Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

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B4real
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Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby B4real » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:50 am

A view from downunder :)

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/prog ... llow-cohen

Book of Cohen: Leonard through the lens of a Kiwi fan (and fellow Cohen)
From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:41 pm on 22 February 2019

DC on LC.jpg
There is a download link on the page that says listen to Book of Cohen.
To many people, Leonard Cohen is the classic brooding artist: a thoughtful, grave poet and musician, haunted by his demons, yet accepting of them – and the writer of some of the greatest songs of the 20th century.
The beloved Canadian has long been a figure of fascination for another Cohen living on the other side of the world... Wellington writer David Cohen.

He's just published Book of Cohen – the story of a "famous singer and his not-so-famous lifelong New Zealand fan".

David took issue with the Afternoons programme "ban" on playing the (Leonard) Cohen song he requested – 'Hallelujah'.
(According to Jesse, it's because many of Cohen's other great songs don't get enough shine)
For many years, 'Hallelujah' was "criminally neglected", David says.
"In fact, Leonard Cohen's record company abandoned it and some of the pages in my Book of Cohen are turned over to this, to when I began in music writing and when CBS represented Cohen and when CBS absolutely dropped Cohen for, among other reasons, the distaste they had for the album (Various Positions) that produced 'Hallelujah'."

'[Book of Cohen is about] how one very obscure Cohen – that would be me, based in New Zealand – gets to live somewhat to the backbeat of a much more famous and accomplished Cohen'

Book of Cohen is "really about how one very obscure Cohen – that would be me, based in New Zealand – gets to live somewhat to the backbeat of a much more famous and accomplished Cohen – that would be Lenny", David says.
He was inspired to write it after penning a column for RNZ the day Leonard died – Farewell to a beautiful loser.
"It's a rather tremulous piece of writing but I was happy with it.

"When I looked at the elements of the piece that I did I thought that these could be made into a book. And that really is Leonard Cohen's position in my life as a singer, as a songwriter, as a voice, as an artist, as a religious thinker, and the book really goes into all of the above. And it is set in various times and places and ... that's the dance."

David says he isn't attempting to compete with the numerous other Leonard Cohen projects in the works, such as an oral history, several collections of sheet music, and memoirs from people who "met him on Mount Baldy or in hotel rooms in Tel Aviv or whatever".

"As a New Zealander and as a New Zealand writer who wanted to give a distinct response there was no way I could compete with that noise, that was just out of the question. So this sort of collection of late night meditations – particularly coming from the end of the world – seemed apposite.

"As I sketch out in the book quite early on, I discovered Leonard Cohen through my father, Lionel Cohen. So lots of Cohens floating around in my life. My father was a Leonard Cohen fan, not of his music – he may have been, I don't know – but of his writing and in particular, The Favourite Game, his 1963 novel. His radiantly vulgar novel.
"I came upon that shortly after my father lit out of my life, actually, and sort of claimed it as my own. That was my first contact with Leonard Cohen. It sounds a little gloomy, it wasn't. But that's what got me keen.

"Then in my teen years, I got hit by 'The Avalanche', that is, the song. I began in journalism was when I was about 20 as a fairly bad music writer and Various Positions happened to be one of the first albums I reviewed.
"So all of those points are touched on in the book and many others that go from the middle east to Montréal to New York to 19th-century Wales."

Book of Cohen is published by Steele Roberts.
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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: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby Mary72 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:56 pm

Happy to have some photos of mine here. My copy is arriving soon, through David, that other Cohen :-)
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Re: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby B4real » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:41 am

Mary72 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:56 pm
Happy to have some photos of mine here. My copy is arriving soon, through David, that other Cohen :-)
Mary, that's an interesting connection there for you!
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: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby Mary72 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:43 pm

Music and a surname. Magic combination these days.
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Re: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby B4real » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:32 am

A review of the book -
https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/b ... m-of-italy
The life of Wellington writer David Cohen is inextricably intertwined with that of the more famous Leonard.

Book of Cohen by David Cohen (Steele Roberts) $29.99

I well remember the first time I heard the music of Leonard Cohen. It was on the back of a ship ploughing through the Mediterranean. His gravelly rendition of that most haunting of love poems, Suzanne, remains firmly etched in my mind.

The same is true of David Cohen – except more so. The Wellington writer is self-confessedly "Cohen mad". Leonard's music and David's life intertwine inextricably. The latter even goes to the length of a pilgrimage to Leonard's hometown, Montreal, and to his New York sojourn. David visits their shared tūrangawaewae, Israel.

Yet David's book is not just a star-struck hagiography of Leonard. It is part memoir, part travelogue, part meditation, part potpourri. It is also, to a large extent, a conversation between Cohen and the reader. He gushes, leaps, stops and ponders, dances on and pins us back with his glittering eye. Highly opinionated, he always has a strong view on everything, but particularly music. His views can be irritating, even infuriating, but they are always challenging. His bias is, predictably, pro-Israeli.

At the risk of dilettantism, Cohen draws in a wide range of references. He locates Leonard within the context of the wide Jewish tradition, then triangulates his place in Western intellectual history, from Saint Augustine to Susan Sontag. From Sontag, he takes the amusing position that reviews are "the intellect's revenge on art". His book would seem to belie that idea.

Dividing the book into chapters focused on Leonard's albums, David uses each as a springboard for discussion. It does not – and this is key to our appreciation – depend on our intimate knowledge of the songs, although that certainly helps.

Above all, David liberates Leonard's songs from the singer's initial impression as the "bedsit prophet of gloom". They are based on real loves, on Leonard's sexual encounters, on actual travels. As David says, Leonard "unriddles the claustrophobia of a relationship". He sheds light, not darkens.

What struck me most, however, was not Leonard's life, but David's own journey. A high-school dropout and Borstal survivor, as detailed in his Little Criminals, he is an autodidact. He argues passionately – maybe too much sometimes – but his arguments are always supported by the views of others. He has read widely and likes to show it, but the effect is illuminating, not ostentatious.

Just before the book was published, Cohen received some stunning news. He discovered a sister he never knew he had. He wrote about this, and the background to this book, in Stuff earlier this year. It is an astonishing tale, resulting in the book being amended and reprinted.

The book won't be to everybody's taste. But for the adventurous, the curious and the aficionados of late 20th century music, it's well worth a look.

– Steve Walker
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: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby jarkko » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:52 pm

Here are some facts:
ISBN 9780947493882
Published 1 February 2019 by Steele Roberts Aotearoa Ltd, New Zealand
Format Paperback
Author(s) By Cohen, David

Description of this Book
This is a story of two Cohens, the famous singer and his not-so-famous lifelong New Zealand fan. It spans several generations and locations, from the refugee waves of Europe of the 19th century to suburban New Zealand in the 1970s, late-night Montreal and New York and the menacing frontiers of the Middle East.


Author's Bio
David Cohen lives in Wellington. His articles have been published widely in New Zealand and abroad. He is the author of five books, and has co-authored or contributed essays to several others, including Jewish Lives in New Zealand, Ima: An Israeli Mother's Kitchen and A Perfect World. An influential earlier work, Little Criminals, which was also made into a television documentary, was named one of the best books of 2011 by the New Zealand Listener.
I would need David's email address - please send (by PM or email) if you have it!
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: Book of Cohen: David Cohen on Leonard Cohen

Postby Mary72 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:38 pm

I have David's email, Jarkko.

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