I heard it on the radio this afternoon so it must be true. When I got home social media confirmed the news, but unprecedented election outcomes in the States stunted the outpouring of grief for this legend of modern music and poetry. Much of the world is still reeling after what is widely regarded, by liberal democrats at least, as the great downfall of our control centre and a giant leap backwards from Obama’s progressive accomplishments, including the right for LGBTQ+ couples to marry, which Trump allegedly intends to undo.
But that does not change the fact that we lost yet another outrageously talented and influential artist, hot on the heels of Prince and Bowie, Lee, Eco, and Rickman. Once again, the world found itself in mourning. We mourn because we care, because any loss of human life—family, friend, or international music icon—is a reminder of our imminent mortality, because their works touched our lives, had our backs when we were down, gave colour and meaning to our ordinary existence.
Leonard Cohen was exceptional, in his life and his craft. His music career spanned half a century; he gifted us with timeless classics like “Hallelujah” and “Suzanne”; he also wrote and published volumes of poetry.
I am not religious so it would be terribly hypocritical of me, at times like this, to conveniently say that he is in heaven now with all the best people. However, what I can say and do believe without a doubt is that he will live on in our memories, on music charts, in history’s pages, and certainly music of the present and future which he influenced, as great musicians do.