Farewell to Idols: Leonard Cohen

Once again this year music journalists around the world write obituaries for one of pop music’s greatest.

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That horrible day my dog died. I was 15 or 16 and he was my everything. I went out on the Veranda where my Father put him and as I touched him so cold and all stiff already I burst into tears. I didn’t go to school that day. Instead, I lay down on the living room floor and listened to music. We had that very old record player and radio system from the 60s with a nice and warm tube amplifier sound. I put on “Songs of Leonard Cohen”, the first track and I was gone, off to that magical place Suzanne would take me.

Ever since I discovered this very album in the old pile of my mother’s records some afternoon spent in the basement digging and discovering some really great music aged 14, Songs of Leonard Cohen was my personal devastation soundtrack. Later on when my first depressions kicked in when I was around 17 Cohen was one of my saviours.

In love with Suzanne

Every time I was devastated and in tears wondering how long it will take and how long I would be able to stand it, he urged me on that journey with Suzanne and I went with her to this wonderful, surreal place beside the river on a late summer’s afternoon and it was just her and me and there was no time and no space. It was so surreal. A place without feeling and somehow all was numb. There was no pain.

My father didn’t like him at all and freaked out every time I put him on quoting his songs were suicidal music and driving people mad and though it’s true and I’ve never heard sounds that were more depressing than his, he still somehow comforted me in hours of despair:

“Oh the sisters of mercy // they are not departed or gone // They were waiting for me // when I thought that I just can’t go on // And they brought me their comfort // and later they brought me this song // Oh I hope you run into them // you who’ve been travelling so long”

Leonard Cohen is dead now and I wonder why I wasn’t as sad as so many times earlier this year when a lot of my idols and childhood heroes died. Was I just too angry about the fact that the US just elected a racist misogynist maniac president or have just so many people died and I grew tired of feeling it? Maybe. But not only wasn’t I just not sad, I even felt relief for him somehow. Because I know he’ll be alright and I know he was fine with it. He always was and that’s why he was able to comfort me.

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