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Meeting with Leonard Cohen
Interview by Albert Labbouz
Paris, June 29th 2001
Translation and adaptation: Marc Gaffié
Interview of Leonard Cohen by Albert Labbouz
Albert Labbouz : Patrice Clos (Webmaster of the French Site)
wanted to ask you something about your loving of our country: Joan of Arc,
The Partisan, Edith piaf and others artists...
A.L : What do you like more in France ?
A.L : Patrice built up this question...and he knows a great deal
A.L : Choosing one is forgetting many others…
A.L : the first tribute album released was the Graeme Allwright
one (Graeme Allwright sings Leonard Cohen, France, 1973).
You know him well, do you ?.
A.L : And now in 2001, what is your feeling about his adaptations
A.L : He feels very much like phoning you.
A.L : Reading the title of your forthcoming album, Ten New Songs,
I couldn't help thinking of the Ten Commands....of the Ten New
A.L : I guessed there was something special about this
Sharon Robinson enters the room.
A.L Leonard, do you think the websites devoted to you are useful
for your fans of-all-times, and for the new generations to discover your
A.L : Actually, it is these sites that build a chain between you
and all those who love you. It's these sites, if I understand what you're
saying, that made you understand that Leonard Cohen is a major presence in
the lives of many people, all around the world.
A.L : Whatever, we are very touched, we the French Leonard Cohen
site's Team, by the fact you give us these words, your presence today.
It's a very warm feeling.
A.L : Do you have a message for your French fans ?
A.L : Patrice works very hard for this, you know…
A.L : We thank you. Recently we were able to discover a
photograph of Suzanne Verdal (the woman that inspired the character of
Suzanne in the song "Suzanne"). And then, this woman, who
had no face for million people around the world, suddenly she took a human
form. What is your feeling about it? I myself was rather, I wouldn't say
shocked, astonished to be able, from a day to another, put a real face on
this famous name. I almost say that I wish Suzanne would stay a name
A.L : It's not
from the time you knew her.
A.L : So you didn't see that photograph on the Finnish site?
A.L : I can imagine.
A.L : Some other kind of retreat.
A.L : Let's talk about another frenchman, Philippe Djian, do you know
him ? Maybe his novel "Betty Blue".
A.L : He wrote that he learned how to live with a woman by listening to
your songs and reading your books.
A.L : Is it for that reason you said once that your songs are as robust
as a Volvo ?
A.L : I would like to ask you a difficult question; it's about the
world as it is, and particularly what's going on up there...in Israel,. Do
you think Abraham does not love his children any more ?
A.L : I'm a Jew too...…
A.L : Although these brothers are fighting theirselves.
A.L : You're touched with this ?
A.L : That makes you silent and you don't really know how to react in
front of it. You're very touched.…
A.L : And who has
got this solution ? When we'll find this idea, maybe we make a little step...
A.L : In God's Hands ?
A.L : Let's be silent after that.
A.L : In the song " The night comes on ", I suppose that who asks the
son to "go back to the world" is the mother...?
A.L : What kind of voice did tell you to go back to the world ?
Spiritual ? Material ? Sexual ? Sensual ?
A.L : Masha. You remembered and you went back to the world, back with
A.L : Wisdom ?
A.L : Something quiet, peaceful..?
A.L : Pragmatic is the word...two final questions..?
A.L : In the song "Never Any Good", you said:
A.L :You always doubt of yourself, of your deeds, of your talent, as if
self-doubting was a second nature. Why ? Why being "Humbled in
love" ? And there's also the poem "Better"...Finally, do
you think yourself as "never any good" or "better" ?.
A.L : It's something we cannot govern, we're invaded.
A.L : In a past interview, you ended it by saying "there are still
beautiful losers, I'm one of them". Now, what can you say ? Do you
stillfeel yourself as a beautiful loser ?
AL : An invincible defeat.....Thanks for answering.....