Tag Archives: Leonard Cohen

Bookcovers: The Good…the Bad…and the Ugly

A Weekly Series of Riffs in 200 Words

I am currently fascinated by book covers.

I remember making suggestions for the cover of 8 States of Catastrophe which the publishers summarily dismissed on the grounds that they know what’s best.  Quite right too.

Browsing through one of my shelves this morning, I’ve chosen some of my favourites.

The Good:  Dorothy Hewett’s The Toucher cover is sexy and inviting.

The Obvious: Lorian Hemingway (she of the famous grandfather) has a girl walking into the river on the cover of Walking into the River but it works.

The Bad: White Mischief by James Fox has a movie still trading on stars but, with its dappled side strip, it has not dated well. 

The slightly boring: Paulo Coelho’s Like the Flowing River. Sun-dappled leaves sound okay but the colour is wishy-washy and the pink block on the back seems like an after-thought.

The Ugly: Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers because a cavernous nostril is never attractive.

The Best: at the moment (because I’m re-reading it and it mesmerises me every time I pick it up), Kate Grenville’s Dark Places which is graced by George Lambert’s oil ‘Chesham Street’.

Chosen from just one shelf so I’ll no doubt post on this subject again.

The answer to Friday’s fictionary dictionary…UHLAN is a lancer in the Polish army.

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Leonard Cohen Concert Review

Absolute front row.  Almost dead centre.  Brisbane Entertainment Centre.  

An eerie hush is broken by thunderous ear-splitting applause as he appears.  The seventy-six-year-old ‘Ladies Man’, is down on bended knee singing Dance me to the End of Love and I wonder momentarily if I have drifted into a parallel – and absolutely perfect – universe.

Age has not wearied the man with the golden voice and he still oozes sex appeal from the tips of his toes to his rakishly perched hat. The drooped corners of his wise and somewhat sad eyes evoke a sense of mystery, while his rare smiles reveal a child-like mischievousness.   

He is accompanied on stage by top-notch musicians and back-up singers, yet nothing surpasses the sound of him alone, dragging notes from the gravelly sole of his boot and broadcasting them from his lofty window in The Tower of Song.  His recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep reminded us that a poet of such magnitude needs no accoutrements.

The poignancy of Suzanne with her ‘tea and oranges’ and her ‘rags and feathers from salvation army counters’  had me watching Leonard through a gauze of tears as his poetic fingertips soothed my soul.  And when he sang I’m your Man, I sighed ‘oh yeah’, along with thousands of other concert-goers.

We Cohen fans came to Boondall with one thing on our minds – Leonard – so it was with considerable finesse that Clair Bowditch, as support act, bewitched the crowd with her sweet-and-sultry lyrics and soft bluesy voice.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple of LC forum fans and was presented with a very official-looking lanyard by Dean from Adelaide which I happily wore with pride. Dean is spending a huge chunk of time, not to mention a considerable fist-full of cash, to attend a heap of concerts.  You can follow his progress at lcdownunder2010.

Life, as they say, is full of regrets.  I thought I would forever live with the regret of missing out on the Leonard Cohen experience when I failed to get tickets in 2009.  I never dreamed I would get a second chance.  So now I have one less regret to pack into life’s suitcase and my baggage feels all the lighter for it.

Mr Cohen may have left the building but I for one will never forget him.

PostScript:  My novel, 8 States of Catastrophe, is due for release in January 2011 and will be distributed by Pan Macmillan.  Fans of Leonard Cohen may enjoy it for its references to the great man and his lyrics.  I’ll post launch details as soon as they come to hand.  If you would like to go into the draw to win a signed copy of the book, please complete the survey.

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Countdown to Cohen: No. 3

Well, the year might not have turned out quite as well as expected with the release date for 8 States of Catastrophe still not set in stone (we are talking January but the publisher can’t confirm the date). 
           But, hey, the year isn’t over yet.  As of posting time, there are just 34,143 minutes before Leonard’s Brisbane concert. 
           It keeps a smile on my dial.

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Countdown to Leonard: update

Today my car became a church, complete with the obligatory mad woman who can’t hold a tune but insists on lung-busting.
          Just a 40 minute drive with a Leonard Cohen CD as my companion and I’m singing ‘Hallelujah’ like some sort of born-again freak. 
          As of right now, I only have to wait for another 173,165 minutes to see the Brisbane concert.
          Hallelujah, indeed.

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Countdown to Cohen and My Publishing Adventures

Well, this year is turning out to be an absolute corker!
          Last year, a cloud of indigo descended upon me when I was unable to see Leonard Cohen in concert in Australia.  With a strangely defeatist attitude, I resigned myself to missing out on ever seeing him ‘in the flesh’ and, after a period of mourning, I gathered up the threads of my dignity and reminded myself that the world was full of starving and neglected children, oppressed women, and tortured men. 
          Now, I am on cloud 1,099 after scoring presale front-row platinum tickets to the Brisbane leg of Leonard’s 2010 world tour (and I bow my thank you to the almighty VISA).


So it seems I have two momentous count-downs happening simultaneously. 
          The world of book publishing being what it is, the publication date for my novel is still somewhat fluid but I live in hope that it will before the inimitable ‘poet of our age’ graces our shores again. 
          Why?  Because Mr Cohen – and particularly his song Suzanne – provides the ‘soundtrack’ to a section of my novel and it just makes perfect sense in my strange little ‘perfect bubble of a world’ that I should watch my first Cohen concert as a fully-fledged published author.
          I’d love to hear your thoughts on Leonard Cohen.  Anyone got a concert experience to whet my appetite?
          At the time of publishing this post, I am counting down the months until my novel hits the bookstores but at least I can confidently say that in 135 days Leonard Cohen will command the stage in Brisbane and I will be there inRow AA.   

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