As the godfather of gloom turns 70, Tim de Lisle describes his brush with death - and lists 69 other things you may not know about him 1 Leonard Cohen has been labelled "the poet laureate of pessimism", "the grocer of despair", "the godfather of gloom" and "the prince of bummers".
He has, none the less, given pleasure and even laughter to the million or so people who buy his records. It includes a song about September 11, called On That Day. Late middle-age tends not to be easy for pop stars, if they get there at all, but it has smiled on Cohen.
This article was first printed in The Guardian (UK) on Friday, September 27 under the title "Who held a gun to Leonard Cohen's head?
" Reprinted here by permission of the author © 2004 Tim de Lisle and The Guardian Click here to read it on the Guardian site!
I would be enthusiastically promoting any one of them if they worked." 29 From 1965 to 1968 he was a vegetarian. 30 Some time in the early 70s, his songs were dismissed as "music to slit your wrists to". "I get put into the computer tagged with melancholy and despair," Cohen said.
"And every time a journalist taps in my name, that description comes up on the screen." 31 His hero is Federico Garca Lorca.
In Barcelona, a singer will perform Cohen's songs in Catalan.When she said 'God bless you', you really felt that you had been blessed.It's wonderful to hear a 20-year-old speaking about love.27 Singing it in concert decades later, he sometimes found the emotions hard to unearth."I was never so good that I could make a song sound real or authentic without it being that, and if it isn't, people know.