Our first Under the Influence event was a tribute to Leonard Cohen. I had no idea then that our little night would grow, gain so much support and continue for so long. The choice then was simple: if I only manage to do one night who do I most want to pay tribute to? There was never any doubt. I used to joke sometimes that if it was up to me we’d do a Leonard Cohen night every month.
He’s been my favourite song-writer for a long time. From the hours spent as a young man in my bedroom rewinding a cassette of “Famous Blue Raincoat” (still my favourite song of all time) trying to decode the mystery of the lyrics to then years later seeing him live, (when I never thought I would), watching in awe as he turned the cavernous 02, into a place of cosy intimacy, a feat I doubt any other artist could achieve. Like many I’ve dreaded and expected his death for many years, yet it was still a shock. Just knowing he was alive made the World feel like a better place and after the events of this week it’s hard not to feel that the World is a colder and crueller place without him. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve shed the odd tear as I’ve listened again to the wonderful body of work he’s left behind, including the astonishing new album “You Want It Darker”, released only three weeks ago.
The day that I heard he’d died I was teaching a music class. I took the risk of playing a group of often restless teenagers “Famous Blue Raincoat”, yet there was no talking, no eye-rolling, no laughing. . . just a quiet respectful silence as we all listened.
Under the Influence will put on an event soon to celebrate his songs and life. I have an idea already so there will be some more news on that soon. Tonight (Sun 13th Nov), my band The Reverse will be playing at the Finsbury in Manor House. We spent Saturday night rehearsing and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to change our set to incorporate a Leonard Cohen song.
His songs will of course live on as long as we all play and listen to them. Thank you Leonard Cohen. Rest in peace.
Sincerely N. Loughran.
“Now I bid you farewell, I don’t know when I’ll be back. They’re moving us tomorrow to the Tower down the track. But you’ll be hearing from me baby long after I’ve gone. I’ll be speaking to you sweetly from a window in the Tower of Song”.
– Leonard Cohen- “The Tower Of Song”