songs about the cowboy world I knew from TV.
I had a miniature Sony reel-to-reel that my father brought me from Japan, and I would tape directly from the speaker of the radio, an early form of downloading music. I would try to work out the words from this very bad recording with buzzes. Then when I was thirteen, I bought John Wesley Harding, which was my first Dylan album, right when it came out.

INTERVIEWER
What did you like about it?

ISHIGURO
The words. Bob Dylan was a great lyricist, I knew that straightaway. Two things that I was always confident about, even in those days, were what was a good lyric and what was a good cowboy film. With Dylan, I suppose it was my first contact with stream-of-consciousness or surreal lyrics. And I discovered Leonard Cohen, who had a literary approach to lyrics. He had published two novels and a few volumes of poetry. For a Jewish guy, his imagery was very Catholic. Lot of saints and Madonnas. He was like a French chanteur. I liked the idea that a musician could be utterly self-sufficient. You write the songs yourself, sing them yourself, orchestrate them yourself. I found this appealing, and I began to write songs.

INTERVIEWER
What was your first song?

ISHIGURO
It was like a Leonard Cohen song. I think the opening line was, “Will your eyes never reopen, on the shore where we once lived and played.”

INTERVIEWER
Was it a love song?

ISHIGURO
Part of the appeal of Dylan and Cohen was that you didn’t know what the songs were about. You’re struggling to express yourself, but you’re always being confronted with things you don’t fully understand and you have to pretend to understand them. That’s what life is like a lot of the time when you’re young, and you’re ashamed to admit it. Somehow, their lyrics seem to embody this state...
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anneporter
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Re: Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby anneporter » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:56 pm

thanks for the interesting post.
Anne
sebmelmoth2003
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Re: Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby sebmelmoth2003 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:36 pm

you ought to update kazuo's wiki page with a link to the article, wakeupmartin.

i'd do it myself but it all seems sooooo complicated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuo_Ishiguro
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p.s. for anyone who isn't familiar with mr ishiguro's oeuvre - i think `the remains of the day` (in particular) is a brilliant book. it was made into a movie with anthony hopkins. what sort of performance did he give? SUPERB!!!
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wakeupmartin
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Re: Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby wakeupmartin » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:32 pm

sebmelmoth2003 wrote:you ought to update kazuo's wiki page with a link to the article, wakeupmartin.

i'd do it myself but it all seems sooooo complicated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuo_Ishiguro
Please don't ask me to do that... I might be a master at copy and paste, but updating a Wiki page daunts me! :)
Perhaps someone else on the forum might like to?
Martin
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blonde madonna
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Re: Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby blonde madonna » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:27 am

ISHIGURO
Part of the appeal of Dylan and Cohen was that you didn’t know what the songs were about. You’re struggling to express yourself, but you’re always being confronted with things you don’t fully understand and you have to pretend to understand them. That’s what life is like a lot of the time when you’re young, and you’re ashamed to admit it. Somehow, their lyrics seem to embody this state...
I love it when people I like like eachother. 8)

I recommend Never Let Me Go
altinkum
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Re: Ishiguro on Cohen

Postby altinkum » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:21 pm

The only book of his I have read is Never let me go, which I found interesting if a little unsettling.

Wendy

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