New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons

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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby david birkett » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:22 am

I've had this sitting on my shelves for ages, but have had other pressing reading commitments. Could somebody, until I have the time, please send me a series of pithy summaries describing what I ought to think about the book, so that I won't be embarrassed at parties. I thank you.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby John Etherington » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:32 am

Stop posing at parties and read the bloody book :!:
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby Franks » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:51 am

Just tell the people at these parties that you had other pressing reading commitments. If that embarresses you then you are in the wrong crowd.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby Tchocolatl » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:44 pm

david birkett wrote:I've had this sitting on my shelves for ages, but have had other pressing reading commitments. Could somebody, until I have the time, please send me a series of pithy summaries describing what I ought to think about the book, so that I won't be embarrassed at parties. I thank you.
At your next party, just say just this to the next persons that seems to have a little sens of humour.



Are you an Ogre, Sir? :shock:
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby ForYourSmile » Mon May 05, 2014 7:59 pm

I know this is not longer news, but it's now when I finished of reading the biography, it had not sitting on my shelves for ages, I have not been busy at parties, I have not waited for summaries, sorry I have no excuses, but after reading it, I need to say one thing about it, even with my clumsy English, but before...

First, I consider it's an huge job. With a good sense of humour outlines the work and one imperfect man, gently without disturbing the orthodox fans. I agree with many of her thoughts, for example when she says, leaving London to Hydra, survival has been a major driving force, it's well expressed, anyway we talked about before in this forum. She searched every still alive human able to tell us something. There are many important contributions and unknown until now for me. We could believe that she has got all the information possible, but she could not find the test result for the food handling exam, this data only interest to me if he would serve me the Chicken Soup. Also we don't know the exact birth time, I guess than this it's only useful to see the natal chart. Never we will discover the whole mystery of Leonard Cohen, alas!

Note that the biographer -the reader can dream to go with her in the investigations throughout the book- is lovely.

Image
(Photo © Eija Arjatsalo, Madison Event, Agust 2012)
INTERVIEW WITH SYLVIE SIMMONS by Jarkko Arjatsalo, September 2012

It's very rigorous work with many notes and sources for enjoyment of experts. In the Spanish edition the poems are respected in English, the translations are in appendix with the original versions of books published, excellent.

For me it is the most complete biography and the second best.
B4real wrote: Pages 148-149: Judy Collins says that Leonard sang Suzanne to her in her living room but in a video interview (Songs from the life of LC) Leonard states that he sang the song to her over the phone. Maybe he did it twice, once over the phone and once at her place?
Leonard states the phone version and his biographers repeat it, and Simmons knew and waited the story of the phone in mouth of Judy Collis, but the lady with rockabilly jacket strongly rejected the objection to her version. She later said that Leonard had just returned from Ibiza, here Simmons dares no longer to correct the Mediterranean island, lets to the reader understand the situation. But Judy Blue Eyes tells us that she received a call and a singer sang so wonderful song that she should record it. But the song was Both Sides Now and the singer Joni Mitchell. :shock:

What brings me here is a reference to the Cohen's tribute concert in Barcelona. The information is needed to know from where went the band for the 2008 tour. Leonard was impressed to see Javier Mas on the DVD of the concert. There was not one single concert, it was two mini tours under the name "Acuerdos con Leonard Cohen" (Acords amb - According to); four concerts in July 2006 and three in January 2007 with different configurations. Simmons adds that the concert had been involved his son Adam, the friend Jackson Browne and Anjani. There were also John Cale, Elliott Murphy & Olivier Durand, the faithful Perla Batalla who developed an important role... and a large group of artists singing in Spanish, Catalan and Basque, but for sure these admirers belong to another culture. Can we ignore Enrique Morente (deceased in 2010) and Omega? for example. (Although it's also true that Sylvie Simmons has written another biography of a guy with big nose too and also very interesting; Serge Gainsbourg, from another culture, I'm going to read it, definitely.)

The DVD and two CDs and reissue can be find in LeonardCohenFiles.com. From an artistic point of view it is a great concert, it was recorded in Sant Cugat del Valles, near Barcelona. For copyright reasons it's lost the John Cale's Hallelujah and Alexandra Leaving.

The biographer can choose which parts are superfluous, in my opinion this one is objectively important. It were times of tributes, "Came So Far For Beauty / I'm Your Man" is an example perfectly exposed in the biography. Simmons says that Cohen's music was on stage but he was not, and Anjani literally stretched Leonard to go up on stage -Toronto 2006, mini tour Blue Alert 2007-, because that was the way. Our forum was abuzz of activism in that direction, the purpose was to demonstrate there was a large and unconditional audience waiting. Alberto Manzano -friend of Leonard and vested as Quixote- went decided to his personal ruin with "According". Significantly see Adam and Anjani singing together "Pequeño Vals Vienés".

Image

Leonard took off again, this time free of old tyings, mighty and happy. From the success is easy write biographies, reissue books and records and give rewards, when everyone knows than Leonard is great and good, very good, Walter Yetnikoff knows it time ago. Now "According" surely could be a great success, but his family and friends would not bother to come, now it's not necessary.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby lunamoth2014 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:05 pm

A new interview with Sylvie Simmons in which she describes what it was like to interview Leonard for the biography: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/im_y ... nard_cohen
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby AlexandraLaughing » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:46 pm

Came across this thread and wanted to post on it, because Sylvie Simmons' biography has very much coloured my understanding of LC, but I'm also left with a lot of questions.

Firstly, I agree with those on here who say SS's work is not simply a hagiography, and that readers are given the information she has and left to draw their own conclusions. There are many occasions when she clearly knows, or suspects, a lot more than she says. She is quietly really quite critical of his behaviour towards both Marianne and Suzanne, as anyone would be, in this day of marital/relationship equality, though his behaviour was not untypical of a time when most women had no economic independence, and men had a consequent boundless sense of entitlement. (Now that men can no longer pretend women are just trying entrap them into unwanted domesticity, and have to admit domesticity is what they actually want as well, isn't the world a better place?)

I suspect SS of having theories about a lot of things she can't prove, especially on matters of sex, and so just leaving the trail for others to follow or not. I certainly drew my own conclusions as to who exactly is the addressee of Famous Blue Raincoat, on the basis of her biography and the photos she includes. She is very quick to see sex references in songs I wouldn't have noticed, though they are clearly there once she points them out (especially refs to oral sex). She may know a lot about all this from interviews that she has just chosen not to include.

Where I think she partly falls down is just in running out of energy (and maybe allotted words) by the end. She wants LC to be happy at the end of the story, and decides that means finding inner peace as a monk (though she does meticulously note all the negative things he says about Mt Baldy in his 2011 interview, as well). And so, although it's hard to imagine much could be added to her story of the early years (except as regards family background), after the 1980s, there is plenty of room for more research in future biographies.

LC's own cryptic song to her in 2011 ('There's a song in the air, but the fair Senorita doesn't seem to care for the song in the air') seems to imply that he himself thought she had missed important things about his life in 2011. I would say (obviously with hindsight) that the main thing she has missed is a better analysis of LC's relationship with Roshi. The role of women in his life has received a lot of attention, the role of father figures, starting with his own father, a lot less. There is a great deal more to say about the notion of controlling and being controlled, both as a literary theme and more generally. Also his views on violence and on politics would take a much closer scrutiny, and on the construction of 'race' (which doesn't exist biologically, but sure is a powerful cultural myth).

I remain of the view that LC is a decent man as well as a literary genius. And, indeed, that the latter is actually impossible without the former. But such questions would take a different biographer to consider in their full depths.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby ChristineH » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:20 am

Gossips might want to know more about the scene when Suzanne turfs Marianne out of the house on the island of Hydra. Perhaps this might not be the biography that Cohen, the man, deserves. But it is the definitive volume on the guy right at the top of the tower of song.]
Hi, I'll introduce myself in a short bit, but this little snippet got me intrigued enough to order a copy for myself. I am shocked that Suzanne would go to such lengths to toss Marianne out of the Hydra house. Personally, that would be very harsh. Wasn't Marianne Leonard's first love. Suzanne had no right to do that. :shock:
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby scocoh » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:29 pm

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Can't imagine there are many here who haven't purchased this book yet, but Amazon (US) has the kindle version for $1.99 right now.
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Hartmut
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby Hartmut » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:22 pm

scocoh wrote:Can't imagine there are many here who haven't purchased this book yet, but Amazon (US) has the kindle version for $1.99 right now.
Do you have a link? Cause I can only find it for $11.60.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby scocoh » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:25 am

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Sorry, did not see your reply. I posted that and didn't come back to check for replies as it is pretty slow around here.

It was on special just for the day and is now back to $10.99. My experience with kindle is that once Amazon puts a book on a daily deal they sooner or later put it back on special for $1.99 or $0.99. I'll keep an eye out.


Please note again: This is U.S. only.

Also-- Consider following 'Randomize ME' on twitter
@randomizemeWP

as they constantly tweet book deals and did that one.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby Hartmut » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:38 am

Ok; thanks for the tip.
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012)

Postby jarkko » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:51 am

Image

Another translation of Sylvie's book coming soon!

Here's the Brazilian/Portugese edition details:

Title: I’m your man - A vida de Leonard Cohen
Publisher: Editora BestSeller
Date: Aprill 11 2016
Translator: Patrícia Azeredo
Page count: 504 pages
Price: R$ 79,90
ISNB number: 978-85-7684-977-3
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012)

Postby Goldin » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:21 pm

Sylvie Simmons has just reported at facebook that I'm Your Man is currently at #1 in Amazon's Bestseller list in Canada, and at #8 in the USA.
A big success!
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012)

Postby cohenadmirer » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:32 am

#1 in terms of current sales?
Curious , 4 years after it was first published- obviously reflects current interest in Leonard :D
Leonard's work resonates
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