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Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:09 pm
by Cate
How did Leonard touch/influence your life?

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:51 am
by Einat
Wow. Hi cate, that is a big question , but thank you for bringing it up.
I'm still trying to gather my thoughts since Friday, but perhaps this the right time and place for me to write my thoughts about Leonard, and the way he , and people on this forum, have affected my life, in a very positive and a very unpredictable way.
I think that if someone told me 14 year ago, that by logging into a site, trying to join an online chat with LC (Ten new songs was released), getting into the chatroom just after he left it, but staying in the chatroom anyway (because the people there were having a hilarious conversation) I will end up staying some more, gradually getting to know a bunch of lovely, funny people- in the chatroom, and later in Hydra (2002). Then finding myself collaborating with Marie Mazur and a group of fans on a site dedicated to Leonard and his album (Dear heather, 2004). Receiving permission to translate his poems to Hebrew, and then receiving a sweet response from Leonard himself...feeling awesome and thinking this would be the peak .(but no  )
Then, later on (2007) getting to actually meet him in person and thank him, ( he surprised us by showing up in a fan gathering at the Green Note, Camden, London- thank you Jarkko , for ever!!), asking Leonard (twice!) to please please come to Israel and preform ( and feeling I'm asking on behalf of so many people), see him smile and hearing him promising to do so. Later on (2008) starting a group on Facebook encouraging (and nagging) his management to include Israel in his world tour, thinking perhaps 20 people will join but watching the group grow to about 4000 members, all very excited about the possibility LC might actually arrive preform here...then for months getting a thousand heart attacks every time it seemed it was not going to happen after all because of people pressuring him and his management to boycott Israel, but then, at last, seeing him keeping his promise and eventually watching him live in Ramat Gan , 2009, together with 47, 000 people, in an amazing , unique concert that is still talked about here…so, If someone would have told me 14 years ago all of this would happen , I think I would not believe that someone.

Actually, on the very few times I happened to mention I have met Leonard in person once, people looked at me in such disbelief I just never mention it anymore, let alone the rest of the story 
A few more words about Leonard : Freud once said (and it is not an accurate quote , but the idea) he discovered that anywhere he went (in his explorations of the human psych), he found out that poets and writers were there before him. I think he was right, and Leonard's work is a perfect proof for this claim.

I feel that Leonard had a very very good, deep and quite rare insight and understanding of the human experience and human nature, through and through. He also had a gift of knowing how to engage, translate and offer form and meaning to those feelings, thoughts and experiences we all share, doing it through his words and through his music, in such a beautiful communicative way. I believe this is why his work has become so universal, and why so many people felt his work has helped them through difficult or challenging times. I know it's true for me, I feel that getting to know his work has helped me both in my personal and also my professional life as a psychologist.

I also deeply admire Leonard's courage and willingness to talk openly and sincerely in interviews about his emotional hardship and his long agonizing struggle with depression . Nowdays it is more common to read and hear famous people talk about their battle with depression and other mental issues , but I think Leonard did it in a time when it wasn’t so popular to do so, and that was very brave of him.

Well, I think I waffled enough for now, thanks to anyone who managed to read the whole piece through .

Just one final thing and this is for Jarkko- Dear Jarkko, thank you for this site. and also this- I think really good friends are rare and hard to find and I think Leonard was very lucky to have you as a friend all these years.

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:42 pm
by musicmania
Thank you Cate. I did wonder where on the Forum my tribute would fit, and here seems the most appropriate place. It is interwoven with photos:

https://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress ... -a-letter/

However I know some people prefer the text to be posted on the Forum:
Dear Leonard,

Of all the posts on my blog this is the hardest, saying goodbye to the person who has had the biggest impact on my life.

It all started on August 23rd 2004, when I heard Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah. All my life music has been my everything, and all my life I was searching, searching for the chords to the soundtrack of my life. There then started a mission to learn more about you and your music. I missed out on a ticket to your concerts in Kilmainham 2008, so my first concert was July 23rd 2009 at what was then The O2 in Dublin. It was such a magical night, the whole audience was entranced. I was so moved by your performance, and by your respect towards your band, all of who were amazing, and knew exactly how to caress your wonderful songs. The impact of that night was immense. I knew my search to find my ultimate artist was over, that I had found the soundtrack to my life.

The following day I decided to see was there a Leonard Cohen Forum, and my oh my, not only was there a forum, with fantastic people, but it was, and is, a treasure trove of information on your work. To this day I still find bits of information, and understanding, that I missed before.

The following year, 2010, was the year my life changed, forever. My love of you, and your songs would lead me to leave Ireland for the first, and second time, and I would meet you for the first time. The defining moment was when I went to see you in Lissadell House. Wonderful, brilliant Lissadell. This concert remains my favourite, even though there have been close contenders to that throne! All yours concerts were spellbinding, and like I once wrote in a review, I felt you hypnotised me. Considering you mastered how to do this as a teenager I am not surprised you have had that effect on me.

People often ask me why Lissadell, what makes that concert my favourite? Well, there are so many ingredients that amounted to perfection: the location, the fact we were sheltered in the spirit of the great master, your words, perfectly described, like only you can.While I do love the work of WB Yeats, you are my great master. During Hallelujah that night I felt my heart was breaking, at the thought I might never again witness the magic live. We knew the tour was ending in December that year, and I had never left Ireland before.

That year my friends, deciding I needed to witness more of our planet, bought me a passport for my birthday. The timing was perfect. I decided I needed to see you in concert, one more time, and having a week off work in October I had a look where you would be, and seeing you would be in Poland, in Katowice, I decided I had to go. Yes, I choose my first trip out of Ireland, to be alone, in a foreign speaking land. I felt compelled to thank you, in a special way, so I designed my flag, and spent many hours, and black markers, colouring in the letters to my message,”Thank you Leonard and Co for the magic & memories of Lissadell”. When you came out for the encores and saw the flag, read my words, and smiled, I felt no moment could ever top that joy for me. It was just the start though. Thanks to your generosity I’ve had many more moments, that are etched in my heart, and that bring me such comfort now my heart is broken. Katowice was also the concert where I took my all time favourite photo, the one of you holding the rose.

After Katowice, and with only a few weeks to the final concerts in Las Vegas, and me with an empty bank balance a friend planted the idea, imagine going to Vegas, and being there for what we thought would be your final concerts. I decided to apply for a bank loan, and to let that decide if I could go. I didn’t really need any other persuading, and a kind friend helped me with the cost.

Those concerts were sublime, I did a lot of crying, and laughing, and crying. I had one wish, to meet with you, to say a personal thanks for how you had changed my life. That dream came true on December 12th. The day I learned dreams can come true. While you signed some special items, including my flag, and the lyrics of Hallelujah I told you your songs and poetry caressed my soul. You seemed moved by this. After you walked away, and then returned to us, I told you of how on your birthday that year, we placed a plaque at a Canadian maple tree, planted in your honour in Lissadell, by Forum members. I was stunned to see tears in your eyes. You were so humble and kind.

The timing of the 2012 tour was perfect for me, and I was blessed to be in a position to attend a number of concerts. The first two were the opening two concerts of the tour in Ghent. By this time I had a huge circle of friends, and connections, due to my love of your music, and it was through this I was offered a place to stay. The day of the second concert we took our host for lunch at the hotel where you were staying, and I couldn’t believe my luck when we saw you approaching. Being able to speak with you again was so amazing. The fact you remembered me from Las Vegas made it all so much more special.

Next up for me was a the 4 concerts in Kilmainham. After having to miss the 2nd Lissadell concert I had vowed I’d never miss one of your concerts on our island again. Being outdoor concerts meant we could listen to soundcheck. I loved your soundchecks. They were longer than most other artists concerts! I had come with gifts for your birthday, and was very happy to be able to give them to you before the soundcheck for the second concert. I’d almost forgot to give you a saints bracelet I had in my pocket for you, but thankfully I remembered! Again you were touched by my kindness, but I could never thank you enough for YOUR kindness.

It was on the following day, a day off from the concerts that I had the idea to give you roses before the final Kilmainham concert. I waited patiently to speak to you, wanting everyone else present to have the same wonderful memories that I have, and not wanting to take that moment from anyone. When you turned to me and said “now Gwen” I nearly died and went to heaven. While I knew you remembered me I was so moved you remembered my name. I gave you the roses, thanking you for everything. What you did next is still moves me to this day. You put the roses on the stage for the entire concert. I cannot put into words the impact of seeing them there, and watching you perform with them behind you. Every concert I attended brought tears, but this one brought an avalanche of them!

When the 2012 tour was announced, there was one location above all others on my wishlist, and that was Montreal. I didn’t even have to consider it, as soon as it was announced I was going. To witness you in your hometown, and to see your hometown was another dream come true. Those concerts were so special, as were the two the following week in Toronto. I call the Toronto concerts my Hallelujah concerts because of the dates, the 4th and 5th of December. While in Montreal we made the pilgrimage to your childhood, and adult homes, the Parc du Portugal twice, because of your painting First Snow. Serendipity meant the first snow of winter 2012 in Montreal happened when we were there. While in Toronto we spent a few hours reading from your archives. A privilege not granted to many, and one I am grateful for.

New York was another dream, and in a rare moment of being sensible, I refrained for your concert at Madison Square Garden in 2012. That rarity went out the window when the concerts at Radio City Music Hall were announced, and it was an almost immediate decision that we were going! We were only a few hours in New York, and while enjoying a glass of wine, who do we see but you! It had been a hard couple of weeks for the UHTC, with two concerts having to be rescheduled due to band illnesses. We were so relieved when you told us you were ok. The following day we attended a Forum dinner, where your sister Esther was in attendance. What a wonderful lady she was. She told me she was honoured we allowed her be a part of our group. I replied we were the ones honoured to have her company. After the meal we were given access to The Chelsea Hotel. A hotel with such an amazing history, immortalised in your song.

At this moment in time I thought I had one concert left, Brussels the day after my birthday. While disappointed that Ireland wasn’t on the list, I knew we had been extremely lucky already. However Ireland was then added to the list, with two concerts at The O2 Dublin! With this knowledge we headed off to Brussels, and as always an outstanding concert. The following day we were after doing some tourist stuff, and were heading back to our hotel. Coming up an escalator I noticed a burger joint, and suggested we go in. After getting our food and sitting down, I was looking out a gap of a poster covered window, and there outside you were! How lucky could I be! We went outside, and waited patiently for you to finish eating. Never would we have interrupted a moment like that. When you saw us you thanked us for coming. Smiling that wonderful smile. We asked would you mind if we got some photos, and as always you were happy to oblige. You pulled me in close. We spoke about the concert from the previous night, and I told you I had been very happy to hear you recite A Thousand Kisses Deep, because I wasn’t expecting it, since you didn’t normally do it at non-English speaking countries. You told me I was correct, but that you had felt like doing it. I said I was very pleased you felt like that.

And then it was time for what was to be my final concerts. Back in Dublin, and in the venue I had first seen you. I had a feeling it would be the last time I would see you, so I intended to cherish every moment. Serendipity played a role again, and I was blessed to speak to you the day before the concerts, and the day after them. The day before we had more photos and you again pulled me in close. You also signed a few more precious items for me, the most special being a photo of me handing you the roses the previous year. You loved this photo too, telling me you really like this one. You also told me I spend too much money on you. I replied I didn’t but that is only for you that I do.

Friday September 13th: The day I spoke with you for the final time. We normally greeted each other with a hug, but you had your guitar on your back, so this time we couldn’t. Instead you took my hand, holding it close. I thanked you for everything, wishing you well on the rest of the tour, and for after the tour. Your last words to me were “Thank you darling”.

There are so many other memories, and so much more I have to be thankful to you for. Your lyrics, and poetry guide me through life, and in everything I do there is a lyric or a memory that I am reminded of. Birds on wires, rainbows, the moon, the ocean, even chains are just some examples of things that remind me of you. Last year I decided to take up drawing for the first time since leaving school. My favourite subject is you, using the many photos I’ve taken at your concerts for reference.

So Long Leonard: Safe travels on your journey to the other side.Thank you Leonard: Thank you for the memories.

Sincerely G Langford

There is so much more I could write. I’ve wrote this in the style of a letter to Leonard, because it is the only way I could write it, write it as if I were speaking to him. To write a standard tribute is just too painful for me now, and besides, there are lots of those. Many people will know most of what I write here. I think my friend and travelling companion, and who was beside me every step of this journey, Mandy, is the only person, other than Leonard who would know it all. I’ve written it like this so in the hope readers will understand the huge impact Leonard has had on my life, and will continue to have.

I have made many friends, and connections, due to our mutual love of Leonard and his work. You are all in my thoughts. I know some of you have had a much deeper longer connection than I have had. My heart goes out to you all.

My sincerest condolences to Adam, Lorca, and all Leonard’s family and close friends. To all those in the UHTC thank you for all you did for Leonard, and all you did for us. To Jarkko, Marie, and other Forum moderators, thank you too.

So long Leonard, so long.

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:02 pm
by lizzytysh
Internally, and throughout the world, Leonard took me to places I would never have been had I lived a thousand years.

My mind thanks him. My heart thanks him. My soul recognizes, and is grateful for, my openness to connect within the soul cluster into which I was born... and grew... and overflows with gratitude to Leonard for being the pathway through that 11:11 door.


Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:02 pm
by cohenadmirer
Thanks for the thread ...really good question!

In terms of his later work , writings , interviews and most of all those magnificent ' late life' concerts he helped with fears of ageing , and ultimately of death .The last album is the pinnacle of this , and i was looking forward to the next.
A role model for ageing well . Sadly , perhaps for having a good death - certainly one without too much fear .

Bound up in this , he is one of the people that led to an interest in AND practice of , in its various forms, mindfulness. Professionally i am a psychologist now using and teaching mindfulness extensively to help others.

if i'm feeling ill at ease, this particular song always takes me somewhere better.It is Healing in some magical way, and i'll in particular remember this live version from montreal 4 years ago , which i tried to capture .
I love his respectful stillness as the webb sisters sing, and his apparent brief meditative state at the end.
Musicmania, above , refers to these hometown concerts ....I think you were sitting right next to me
Infact , as time goes by , when i'm feeling not too good just closing my eyes , taking in some breaths , and thinking - leonard cohen will i'm sure help .
That's because Leonard cohen stands for so many good things , so much wisdom, much of which can't easily be verbalised , but just the name somehow summons those ' good things' as inner resources...

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:46 pm
by Cate
I was looking forward to the next album as well or perhaps more poetry - he seemed so focused. It's interesting the connection that you've made with mindfulness David. Leonard Cohen is actually the only artist that I'll repeat songs over and over and I do that not because I'm listening to the lyrics but because I'm holding onto the calmness or feeling that comes with that song.

Lizzie you were the first person to great me here, the first person to great so many people here, it was wonderful meeting you in Montreal when Leonard first hit the road. xx

Thank you for sharing your letter and blog musicmania, I love that your friends bought you a passport for your birthday! You really have traveled to some fantastic places. New York is an example for me as well, I actually had a hotel booked at the Chelsa for one of the earlier concerts but when a friend could no longer come with me I cancelled it - fear got in my way. A couple of years later though I did make it there . I wanted to show something to my kids. I thought I wanted to show them Leonard Cohen and New York but I think what really I wanted to show them was not to let yourself get in the way of yourself. I think my connections to Leonard's art and other Cohenites helped me become braver.

Einat, it's wonderful all of the connections and opportunities that came starting with logging into a chat room! I've seen some of the pictures from the Green Note that looked like such an amazing night and event - I'm very jealous of all those who attended.

Thank you all for your responses

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:59 pm
by Tamaraz
For me - My intro to Leonard was as a little girl listening to Suzanne (covers)....

As an adult rediscovered him age 19, a boyfriend who was into him...but then in my 30s, after hearing Buckley's Hallelujah, giving me the inspiration to look further into Cohen.

An oh my goodness - his work just simply connects with me....and my newly discovered love for his lyrics coincided with my conversion to the roman catholic faith...and listening to Leonard helps me "in" my faith...his understanding of anguish, pain, joy, passion, redemption, death, sex, you name all resonates for me with how I understand my it all just kind of comes together for me.

I cant believe he's gone! (but Im thinking he is up there with Hank, in the tower of song!)

Re: Where did Leonard take you - your story

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:57 am
by cohenadmirer
Tamaraz wrote:For me - My intro to Leonard was as a little girl listening to Suzanne (covers)....

As an adult rediscovered him age 19, a boyfriend who was into him...but then in my 30s, after hearing Buckley's Hallelujah, giving me the inspiration to look further into Cohen.

An oh my goodness - his work just simply connects with me....and my newly discovered love for his lyrics coincided with my conversion to the roman catholic faith...and listening to Leonard helps me "in" my faith...his understanding of anguish, pain, joy, passion, redemption, death, sex, you name all resonates for me with how I understand my it all just kind of comes together for me.

I cant believe he's gone! (but Im thinking he is up there with Hank, in the tower of song!)
He's a modest guy , but i wonder whether he's nearer to Hank than 100 floors below?