Leonard Cohen died at 82
Sadly another cultural heavyweight died this week. Looking back it had been on the cards, but you never really want to acknowledge these things at the time. I’ve been a fan since I was about 14, thanks Natural Born Killers soundtrack, but my parents didn’t really show much interest, at the time. Over the years I devoured his back catalogue, but my parents never showed much interest. In 2006 I start to work at Sony Music and a few years later when the chance to see his first live performance came up I jumped at it. That first night at the O2 was everything you’ve ever read about it. When the Live in London DVD came out I obviously got it. I don’t know why I did this but during one trip home to see my parents and friends I took the DVD with me. After a family diner I went out with my friends on a night of self-destruction at the local indie/rock club. While I was out my Mum text me saying “We get why you like Leonard Cohen now”. So the story goes, as there wasn’t much on TV they put the DVD on of the concert I had been in rapture about. And low and behold they loved it. Over next few years they poured over this back catalogue, but always went back to Live in London. In 2012, while visiting my now wife and I for the weekend in Ealing, we realised that Cohen was playing in Wembley. So as a surprise to them I tried to buy tickets for the four of us, but I could only get groups of 3 or 2’s, so we decided to just get 2 tickets and give them to my parents at a present. When they arrived, after the usual vat of tea had been brewed, and the conversations of “How was your drive?” “What have you been up to?” had passed, we presented them with the tickets. At first they didn’t know what to do, then the realisation dawned on them that they were going to see their favourite performer live. At first they wanted us to have the tickets, but we held fast and within an hour they were off to see Leonard. During the evening I wondered how it was going and if they were having fun, much like how they must think then I do to football. I had a smattering of texts “The seats are good”, “He just played this”, “It’s just like Live in London” so I knew it was going well. When they got in it was after 11 and I was pottering about online, it felt like the reverse of my childhood, me up late awaiting my parents save arrival home. As soon as they had sat down on the sofa they started gibbering and gushing like teenagers. I’d never seen them so happy, animated and emotional. It turns out my Dad had cried a bit during Bird on a Wire, I’ve never seen my Dad cry. They still talk about this gig to this day and when I told my Mum about the news of Cohen’s passing she actually thanked me again for allowing them to see him live that one time, when they had a totally personal experience in a huge un-personal venue.