Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

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tomsakic
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by tomsakic » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:25 pm

David Gest? I can easily live without him, whoever that is.
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Susy
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by Susy » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:03 pm

Hi,
I`ve got my copy 3 days ago and by now I just startet to look through...
and at the end of Chapter Twenty-four I like the words of T.Footman.....and on for as long
as the fedora can stand it -that we could ALL enjoy..... :D
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by ladydi » Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:47 am

Yea! Amazon says my copy is finally on its way and should be here after the 24th! Can't wait to read it! A long wait....

Will be interesting to compare it to Ira Nadel's bio...
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by B4real » Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:40 pm

I finally ordered my copy today. I've been waiting for everybody's reactions to the book - didn't know how much new material was to be included. I have every book Leonard has written and most of those anyone else has published. Seems I can look forward to some new info......now I'm getting excited 8)
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by kevwill » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:49 pm

I finished reading the book a few weeks ago. In fact, since then I've read Emma and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, so my tastes are quite varied. However, back to Hallelujah.

I did enjoy it, and as I've not read any previous biographies on our Leonard, there was a lot of new and interesting detail. The reviews and discussions of the albums were very detailed, which, given the authors background, one would expect. It's quite an easy read too, as I never felt that I wanted to get to the end so that I could read something else - I was always happy to just read a few more pages, then just a couple more, and so on. As I say, I've not read any other books on Leonard, so I can't vouch for any accuracy or otherwise. There are a lot of references to other sources used, with quotes aplenty.

So, what didn't I like. Well, I really got the impression that this was quite hurriedly written, possibly to ride the wave of popularity rekindled by the world tour. It felt as if it was written 'at a distance', as nowhere was there any evidence that the author actually knew, or had even met Leonard. All the quotes used appear to be in the public domain, rather than from interviews/conversations that the author has had. This is probably not altogether a bad thing, but I was left feeling that I had found out very little about Leonard Cohen the man, as opposed to the artist/poet/performer/etc. The book concentrates on the recordings and books published and, although the author includes the recent tour, I got the impression that he hadn't even attended any of the concerts. I'm not convinced that he's actually a fan!!! (Shock horror!!!)

So, overall, I did enjoy it, but would have liked a more intimate portrayal. If you're a fan of Leonard (and you are actually on the leonardcohenforum...) then buy it, read it, and make your own mind up.

Oh, one thing worthy of note. Jarkko gets a well deserved mention.
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by 264811403188 » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:08 pm

I read the book a few weeks ago and did enjoy it. There are some interesting new information (for me) as well as nice photo's. I picked up a few minor details which could be inaccurate as far as my knowledge goes, but in general this a good read.

What I didn't like at all is Appendix II, pp 215-228, which is a lengthy comparison between Cohen and Dylan. It seems as if the author really favours Bob Dylan and this part is just too long. At some stage I felt like skipping the rest of it. This is after all a biography of Leonard Cohen; ond doesn't want to read all this glorification of Dylan in it.
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by musicmania » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:36 pm

I'm about half way through at the minute but I did cheat and read the appendix about Hallelujah at the end while I should have been sleeping last night :roll: Once I did put the book down at 4am I was so tired that I had every version of the song going through my head!!!!! Any way back to the book. While it is well written I feel the author has a habit of drifting off the topic way to often. He eventually gets back to what he was originally saying but I find that very annoying. Another negative that I found is that there is a lot of presumption that the reader would already know alot about Leonard. While he does go into alot of detail about the albums and poetry which is good, nearly every other aspect of Leonards life is glazed over. He keeps repeating stuff about Leonards drug taking and womanizing but seems to me that this is done to try and disguise that he really doesn't know that much about Leonard Cohen the man. I'd call this book a study of the work of Leonard Cohen rather than a biography. Maybe I'm being a little harsh considering I haven't finished it yet. I will give an update here when I do. My negatives aside I am enjoying reading but of course how would I not when it is about our beloved Leonard. Now to sign off and listen to Len singing Hallelujah and clear my muggy brain from all the other versions floating around :D
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by LEONKA » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:01 pm

I hope The book will be available in Europe. Council read the book from Leonard because of his books are a lot of love and emotional feelings that reflect his speeches to women, religious beliefs and experiences of life. :)
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by bene449 » Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:06 pm

or, for the same price, you could have got a signed copy from leonardcohencafe.co.uk (see the guestbook). The prices have now gone up.

I thought it was a good read, especially the comparison to that other great, Bob Dylan. Jim Devlin, one of Leonard's biographers, was also complimentary about Footman's book; not many people know more about Leonard than Jim Devlin.
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by B4real » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:09 pm

Finally I've received my copy. I am half way through the book and I have to say that there is nothing new for me here so far. It seems that the author has combined and compressed the information from all the other biographies and books.

If you had no knowledge of Leonard at all, then this book would give you a basic grounding. It is well written and in an easy to read format. I suppose I should really reserve my final judgement until I have finished the book......and I will wait until then to do that.
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by B4real » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:04 am

Well I've finally finished the book and my first opinion hasn't changed at all. Generally over all it is a good book for new LC fans. The discography is up to date - good reference material etc.

On page 146 the following is a tribute to Jarkko:-

"Even though Cohen made sparse appearances in the media during the 1990's, his devoted admirers, especially those in Europe, kept the flame burning. Chief among them was a Finnish auditor named Jarkko Arjatsalo, who began a website called the Leonard Cohen Files in 1995, now the largest online resource in the world; despite his isolation, Cohen himself took advantage of Mount Baldy's new dial-up internet connection and began contributing poems and drawings to the site, many of which would appear in his next poetry volume, Book Of Longing. And in 2008, it would be Jarkko who first published news of the itinery for Cohen's comeback tour, ahead of the music press and mainstream media."

Deserved inclusion I thought.
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by LEONKA » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:27 pm

bene449 wrote:
or, for the same price, you could have got a signed copy from leonardcohencafe.co.uk (see the guestbook). The prices have now gone up.
I thought it was a good read, especially the comparison to that other great, Bob Dylan. Jim Devlin, one of Leonard's biographers, was also complimentary about Footman's book; not many people know more about Leonard than Jim Devlin.
Thank you for sharing sites .. There are beautiful things, some things I buy. :)
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by LisaLCFan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:58 am

[quote="kevwill"]I really got the impression that this was quite hurriedly written, possibly to ride the wave of popularity rekindled by the world tour. It felt as if it was written 'at a distance', as nowhere was there any evidence that the author actually knew, or had even met Leonard. All the quotes used appear to be in the public domain, rather than from interviews/conversations that the author has had. This is probably not altogether a bad thing, but I was left feeling that I had found out very little about Leonard Cohen the man, as opposed to the artist/poet/performer/etc. The book concentrates on the recordings and books published and, although the author includes the recent tour, I got the impression that he hadn't even attended any of the concerts. I'm not convinced that he's actually a fan!!! (Shock horror!!!) [quote]

I also just read this book, and I definitely agree with this assessment (and with what everybody else has said! Good and valid points made by everybody). In addition, there was a lot of sloppy editing (or very little editing): in one chapter (over 1.5 pages) Beautiful Losers was referred to as "The Beautiful Game" and as "Beautiful Strangers"! And, there were a lot of typos that should have been caught.

Since I am a long-time fan and have read most of what's out there, and seen most of the interviews, etc, there wasn't anything new for me, but a newer fan could certainly learn a thing or two about basic details of Leonard's life and career. It was definitely short on insight about Leonard: I found I got a better idea about who Leonard is as a person from Ira Nadel's biography (if one wants to compare). Nadel did have actual contact with Leonard and with others who know Leonard well, so there was a more intimate feel to his book than to Footman's, since the latter book, I believe, could have been written by virtually anyone with an internet connection. (Well, to be fair to Footman, his writing style is pleasant and very readable, so even though his material wasn't particularly original, he presented it well.)

I was rather annoyed by Footman's repeated assertions that Leonard can't sing, that his voice is monotone and weak and all that. I have a very different perception of Leonard's voice, I find it expressive and beautiful, both when he was young and especially now, it is so deep and rich, and I do believe that he can, in fact, sing. Perhaps this simply reflects the fact that Footman probably isn't much of a fan, and has maybe never really listened to Leonard the way that we have! (Mr. Footman, are you reading this? Would you like to repsond?)

And, a final oddity about Footman's book: why is the cover shot of Leonard (as well as one or two photos inside) a mirror-image photo? Leonard's beautiful and slightly crooked nose is clearly bending in the wrong direction!

So, if anybody wants to read a bio of Leonard, I would definitely recommend Ira Nadel's book over Footman's. For those who can't get enough of Leonard and like to read everything out there, then this new book provides a mostly pleasant diversion that is all about Our Man!

Cheers!
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by caz » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:35 pm

Hi all

I don't think the book was hurriedly written to capitalise on the world tour, as it happens. Also, I believe TF is a fan of Leonard's, though not one who is so star-struck (if that's the right way of putting it) that he is not objective in his writing. As it happens, I've been a Leonard Cohen fan since the 60's, and never thought he had a particularly good singing voice in his early days (and let's be honest, it is, and was, a commonly-held view). However, that never stopped me seeing far beyond the aural quality of his work. Maybe Tim feels the same? (FWIW I think Leonard's voice is fantastic now: his new deep voice is indeed beautiful, though in speech I have always thought it mesmerising. I also find it fascinating that his voice has gained so much strength during this tour. In the early days I think there were some notes at the top of his register that he had to strain to reach, though I think that's understandable).

As for TF reading this thread, I think it's quite possible he will. Whether he will respond is another matter!

Cheers
Carole

PS What page were The Beautiful Game / Beautiful Strangers references on? I had spotted a few typos myself, but didn't see that one. Now I'm intrigued......
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Re: Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography by Tim Footman

Post by LisaLCFan » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:17 am

caz wrote:
PS What page were The Beautiful Game / Beautiful Strangers references on? I had spotted a few typos myself, but didn't see that one. Now I'm intrigued......
It's in Chapter Eight, p.55 and 56 ("The Beautiful Game" is in the first line of the chapter!!)
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