Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by LisaLCFan »

Geoffrey wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:17 pm Mary72 wrote:
...>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!! :-)

Interesting reaction to Mary's comment. My first thought was, "I thought they were."

Of course, that is not to pass judgement on the veracity of the contents of any of these things: in many cases, one cannot know if they are true or not, or if they were even meant to be. "Stories" can be all of the above, whether told as gossip, oral history, call it what you will.

Cheers!
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Geoffrey
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Geoffrey »

LisaLCFan wrote:
>Interesting reaction to Mary's comment. My first thought was, "I thought they were."
>
>Of course, that is not to pass judgement on the veracity of the contents of any of these things: in many cases, one cannot know if they are true or not, or if they were even meant to be. "Stories" can be all of the above, whether told as gossip, oral history, call it what you will.

unsure why i am answering this, because i know not what to say. passing judgement on anything is almost always a precarious pastime, and gossip seems to be a difficult word to pin down - even more so after having investigated its definition. perhaps the wisest thing to do, in most situations, is to try to understand why someone has become the person they are. some people don't like certain foods, certain music, certain authors, etc., and much of this has a psychological rather than a physiological reason. in any case, no matter what we say or do, our voices or actions seem all too often to tell more about ourselves than anyone else. ;)
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by LisaLCFan »

Geoffrey wrote: Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:29 am ... in any case, no matter what we say or do, our voices or actions seem all too often to tell more about ourselves than anyone else.
But of course -- it never occurred to me to think otherwise.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion. This thread is about a book -- and as with all books (and anything else), some people will like it, some won't, and the rest won't care. Makes no difference to me -- to each his/her own!

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

Post by Mary72 »

no matter what we say or do, our voices or actions seem all too often to tell more about ourselves than anyone else.
We have forgotten to be kind with each other, we have forgotten that a word has it's own energy and once spoken it will work as ripple. The heart will never be unified, it will go on, on cooking, sizzling like shish kebab, leaving an ugly mark.
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Geoffrey
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Geoffrey »

LisaLCFan wrote:
>Anyway, sorry for the diversion. This thread is about a book -- and as with all books (and anything else), some people will like it, some won't, and the rest won't care. Makes no difference to me -- to each his/her own!

makes no difference to me either, lisa - i'm sorry to say. i don't have an opinion on the book, but that is mostly because i haven't read it yet. my nature dictates that i don't need to have everything i want, even if i can afford it. if i one day do read it i would hope that i didn't remain indifferent, that i was not amongst those who don't care, those with an insouciant attitude - because i don't want people to call me apathetic. i want to be regarded as a dynamic person, one with a strong personality, like you - not as an anonymous little grey mouse that nobody sees.

i don't believe any diversion has occurred here, at least not a serious one. a couple of people wrote how bad the book was, and it is natural to respond to their comments. the conclusion was, more or less, that they couldn't help writing horrible things because of their upbringing (cause and effect) - that they have absorbed so much criticism in their lives that it reflects and manifests itself in their behaviour. to cruelly denounce someone's hard and well-meaning work simply as 'trashy' obviously implies an underdeveloped sense of fairness.

Mary72 wrote:
>We have forgotten to be kind with each other, we have forgotten that a word has it's own energy and once spoken it will work as ripple. The heart will never be unified, it will go on, on cooking, sizzling like shish kebab, leaving an ugly mark.

well, fortunately not everyone is bad, maria. just look back on some of the messages i've written, always well-balanced, empathetic and seeking harmony. everybody knows how nice i am. this is because i meditate, i have contact with my inner self and have developed into a mature and conscientious person.
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by LisaLCFan »

Hmm. The people who expressed a negative view of the book in question were simply expressing the fact that that sort of book does not appeal to them, which seems to me a perfectly reasonable and justifiable thing to think, feel, and say -- not everybody enjoys the same things, and nobody should have to justify why. I certainly did not perceive their comments as being unkind towards others nor as any sort of personal attack against anyone -- people should be able to express dislike for something without being chastised for it.

However, others seemed to take it quite personally, and then the people who expressed those negative opinions of the book were harshly taken to task, and their views, personalities, and upbringing were psychoanalysed, insulted and belittled, as if they and their assessments were completely unworthy. Who's being unkind here?

It's just a f*cking book, for chr*st's sake. :roll:
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Geoffrey
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Geoffrey »

LisaLCFan wrote:
>It's just a f*cking book, for chr*st's sake.

yes, i can only agree, lisa: just a book. one that can be reviewed by eloquent, well-adjusted people as well as cliché-ridden neurotics. call me incorrigible, but as a student of human behaviour i have always been fascinated by other people, the way they often unwittingly reveal information about themselves, especially via interaction.

wishing you a healthy, joyful and prosperous 2021 :-)
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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Geoffrey wrote: Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:59 pm ...wishing you a healthy, joyful and prosperous 2021 :-)
Same to you!
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mutti
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by mutti »

I am in the middle of the book and wanted to share my thoughts.
I am pleasantly surprised that I am liking it.

It is a style of writing that took a bit of time to get used to for me. I read a few pages every night before going to sleep and look forward to it. I find some of it I pass over as it has no interest for me and I wonder what it is even doing in the book but sometimes I find myself smiling or even laughing out loud. That is always a good sign. Some good insights too.

The interviews are with people who were friends or acquaintances of Leonard in his younger days. No way to know if the stories are true but my feeling is so far they are what these people recollect. I was worried for example that if a fan was interviewed there is no way to verify if what they are saying is true especially if no one else was around. So far it does seem to be people who have stories to tell of knowing Leonard in his youth and younger days.
I wouldn't say I learned a lot of new things but as I read I seem to have a better understanding of parts of him. Consistently people are commenting on how kind, compassionate and gentle Leonard was.

For many of us there will never be another like Leonard and it is interesting to get a perspective from a different form of writing. I was very skeptical this would be a book of gossip before I read it. I guess it remains to be seen once the next volumes are released.
As I said I do skip over some comments and the ones that stand out are worth it for me to continue reading. Its an easy book to read and I am liking the style more and more. In fact I find myself as I read not wanting the book to end.

I would say in my opinion for fans of Leonard it is worth having a look.

I have no idea what Leonard himself would think of the book.

Leslie 8)
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Joe Way
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Joe Way »

Hi Leslie,
I am not quite as far along in the book as you, but I am having a very similar reaction. I found the style a little off putting at first, but as I have become used to it is quite effective. Since the book is mostly dependant on peoples memories and impressions there is much conflicting information often on the same page. For example, people would have complete opposite reactions to Leonard's mother, Masha.

For those of us who have followed Leonard for many years and read much about him, there is not a lot of new information. But there is some. For example, I learned that the line in "Love Calls You By Your Name"

"Where are you Judy, where are you Ann" refers to Judy Goldblatt and Ann Sherman two old girlfriends.

I agree with you that the book is worth a look.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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Maarten
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Maarten »

Hi all

I haven't watched it in full, but here's a YouTube link to "Michael Posner in conversation with Cantor Gideon Zelermyer"
https://youtu.be/wr63eBxaJKE

Maarten

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Joe Way
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by Joe Way »

Thank you so much Maarten! I've watched about half of it and it is good.

We have deep fondness for Cantor Gideon Zelermyer from our time in Montreal in 2017.

I finished the book a few days ago (which I enjoyed very much). One of the puzzling things about it was that Posner spelled Perla Battalla's name wrong. I was sitting in our living room with Anne in another chair and looking up Perla on Facebook to determine her spelling and Posner's name came up. I held up the book and said to Anne, "Do you know you are Facebook friends with him?" She gave me a pretty blank look and said, "No."

He hasn't asked me to be friends!

Joe
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DennisBerlin
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: From This Broken Hill, Volume 2

Post by DennisBerlin »

Part 2 is already listed here:

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/ ... 1982176891

"The second volume of the extraordinary life of the great music and literary icon Leonard Cohen, in the words of those who knew him best.

Poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, artist, prophet, icon—there has never been a figure like Leonard Cohen. He was a true giant in contemporary western culture, entertaining and inspiring the world with his work. From his groundbreaking and bestselling novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, to timeless songs such as “Suzanne,” “Dance Me to the End of Love,” and “Hallelujah,” Cohen is one of the world’s most cherished artists. His death in 2016 was felt around the world by the many fans and followers who would miss his warmth, humour, intellect, and piercing insights.

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories chronicles the full breadth of his extraordinary life. This second of three volumes—From This Broken Hill—follows him from the conclusion of his first international music tour in 1971 as he continued to compose poetry, record music, and search for meaning into the late 1980s. The book explores his decade-long relationships with Suzanne Elrod, with whom he had two children, and various other numerous romantic partners, including the beginning of his long relationship with French photographer Dominique Issermann and, simultaneously, a five-year relationship with a woman never previously identified.

It is a challenging time for Cohen. His personal life is in chaos and his career stumbles, so much so that his 1984 album, Various Positions, is rejected by Columbia Records, while other artistic endeavours fail to find an audience. However, this period also marks the start of his forty-year immersion in Zen Buddhism, which would connect him to the legendary Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi and inspire some of his most profound and enduring art.

In From This Broken Hill, bestselling author and biographer Michael Posner draws on hundreds of interviews to reach beyond the Cohen of myth and reveal the unique, complex, and compelling figure of the real man. Honest and entertaining, this is a must-have book for any Cohen fan."


Image


https://www.amazon.de/Leonard-Cohen-Unt ... 031&sr=8-2






Dennis
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mat james
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

Post by mat james »

Great book! (The Early Years)

The voices in this book tell me about a man who was a self absorbed genius who happened to write poems, books and songs very well, drawn from deep personal experience.
"We were interested in creating a language closer to our own rhythms, that spoke to our own towns and our own lives." (Leonard Cohen, page 72 in this book)

I get the feeling that his only true love was his art.

The comments regarding Marianne and the sad part he (Leonard) played in her life are abysmally deep. My inner-poet's guess is that his treatment of her may have brought about or at least enhanced his constant bouts of depression; may in fact be the reason why he wrote so well about King David's "broken hallelujah" and the guilt David felt regarding his selfish and treacherous behaviour. Marianne's tough decisions are based, according to several interviews in this book, on Leonard's wishes. And his reasoning is un-heroic, to say the least.
....you read the book and judge for yourself...

Again, I get the feeling that his only true love was his art; he said as much himself in some of his songs, as I read them.
...and out of these "wounded dawns" came much loved art.
What price art? one might ask. I'm sure Leonard Cohen asked himself this many times, pondered and cried on it many times....sang it...

What price ego-centricity x genius? This is the question that rolled around my mind after reading Posner's interviews.
.."Oh I wish there was a treaty we could sign..."

Ah, the fields are crying out it's jubilee
We sold ourselves for love but now we're free
I'm so sorry for that ghost I made you be
Only one of us was real and that was me...

It is a hard book.
It is a good book.

Mat James.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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vlcoats
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Re: Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

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I just finished this book. I saved it as reward and encouragement for completing a few other books that I was compelled to read.

Was it the reward I was hoping for and expected? Yes. Was it gossipy and degrading to our hero? I am sure there are some who would say yes to that as well. But for me, I could no more resist reading this than forego a bedtime visit to see my donkeys.

There was a comment made by someone interviewed in the book that struck me in particular (sorry I do not have the quote, but can try to find it if anyone wishes). It said something along the lines that they had met Leonard at a good time in their lives because otherwise they would not have experienced enough life to appreciate him as much as they did.

Anyone who has read my previous posts knows that I have often bemoaned the fact that although I
was born in Canada and am a lover of poetry and music, it took his death for me to finally listen to him. But after giving it some thought, I feel that I came to him at just the right time in my life. Maybe there were things I needed to experience first.

Sometimes people are described as being an "old soul". I seriously doubt if anyone would ever describe me as that, but somehow I have stumbled and fallen upon Leonard. If souls come back (not that I belive they do or do not), perhaps mine will have gained some footing.

Vickie
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