• Philip Bryer

Leonard Cohen


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Laughing Len. The Godfather of Gloom. God, he’s

depressing isn’t he? No! No! No! No! Beware of lazy, ignorant journalists bearing clichés.

This is a man who thanks the audience for coming out, and says he understands that in doing so, “many of you will have experienced financial and geographical inconvenience.” He introduces one song with, “It's been a long time since I've stood on a stage in London, it was about 15 years ago, I was 60 years old … just a kid with a crazy dream.”

This is a man who writes wry songs of life, love, and experience. Songs for grown-ups. Which is ironic, since he also wrote Hallelujah, a song which has become a staple of the Saturday night singing contests where it gets ritually murdered by a procession of leather-lunged, yet teary, teenage squawkers. Which is a bit like Churchill ending his career on Celebrity Squares.

This is a man whose version of Hallelujah is beautiful, a classic, which, leaving aside Simon Cowell’s best efforts to ruin it for everyone, has also been the subject of some fine cover versions. Quite something for 4 verses and a simple chorus. How many verses? Reportedly, Cohen wrote 80 verses and then trimmed it down.

This is a man who is funny, clever, so richly talented as to make you sick, and with a work ethic to shame us all. So if you ever hear some idle hack referring to him as gloomy or boring or depressing, you have my permission to cut out this section and send it to them.

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