Curling Just Like Smoke

Today is Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday. The Telegraph has run a piece about him:

When I ask if the sense of time running out also plays a part in the quickening, he nods. “Well put. I mean, you are on the other side of the hill and it’s no time to tarry.” Cohen turns 80 on Sunday, for which he has jokingly suggested that he might take up smoking again.

Was he really joking when he said he’d do that? I covered that story last year, and I didn’t think it was something he had suggested jokingly. Back then it was reported (again in the Telegraph):

“I’m really looking forward to this moment,” the man in the black suit and rakish fedora says, slowly and conspiratorially, the same way that he sings. “A young nurse in a white uniform, white lisle stockings, carrying a pack of cigarettes on a silver tray, will walk across the stage … and the pack will be opened. It will be gleaming, like those pillars of the Parthenon”; of course it will. And the man will pull out a cigarette and tap it on his wrist, like he they did in the movies he saw as a kid, in Montreal. “And she’ll light me up. Yeah,” he says, taking a long, deep inhale. A pause. A slow smile crosses his face. “It’s going to be so good.”

Who else could this be but Leonard Cohen, at a recent concert in Kentucky, confiding with a large audience his plan to resume smoking on his 80th birthday.

That’s not just starting smoking again. That’s very publicly starting smoking again – on stage.

However, according to his official website, it seems he’s not on tour right now. So he won’t be on stage, and so there won’t be any young nurse with a silver tray to walk across it. So I guess it won’t happen – yet.

And anyway, in the Telegraph today, the report continues:

“I really liked smoking. And I think about it a lot. I’m thinking about it right now.” It will probably be a quiet occasion. “One of the charitable realities of my family life is that we hardly celebrate holidays or birthdays or anniversaries, so everybody’s kind of let off the hook. I think it will just go by like any other day.” But then he adds, after a beat: “I may have a smoke.”

So the author of the piece in last year’s article, his biographer Sylvie Simmons, seemed to think it was ‘a plan’. But the author of today’s article,  Neil McCormick, thinks it was just something he’d once ‘jokingly suggested’. They can’t both be right.

I get the feeling that McCormick is something of an antismoker who simply can’t seriously imagine anyone knowingly and voluntarily taking up smoking again. So he thinks it must be a joke.

But actually, it’s about time that someone went on stage and very publicly started smoking again (and maybe invited the whole audience to do the same), purely as an act of rebellion against our present beastly and stifling conformity.

And maybe tonight, even though there’s no show scheduled, Leonard Cohen will show up at some little club or bar, and sing a few songs with just his own guitar as accompaniment, and then a young nurse, in a white uniform and white lisle stockings, carrying a pack of cigarettes on a silver tray, can walk across the stage, and re-introduce him to the ancient custom.

About Frank Davis

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30 Responses to Curling Just Like Smoke

  1. Some other Tom says:

    I hope he does too! Actually, it is quite lovely and refreshing to see someone wax so eloquently and romantically about the pleasant ritual of smoking a cigarette. That is the one thing that people who don’t smoke don’t get, and the thing that anti-smokers loathe, perhaps; it is a beautiful and peaceful ritual…

  2. chris says:

    “Democracy is coming……to the USA!” We can only hope.

  3. margo says:

    I’d like to know why someone who so clearly liked smoking gave it up.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Threatened with losing livelihood Id bet. Could be he Never did quit only in public though.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I read something about that somewhere. I think that, despite liking smoking, the antismoking meme got to him a bit, and he started to ‘feel bad’ about smoking. It wasn’t that long ago that he gave up smoking.

      He’s an artist and a poet. They’re sensitive people. Things get to them, perhaps more than they get to most people. What’s interesting to me is not why he gave up smoking – lots of people do that – but why he’s been so loudly talking about starting again.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    But actually, it’s about time that someone went on stage and very publicly started smoking again (and maybe invited the whole audience to do the same), purely as an act of rebellion against our present beastly and stifling conformity.

    Miley Cyrus Smokes On Stage at MTV EMAs…/2013/11/miley-cyrus-smokes-on-stage-at-mtv-emas

    Nov 11, 2013 · … may have been a cigarette and started smoking. … Miley Cyrus Smokes On Stage at … and white Chanel purse. Miley Cyrus …

    Comedian Ron White Faces Charges After Violating Smoking … › National

    Ron White isn’t Ron White without a drink and a cigar. … Comedian Ron White Faces Charges After Violating Smoking Ban On Stage In North Dakota;

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    The Nazis seem very quick to go and say somebody quit smoking especially when its a star. Then they have their own paparazzi to go around and sneal smoking pics of anyone who is anyone and then try and publicly humiliate them over it,yet a few movie stars I remember recently were going to sue of it for defamation of character.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    ISIS reverts smoking ban in Kirkuk ‘to gain popularity’


    Residents of Iraq’s Kirkuk said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has backed down from its decision to ban smoking and has thus allowed …

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Residents of Iraq’s Kirkuk said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has backed down from its decision to ban smoking and has thus allowed selling cigarettes in areas it controls south and west of the province, Almada Press reported Saturday.

    Abdulrahman al-Gabouri, a resident of Hawija, 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, told Almada Press that ISIS has now allowed shops to sell cigarettes in the province and its towns.

    The decision came as an attempt to gain popularity after the group’s extremist actions began to appall residents particularly after security forces, aided by international support, began to attack ISIS, the report added.

    Gabouri added that ISIS forces, which have rapidly advanced over the past few months seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria, used to confiscate and destroy cigarettes by crushing them under the Hummer vehicles they seized from Iraqi security forces.

    Suleiman Mokhlef Abd al-Gumayli, another Hawija resident, told Almada Press that ISIS fighters confiscated huge amounts of cigarettes weeks ago and informed shop owners they were not allowed to sell cigarettes as per a fatwa (religious edict) issued by the organization’s court and which stipulated banning cigarettes and lashing anyone who violated this rule.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      If the terrorists are giving up on anti-smoking whats that say for the rest of the Nazis…………..

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Bloomberg buys jihad on muslim smokers.

        Muhammadiyah issued the fatwa on Tuesday, comparing smoking to suicide, which is prohibited in Islam. The next day, the organization and antitobacco campaigners jointly targeted cigarette advertising as one of the main culprits behind a spike in underage smokers.

        Over the weekend, however, Muhammadiyah found itself on the defensive, denying that the fatwa was related to a grant it received from a US-based antitobacco organization. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, funded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, lists a November 2009 grant to Muhammadiyah worth $393,234 on its Web site.

        Among the grant’s stated purposes is “the issuance and dissemination of religious advice on the dangers of tobacco use.”.

        That combination drove down smoking rates in New York when Frieden was the city’s health commissioner, more than halving the number of kids who smoke. Kentucky lags on all three fronts.

        Nigeria: Islamic jihadists “execute” two people for smoking cigarettes

        Yet Another Muslim Cigarette Smuggling Ring in America ……smuggling-ring…hamas-hezbos-qaedas-in-nyc

        Ciggie Smuggling Finances HAMAS, … truck covered in graffiti from New York to meet the brothers in … will control the American tobacco black market.

  8. carol2000 says:

    That means ISIS is more reasonable than our own rulers. Too bad there isn’t someone here with bombs and artillery to knock some sense into their heads.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    It looks like Leonard Cohen wasn’t joking:

    (NEWSER) – Leonard Cohen turns 80 today, and he’s marking his eighth decade by returning to a vice he gave up in his fifth: The “Hallelujah” scribe unabashedly says he’s going to start smoking again, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

    “Quite seriously, does anyone know where you can buy a Turkish or Greek cigarette?” he asked earlier this week. “I’m looking forward to that first smoke. I’ve been thinking about that for 30 years. It’s one of the few consistent strings of thoughts I’ve been able to locate.” […]

    […] In a New York Times piece headlined, “Too Young to Die, Too Old to Worry,” Jason Karlawish notes Cohen’s return to cigarettes, and asks, “When should we set aside a life lived for the future and, instead, embrace the pleasures of the present?”

    (PS: Translation of Prof. Grieshaber’s blog, albeit very slowly, is in process. Squeezing in 30 min here and there when I can; very busy in work and workmen supervision – renovating my house …. Apologies for the delay!)

  10. carol2000 says:

    I just had a paranoid thought that I believe is worthy of sharing. What if the anti-smokers are trying to make smokers suffer from “surfer’s ear” from being forced outside in the cold wind?
    Then they’ll do one of their stupid trashy studies based on lifestyle questionnaires, and pretend that smoking causes it, of course! Then they’ll blow off any attempt at a lawsuit for damages by claiming that smokers didn’t wear their hats or something.

    • Some French bloke says:

      Paranoid thought? Maybe in the sense that “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.” (William S. Burroughs).

      Other selected quotes by the same author:
      “Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.”

      “How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity.”

      Finally, “A functioning police state needs no police”, which nicely echoes jaxthefirst’s recent remark: “in the case of private hosts/hostesses they don’t even have the excuse of being forced by law.”

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Well yesterday at our Smoking Bingo,yes they do exist I finally hit a big one 1300 cash. Dumped just about all of it today to get our front deck and roof finished……………Now my firewood has a dry home for the winter and I only have to go a few feet thru 1 door to get my wood!

        I can get 5 ricks of split oak delivered and stacked for 120 bucks………………

        That will last me about 6-7 weeks……………..depending!

  11. roobeedoo2 says:

    Hello, Mili-Bandwagon could be going all in on a sin tax tomorrow at the Labour conference:

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Ed’s really working hard to destroy himself and his communist party…………..At least whats left of it.

      • roobeedoo2 says:

        I know, so desperate to get off the subject off the Scottish Referendum and the ramifications of panicky promises made. Plus I also read recently that he was pissed off with Andy Burnham’s manoeuvrings during the referendum.

        Beat up an easy target and kill two birds with one stone.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          His Nannystate push is his worse political enemy,yet he uses it as his main and almost only issue to screw everybody. It just makes no sense and especially after UKIP wiped every bodys political clocks clean youd think the Idiot would learn and shut duh fuk up!

        • roobeedoo2 says:

          He’s certainly giving UKIP plenty of ammo for the General Election next year. None of the other parties will use it against him or Labour as what he’s saying is the logical extension of their own policies.

          I think Nietzsche was right with, ‘Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.’ And possibly Mili-Willi is quite possibly the exception to the rule.

        • roobeedoo2 says:

          He’s cuckoo but he’s got Balls ;)

  12. Pingback: Start Smoking Again | Frank Davis

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