New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons

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

Postby John Etherington » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:19 pm

I enjoyed Michael Lista's take on Leonard, and I think Leonard would find it amusing, too (as he did when that English reviewer said "he's a boring old drone who should get the fuck back to Canada where he belongs!"). Actually, there's an element of truth in all the points that Lista raises - even though he clearly exaggerates, and I disagree with some of his opinions. To what he says about war, he might have added Leonard's claim that the monks on Mount Baldy were "the marines of the spiritual world". I think that reviewers who pick up on Leonard's shadow side put Leonard worship into a better perspective. I remember another article from the early Seventies that said something to the effect that Leonard used just the right balance of erotic titillation and Catholic guilt to delude his admirers! I suspect Lista is much younger, as his views on the Sixties and early Seventies suggest. He mentions "half a million riotously f---ked hippies at the Isle of Wight " (but we were not all that way). The "false gurus" and candle burning were all part of the quest. I think that Lista is confusing "Various Positions" with "I'm Your Man" or thinks that "Hallelujah" was on the latter. Finally, it should not be forgotten that in the 1980's when Leonard was asked to describe himself in one word. the answer he gave was "sinner"!
Last edited by John Etherington on Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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comehealing
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby comehealing » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:41 pm

I, too, found Michael Lista's thoughts compelling.

Oscar Wilde wrote in the preface to "A Picture of Dorian Gray":

"Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital."

To paraphrase this in relation to L Cohen:

"Diversity of opinion about a figure of significance shows that the figure is noteworthy, complex and mysterious"

Wilde also wrote at the beginning of this preface:

"The artist is the creator of beautiful things"

That's what all artists aspire to, whatevere sphere they are engaged in. I would wager that the songs of Leonard Cohen will stand the test of time.

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

Postby Junk » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:59 pm

As well as confusing Various Positions with I'm Your Man, he also has Suzanne confused with Marianne.
He pleaded in letters for Suzanne to move to Montreal with her son, and a couple of months after she did, Cohen split for Cuba

Also the article is headed 'Book Reviews' but there is no review of the book only a judgement of someone's character.
I'm amazed also that a professional writer can't do better than 'tacky and 'icky.'
(I thought they were long-lost dwarves)
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:28 pm

I find it kind of interesting that, of the many reviews of this book that I have read, there is almost a clear split between those who see it as a very positive, perhaps sugar-coated presentation of Leonard Cohen and his life, and those who really pick up on the negative elements that are certainly hinted at and/or visible between the lines (and which are apparently overlooked by the readers who see only sweetness and light). Odd.
DBCohen
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby DBCohen » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:37 am

I guess it depends on the reviewer’s pre-convictions or bias about the subject.

Readers find in the text what appeals to them, or what they expect to find in it. This is often true even with professional writers.
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comehealing
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby comehealing » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:30 pm

@DBCohen, this is so true. Art, ultimately, is subjective. There is no absolute truth.

I have a running joke with someone I know. Whenever I mention my admiration for L Cohen, all she can say is "depressing". Nothing more. I have given up trying to convert her.

:)
Alexis
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"That love is all there is" (Emily Dickinson)
"A miracle, just take a look around: The inescapable earth" (Wislawa Szymborska)
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:15 pm

comehealing wrote:I have a running joke with someone I know. Whenever I mention my admiration for L Cohen, all she can say is "depressing". Nothing more. I have given up trying to convert her.:)
:lol: I think that we have all met someone like that! Their loss.
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richard godwin toasts leonard and roshi

Postby sebmelmoth2003 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:00 pm

...In the new biography of Leonard Cohen is a story that could scarcely fail to inspire any devotee.

It centres on Roshi, the Zen Buddhist monk who has been the singer’s spiritual mentor since the early Seventies. Remarkably, Roshi is still alive and well at 105. I’m inclined to think this has something to do with his favourite drink, a 140 per cent- proof liqueur called ng-ka-pay, which supposedly has mysterious spiritual qualities as well as being excellent for rheumatism.

Apparently, during the recording of Cohen’s fourth album, assistants would be sent to Chinatown to keep the studio well-supplied. By the time they recorded the final track, “we almost had to hold Leonard up to sing,” as the producer recalls. “He was ng-ka-pay’d out of his mind.”

I considered this an irresistible challenge...


http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/bars ... 67791.html
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blonde madonna
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby blonde madonna » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:47 pm

I feel inspired to do my own search in Chinatown with a suitable drinking partner. :)

Thanks for posting this.
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jarkko
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby jarkko » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:53 am

More editions will be available soon!

Hebrew translator has finished working on the Israeli edition of Sylvie's book, and the Chinese are working hard on their translation, so both of those should be out within months.
Contracts have recently been signed with local publishers to produce Finnish, Polish, Italian and Greek editions.
But no French publishers yet?
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lizzytysh
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:07 pm

What great news!
I'm so happy for Sylvie... and so happy for Leonard!
Both!!
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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lizzytysh
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:13 pm

What a delightful read ~ the story of tracking down Roshi's and Leonard's drink!
Intriguing to say the LEAST!
Makes you want to at least try it. At least it does me. A whole night of it ~ NO WAY. A whole drink of it ~ no way. At least a sip of it ~ YES WAY !!!
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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jarkko
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby jarkko » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:15 pm

Update of the translations:

Contracts have now been signed for German, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Finnish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, and Slovene editions. That makes already 12 languages plus English!
The Italian edition will be out next summer.
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lizzytysh
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:58 pm

INCREDIBLE, Sylvie and Jarkko!!! I SO hope that in today's world of publishing, you will be getting your full fair share of the proceeds, Sylvie!
Congratulations!!!

Now, as someone else somewhere mentioned, the French need to step up to the plate and provide THEIR translation of it.

This is all SO AMAZING !!!
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Christiane
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Re: New Leonard Cohen biography by Sylvie Simmons (Fall 2012

Postby Christiane » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:37 pm

The German translation appeared on October 1 last year,shortly before the book
came out in English. I have copies of both editions.

Christiane

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