Jack Leonard SingerSinger Jack Leonard
Well-known as Jack, John Marston Jr. is the second star of the Red Dead Redemption.
Cohen: Sweet Words from the Tower
Cohen wrote these verses for Tower Of Song in 1988, when many and perhaps he himself thought that the most important part of his life and music had been consumed and little interest remained. Behind the curve, instead, tragicomic and extraordinary adventures, and a persistence of character and songs that few could have imagined.
With these verses old Len was prophetic, for it is only true that his sweet words now that he has gone sound loud and leave a trace of irresistible curiosity. His songs are translated all over the world, like poems and novels, biographies abound; and now this cumbersome book, compiled by Jeff Burger in 2014 and just published by Il Saggiatore, has the original introduction by Suzanne Vega and a letter by Francesco Bianconi written especially for the Italian edition.
It' called The Way of Saying Goodbye and they are "conversations about music, love, life" that Cohen sowed throughout his public life, from 1966, when he was still a young writer without a guitar in his hand, until 2012, when he still travelled the world for love and power with his show and the pack of fame and myth.
All his life, Cohen has spoken with the paradox that when he left the scenes in 1994 to enter a monastery in zen, the name Jikan was imposed on him, "which is not really silent, but something that has to do with silence - a kind of ordinary silence".
The Roshi of the monastery was an extraordinary type who was well described in more than one interview (there is even one in 1997 when Leonard was still a monk), and no one can deny me the idea that this nickname was a mocking invitation for the Master to reflect on the disciple, a great storyteller who was always fascinated by his own confession, "by the ability to give shape to the world through words".
He doesn't explain himself by riddles, he doesn't avoid uncomfortable questions, he doesn't try to hypnotize. He can openly confess that "I usually don't even know what I'm doing" and humbly ask not to be called a poet: "if at all a pseudo-poet, as Gainsbourg said", better still a "stylist".
The songs fascinate him because they tell stories, "a good storyteller talks about us, tells our story and thus manages to put our dirty problems in a new light": and these stories "no matter whether they have a beginning, a half, an end, the most important thing is to listen to the story". Love usually lives there, and all this is inevitable when you hear the fake poet: "Because the heart is an ingenious shashlik skewer in the chest that is impossible to soften or control.
Somewhere in us we live a life full of passions and emotions, which are basically the most important thing for us. Nobody plays with music, because music is meant for the heart". I was lucky to meet Leonard Cohen in person and I will surely find him on these pages:
his old-fashioned training as a "bourgeois Jew of Montreal", the formalism of comfortable double breasts "because my father had a tailoring workshop and I come from a time before jeans", the contradiction always resolved with difficulties between spiritual tension and uncontrollable love for the body and female nudity ("no one knows how to say "naked" with Leonard Cohen's nudity", joked Tom Robbins, but not too much).
For years he was followed by the image of a melancholic singer-songwriter, a "poet of despair," who rejected him with words that were actually weak: "I don't go around in search of melancholy like I don't look for joy. Over time, it became clear to everyone that it was a superficial reading, because (Patrick Watson in a TV feature 1980) "behind so many painful songs and mystical poems in Leonard Cohen hides a mischievous goblin that sometimes appears in poems and novels and becomes particularly apparent when he looks at the public side of his life through the eyes of the absurd: fame, reputation, image, the excesses of travel and above all the sad beauty of human vanity".
A young man, Leonard, who does not bow to praise and criticism of his work as a writer ("verbal masturbation", hisses a critic from the time of the "Beautiful Losers"), who hesitates to record his songs and decides to enter the stage when he is thirty-five years old, who unreservedly surrenders to the gods of drugs but does not withdraw early and in the negative; who one day in 1970 receives a call from Robert Altman to find songs for his new movie.
Domanda Cohen. Use as many songs as you want! "The movie is I compare, Cohen's songs seem to be written specifically for this story of blood, snow and human malice. Many began to fall in love with him; never to stop, because it is not easy to get out of the magic circle of certain music.
To recover, Cohen shoots the cards at a producer far away from him, Phil Spector, who shows up in the recording room with an arsenal of weapons, confiscates the tapes to decide for himself and finally delivers an record no one, not even the author, can ever re-evaluate - "Death Of A Ladies' Man".
"One day he came to me about four in the morning, with a half-empty bottle of Manischewitz in one hand and his 0.45 caliber on the other, put one arm around my back, pointed the gun at my neck, took the safety off, and said, "I love you, Leonard.
The eighties are the time of maturity and rediscovery of the public and of an increasingly disillusioned view of life that soon turns into darkness. "Citizen three things that she likes again and again," asked Kristine McKenna in 1988. Feeling the need for a "certain severity", Cohen increasingly flees to a monastery not far from Los Angeles, Mount Baldy, two thousand meters above sea level, where he helps a m-not much older than himself, who teaches him strict and paradoxical life instructions.
In 1994 he decided to isolate himself there, perhaps with the idea of never leaving; but five years later he came out, cured of his depression and compassionately proud of what he thought was his failure: "I'm not fit for this life. Like in a bad novel, the man who managed a life ran away with the money and rights to famous songs and left Leonard little change.
He must start from scratch and with the usual discipline, with painful application: records in a rhythm that he never knew, and has repeatedly suffered performances all over the world, with this voice so tired and yet ever more fascinating. Cohen barely talks about this bad story.
He prefers to talk about his sons Adam and Lorca, about the age that worries him less, about his withered fame as Casanova, about antidepressants and Chateau Latour; and about his pride to be welcomed, he was certainly not a rock, in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame - this happened in 2008 and Lou Reed introduced him with cheerful, loving words: "We are very lucky to live at the same time as Leonard Cohen".
These are words that we can all spend, even if we have to move them into the past; because old Len left one day in November 2016 after he had declared his departure by cable and signature with perhaps the most ruthless and sincere album of his series "You Want It Darker".
As a young man Cohen had been a journalist, among other things, and even as a singer-songwriter he always felt like one until the last moment. "Songs are my report. I describe what I can describe as precisely as possible with the evidence available to me.