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Laughter, tears, sheer joy: Leonard

He’s funny, uplifting and makes me feel that life is wonderful. Yes, I’m writing about Leonard Cohen. Has any other singer/songwriter been as misunderstood as Leonard Cohen? For 40 years he has been dismissed and ridiculed by many as writing songs “to commit suicide by”. How can you be so wrong?

I’ve loved Leonard Cohen for all those 40 years. For me he’s just a hero, one of the great figures of my life. The prospect of seeing him perform at the age of 73 brought me to a state of childlike excitement. I had last seen him fifteen years ago when he had described himself as “just a kid with a crazy dream”. Now, having been defrauded of his money, here he was back on the road again, and in front of an enormous crowd at the O2 Arena.

His voice is deeper than ever, his hair is greyer underneath a trilby hat that he doffs shyly to acknowledge applause, and he cracks self-deprecating jokes born out of deep experience. But it’s the songs, the songs; the songs are as beautiful as ever. No one else writes songs with words like these. The joy is in language used playfully, imaginatively, intriguingly, musically. If you don’t ‘get’ the joy of Leonard Cohen, I’m sorry, you’re missing one of life’s greatest pleasures but I’ll never be able to explain it.

“There’s a crack in everything
It’s how the light gets in.”

Luckily for all of us, he’ll be back in Europe later in the year by popular demand. You’ll have chances to see him in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff and a few other places – but be quick, tickets are on sale already. And this might be your last chance.

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