Last week, many of us had to gather ourselves as yet another icon left us. I remember seeing Leonard peform live on his last tour here in 2013, and although many friends were also there, I sat alone. I had splashed out to get a seat as close to the front as was possible, so found myself just to the left of the stage and around three rows from the front. Being an early thirty-something, I was almost certainly the youngest person in that section of the audience. Many couples sitting around me were holding each others’ hands so tightly in a way that, to me, read like, “As soon as we hear our song, we can die”. Their mortality was so easy to spot. His wasn’t. He seemed like he could outlive us all.
Unsurprisingly, Leonard Cohen is quite well respected in our collections. For those wishing to browse the Arts Reading Room, there’s a couple of biographies to tearily leaf through, plus his second last album, Popular problems, pre-loaded on to Listening Post 6. For further browsable reflection, the Redmond Barry Reading Room contains a couple of volumes of his poetry, with several more volumes of his words in our stacks that are available on request. A further two biographies can also be requested from storage, and two more are accessible electronically to anyone registered with us who is listed as a Victorian resident. A live DVD, a collection of cover versions, a greatest hits compilation, and a collection of some of his finest albums can also be requested for use here in our A/V centre. And for those who would like to try their hand at one or two of his songs, you could start with this compilation of popular songs arranged for ukulele, in which Suzanne and Hallelujah both get represented. Oh, and let’s not forget his first album, which we also have a volume of sheet music for.
Now that you’ve got plenty to help you through your sadness, let’s all listen to Famous Blue Raincoat once more.