I doubt I’m the only person from my generation to first hear of Leonard Cohen from the above Nirvana lyric (from “Pennyroyal Tea” on In Utero: “give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld/ so I can sigh eternally”). I also doubt I’m the only person to still not know what the hell Kurt Cobain was talking about even after becoming familiar with Cohen’s work.
As you probably heard, L. Cohen passed away last week (I think he heard that Democracy is coming to the USA). I heard it from our pal Hal’s comment on the 007 post, where he also mentioned Robert Vaughn’s passing. It wasn’t a total surprise, of course, to hear of Leonard Cohen’s passing, but damn, like John Oliver’s season finale end piece, it was just another thing to make us say fuck you to 2016!
I can’t remember what the first Leonard Cohen work I heard was. Perhaps it was the John Cale version of “Hallelujah” on the Basquiat soundtrack (excellent song on an excellent soundtrack, btw!). Perhaps I got an album out from a library. I’m not sure. At some point I watched the documentary about him that was made when he hadn’t started singing, but was known as a poet and writer in Canada in the mid-’60s. I do know that I now own a few of his albums, including the Essential (3 disc version, highly recommended, possibly all the Cohen you need); his first album Songs of Leonard Cohen; The Future; and the 2 disc Live in London set from several years back, which I just dug out again (see more about that stuff below!). That’s a great live set where he’s comfortably intoning his stuff (although he changes the one line from “The Future” about crack and…well, crack, sort of), and after I re-listen, I’ll write about that. I’ve been intending to write about what I’ve been listening to, and I actually had listened to Songs recently. I’d also taken a listen to his latest and final album, You Want It Darker, which showed he still had it.
The recent New Yorker profile was excellent. My favorite part was where the author, David Remnick, describes being chastised by Cohen for being late to meeting up with him, which was wasting his time, and obviously he had little left. You can also read some of what NPR had to say about him, as well as hear him interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.
I’m not sure I can explain what I like about his stuff, except to say that his work was obviously grappling with larger questions than most pop music, and his voice, as has been said numerous times in the obits, has gotten deeper and more gravelly with every album, and I like that.
Another neat thing: in the bio of the man by Sylvie Simmons that I started reading (but didn’t get around to finishing), it mentioned that he read Superman comics as a kid. And if I recall correctly, there’s a story where he ordered a booklet on hypnotism from a comic and used that to get the housemaid to undress for him. So SOMEONE got that stuff to work for them!
And back when I tried getting a regular column going at the old place, I was going to call it “20 Years of Boredom”, from the opening lines of “First We Take Manhattan”: “They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom/ for trying to change the system from within”. I plan on explaining the significance of the lyric at the end of the year (ooh, the suspense!).
So yeah, 2016, fuck off, because we also lost Leonard Cohen, and he was a great writer and singer/intoner of his works. RIP.
Hey, remember how my columns are supposed to be about how I can’t get my stuff sorted and read and stuff? Yeah, that’s the premise behind this, I swear! Anyway, over the past week, I’ve been scrambling to find something important, but due to the massive amount of stuff stacked around, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the hell I had that stuff. Turned out that it was somewhere logical and non-stupid, but it took me too damn long to figure out where it was, mostly because I couldn’t easily maneuver stuff.
Oddly enough, though, I think it’s motivating me to get my ass in gear and start moving stuff around more. Some of that is from necessity, because stuff is piled in weird places again. I can’t get one bunch of stuff moved without another shifting funny.
But sometimes you just need the dam to break and open you up. Hell, this column was just random thoughts in my head, but once I started typing them, they got turned into a column rather quickly. Sometimes I just need to start and then once I do, I go like a bat outta hell!
That’s how I got through college, really. I noticed after a few semesters that once I waited until the night before a paper was due to start writing it, my grades went up. So weird!
Anyway, since next week is Thanksgiving (already? This year not only has sucked but has gone by too fast! PARADOX!), I’m hoping to get stuff gathered up that came out this year and take the time to plow through as much as possible to get a “best of” the year (as well as research for some other things we’ve got going on here).
Let’s see if that actually happens, though.
I’ve also got a backlog of other stuff that I SHOULD have written before now. Some more book reviews, some comics reviews (some trades from the library and some single issues that I should get up over the weekend) (he says, fingers crossed, both hoping he’s not lying but if he is, hey, fingers were crossed!), and like I said above, CD reviews, with me talking about Leonard Cohen’s first album as well as eventually talking about the Live in London set. That was something I came across in the great dig that I just did, so I had to get it ready for the next batch of CDs to listen to!
Did I cleverly disguise my lack of an actual column idea with this hodgepodge of stuff this week?
In another “dammit, 2016, knock it the fuck off” moment, Zacherley, one of the early and most famous “horror hosts” passed away at age 98. Lived a good long life, at least!
Go ahead and take a look around at the site at the link. It’s something I’ll talk about in the future as well, once I get caught up some on that stuff! I even plan on eventually contacting the people there for an interview, so look forward to that…someday. No promises as to when!
A few quick bits from around the comics internet:
From the Previews website last week, under “Product Changes” for an upcoming Image book:
• Beowulf HC (MR) (OCT160654, $29.99) now runs 200 pages, not 200 pages.
I had to laugh!
If you like neat British comics, you may have been getting Meanwhile… from Soaring Penguin Press. Apparently they couldn’t make money at the price they were selling at, so they’ve retooled and repriced, and holy shit, they’ve made the individual issues 25 bucks US! However, thanks to everyone’s pal Rich Johnston, I was informed that a subscription costs about half that, and if you’re interested, you can check it out. Strangehaven is being continued in that mag, so if you ever liked that book, you’ll want to seek Meanwhile… out. I’m thinking about going for this myself!
If you like spending money, and you like Kickstarter, there are a couple Kickstarters you may be interested in.
Our pal Drew Ford has one going for his It’s Alive! imprint, to reprint Sam Glanzman’s Voyage to the Deep. Plan on hearing more about this one from us in the upcoming weeks, but I wanted to mention it here, because I’m also mentioning another Kickstarter.
Some of you might know that I’m a big Cerebus fan, and I’ve been pledging for the Cerebus Archives, a portfolio of the type of stuff featured in IDW Artist Edition books, that Dave Sim has been doing in recent years. The most recent one shipped rather quickly, so they’ve got another one coming, this time the first pages from Melmoth, with normalroach and the c-word. Dave’s got an…interesting series of posts over at A Moment of Cerebus right now, but if you just like a portfolio of the original art, with Dave’s commentary, you can look at the Kickstarter link. I’ll be pledging again!
And finally, over at CBR/CSBG, Brian is running the Comic Book Runs poll. You’ve got to email him with your list (no more ACBC?!), and once I put in the link, I’ll see how much longer we’ve got…ah, until the end of the month! I know my first few choices, and damn, I can get a column out of my list! YES!
See you next week, if not over the weekend!