Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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Mary72
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Mary72 »

Too many people have jumped onto the bandwagon
The many that jumped onto the bandwagon were Leonard's friends. People who knew him well, in that other side of intimacy. And that was book 1, wait until you read book 2 and 3.
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Geoffrey
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Geoffrey »

Eva wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:46 pm I have just finished reading this trashy book on Kindle (very happy I didn’t waste more money on the Hardcopy!) A compilation of gossip-style notations from people who allegedly knew Leonard Cohen. This is tabloid-style journalism that feeds into the sensationalism & fake news so prevalent & popular in our times. Too many people have jumped onto the bandwagon to profit from the beautiful legacy that Leonard Cohen left us & this book in no way enhances that nor does it necessitate digging in the dirt & finding skeletons in the closet.

Trashy! is this relevant to Leonard Cohen’s legacy?
a generous christmas present for the author! to write a controversial book, one that provokes both positive and negative emotion, is the dream of any ambitious writer - for who among them seeks indifference? i had not planned to purchase this book, but now i am having second thoughts; i want to see what all the fuss is about :-)
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Mary72
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Mary72 »

but now i am having second thoughts; i want to see what all the fuss is about
The invitation is still up Geoffrey, let me know when you are ready.
I can also send you some reviews that Posner's book received, from independent critics, I think you understand what I mean, the less engaged you are with all Cohen things the better. Your vision won't be blurried by the naked truth...
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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Excerpt: Michael Posner's 'Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years'

Key players in the iconic poet, author, and singer-songwriter's early career remember a college tour he embarked on and the events surrounding it
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Dec 14, 2020

https://www.tvo.org/article/excerpt-mic ... arly-years
The following is an excerpt from Michael Posner's Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years.

In November, after appearing on a new CBC public affairs show, Sunday, Cohen embarked on a tour of Canadian colleges. That same month—the month Judy Collins released her album with “Suzanne”—Cohen arrived in Edmonton. The trip marked a seminal moment in his transition from poet-novelist to singer-songwriter. Dianne Woodman, then McClelland & Stewart’s Edmonton representative, handled the logistics.

DIANNE WOODMAN: Eli Mandel was teaching at the University of Alberta and was a good friend of Leonard’s. Eli had a group of very talented grad students. They called themselves the Barbarians, after a poem by Gwendolyn MacEwen, “Breakfast for Barbarians.” They were sitting around one night talking about Cohen and Mandel said, “Why don’t we phone him?”

ANN MANDEL: Eli was teaching a graduate course in Victorian poetry. After class, we’d go out for beers or hang out in my apartment. We began to get the idea—let’s phone somebody. Eli liked doing this, seeing if you could contact somebody. One evening, he said, “Let’s try Leonard Cohen.” It was probably 2 or 3 a.m. Eastern time, but he [eventually] reached Leonard and said, “Come to Edmonton to give a reading.” After much urging, Leonard said, “Well, because you caught me in the middle of the night, when I’m serenading my lady and I’m in a good mood, I’ll come.”

DIANNE WOODMAN: I phoned Jack [McClelland] and asked him if M&S would pay and he said yes. So I booked him into the MacDonald Hotel. Normally, I’d have booked poetry readings, but when I talked to him, he said, “I don’t want to read. I want to sing.” Woodman met him the day he arrived, in a blizzard.

DIANNE WOODMAN: He was wearing this green turtleneck sweater and a leather jacket—no coat. The first thing I did, I took him to the Army and Navy department store and bought him thermal underwear. He was very glad for that. [He was] nice, diffident almost. He wasn’t an aggressive person, an angry person, a troubled person—he was happy. There was no depression.

Woodman arranged a concert for Cohen in the 500-seat Tory Turtle, the largest venue on campus.

DIANNE WOODMAN: It was jammed—I mean, jammed. I had no idea. These kids were sitting on the floor, in the aisles, and he just held them in thrall, with his guitar. The emotional reaction of those kids coming up to him afterwards—some of them could hardly speak.

ANN MANDEL: The first thing he did was hand out joss sticks. He gave a really good reading. There was no music, though he did tell the audience he had a guitar with him.

DIANNE WOODMAN: Mostly, we hung out at the hotel, with Eli and his then wife, Mimi, and his students. He taught me how to eat raw oysters, off silver platters. I haven’t had raw oysters since. Of course, he hit on me, but I was just this naive little Catholic housewife with four kids, putting her husband through medical school. What did I know? It wasn’t a serious thing—just the requisite thing he had to do. He did the concert and a couple of gigs at the Yardbird Suite and then he wouldn’t leave—he loved Edmonton.

ANN MANDEL: He had a kind of open-door policy at the MacDonald. Any kid could bomb into the hotel and go up to the room and hang out with Leonard Cohen. The MacDonald was then a very stuffy hotel and was beginning to get shirty about all these beatniks hanging around.

One night, according to Mandel, Cohen hosted a big party.

ANN MANDEL: There was so much booze and so many kids. It went on and on. Chivas Regal Scotch being passed around. It wasn’t a cheap deal. Some people were getting very drunk. One student passed out on the bathroom floor—John Cook. We agreed to let him lie there. Leonard never hit on me, but he knew I was more or less involved with Eli, even though he was in fact married to Mimi.

MICHAEL DORSEY: At the last party at the Mac, I was singing Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” and he told me when Dylan wrote the song, he looked in his mirror and saw Leonard and, at the same time in London, Leonard looked in his mirror and saw Dylan. He recounted this while kneeling in front of my chair, his elbows on my knees, his face inches from my guitar. A very intense gaze.

Cohen’s version seems fanciful, since “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” was first recorded in August 1965, long before Dylan would have been aware of Cohen as a songwriter. It was during that Edmonton trip, however, that Cohen wrote “Sisters of Mercy.” Accounts of its genesis are wildly conflicting. Cohen offered the most fulsome version in a 1974 radio interview.

LEONARD COHEN: I was . . . walking along one of the main streets . . . It was bitter cold. I passed these two girls [Barbara and Lorraine]. They invited me to stand in the doorway with them. Of course I did. Sometime later, we found ourselves in my little hotel room . . . and the three of us were gonna sleep together. Of course, I had all kinds of erotic fantasies of what the evening might bring . . . I think we all jammed into this one small couch . . . and it became clear that it wasn’t the purpose of the evening at all. At one point I found myself unable to sleep. I got up and, by the moonlight, I wrote that poem while these women were sleeping. It was one of the few songs I ever wrote from top to bottom without a line of revision. By the time they woke up . . . I had this completed song to sing to them.

Excerpted from Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years by Michael Posner, 2020. Published by Simon & Schuster Canada.

Michael Posner appears on The Agenda tonight at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Or streaming on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.​​​​​​​
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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: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by meganomaniac »

It's a cool biography. The author Michael Posner was on this Canadian show called The Agenda yesterday discussing the book. Lots of fun insights on Irving Layton, Judy Collins, Janis Joplin accusing him of plagiarism, Mordecai Richler, etc.

Here's the link to the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC7EEglLUmM
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Mary72 »

Janis Joplin accusing him of plagiarism
Joni Mitchell, not Janis Joplin.
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by mutti »

I attended the zoom event from Banyen Books in Vancouver BC Canada (my hometown) on Sunday.
It was a good interview but left me feeling unsettled. I have mixed feelings about the book.
I will wait to mention them (if I even do) until after I have read the first volume. In all fairness I need to read the book and look forward to it. I liked Michael Posner and felt he had integrity. He is a good speaker.

My gut feeling is in my opinion it is hard to know what is true or not. This style of writing is interesting... Anyone can write the author and tell a story and embellish it or provide things that are not true. Many of us have our stories and as Leonard is no longer here to verify them we have to totally trust that each person has their own perspective on what happened or didn't happen. That doesn't sit right with me.

I am curious of course to hear stories but hope its not a gossipy kind of thing and I am aware there is no way to tell if they are true.

One good thing is the writer Michael Posner has a large literary background.

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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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edit
Last edited by mutti on Sat Dec 19, 2020 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1988 Vancouver
2009 Victoria/Seattle/Almost Red Rocks/Las Vegas/San Jose.
2010 Sligo x 2/Victoria/Vancouver/Portland/Las Vegas x 2.
2012 Austin x 2/Seattle/Vancouver/Montreal x 2.
2013 Oakland x 2/New York City x 2/Winnipeg...
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B4real
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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Here's a few words on it - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion ... -machines/
Re Cohen’s Tales Of Seduction Look Different Through A #MeToo Lens Dec. 8
I was struggling to articulate my reaction to the oral history encapsulated in the first volume of Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years, until it finally came to me.

For those unfamiliar with the old Indian fable: Six blind men encounter different aspects of an elephant, and variously describe it as a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope. Here’s hoping that the forthcoming volumes two and three from author Michael Posner will give us a few other versions of the incomparable Leonard Cohen.

Jyothi Jayaraman Vancouver
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by LisaLCFan »

B4real wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:59 am
...For those unfamiliar with the old Indian fable: Six blind men encounter different aspects of an elephant, and variously describe it as a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope....

So, by that analogy, all the people who have told stories about Leonard in this book actually haven't got a clue who he really is or what he is really like, and thus everything we will be reading will be completely wrong. Because, an elephant is not, in fact, a wall, spear, snake, tree, fan, or rope, nor is it a combination of those things, and thus being told about walls, spears, snakes, tree, fans, and ropes will not enlighten a person as to the true nature of an elephant.

However, I assume that Jyothi Jayaraman of Vancouver, despite her flaws of logic, enjoyed the book.
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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Received my hard copy in Beijing. Yeah!
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by tomsakic »

Thanks for this straight-to-the-point review, Eva. I think I'll avoid this (as last few as well.)

"Oral history" is, after all, polite name for gossiping so we should knew that.
Eva wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:46 pm I have just finished reading this trashy book on Kindle (very happy I didn’t waste more money on the Hardcopy!) A compilation of gossip-style notations from people who allegedly knew Leonard Cohen. This is tabloid-style journalism that feeds into the sensationalism & fake news so prevalent & popular in our times. Too many people have jumped onto the bandwagon to profit from the beautiful legacy that Leonard Cohen left us & this book in no way enhances that nor does it necessitate digging in the dirt & finding skeletons in the closet.
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Mary72 »

Tom,why are you so judgemental and straightforward with one comment and review on Posner's book?
Oral history isn't the polite name for gossip and if that is the case many holy books and traditions should also be considered under the same umbrella, of the gossip.
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Geoffrey »

Mary72 wrote:
>Tom,why are you so judgemental and straightforward with one comment and review on Posner's book?

not wishing to tread on anyone's toes here, but i thought tom and eva's opinion on mr posner's book gave a brave and valuable example of how different people choose and judge what is rotten and what is fresh. had i enough talent to publish a book, i would treasure negative and positive reviews equally, as long as they were honest. as far as i can ascertain, mr posner is a respected journalist, and i cannot imagine him being anything other than appreciative of any feedback his work receives. very few things are perfect, there are cracks in everything, but sometimes it is uncontrollably tempting to negate a person's entire work - it all depends upon the personality and experiences of the reviewer. personally, i applaud anything that brings forward interest in leonard, and differing points of view on a book concerning him does exactly that :-)

>Oral history isn't the polite name for gossip and if that is the case many holy books and traditions should also be considered under the same umbrella, of the gossip.

yes, an excellent point!! :-)
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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As far I am concern, Tom is excusing himself of reading Posner's book,so he can't judge for himself.
Eva doesn't understad the difference between fans, who alledgly knew Leonard, and the Ones who in fact knew Leonard Cohen. I shall add a new word to explain the reviewer point of view or experience, as you say Geoffrey, it might depend of his/hers own daimons...
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