Sunday, August 2, 2015

Leonard Cohen

Well into my middle teens I was still listening to pop music, and regarded the Rolling Stones, let alone Pink Floyd or Cream, as far too heavy, revolutionary and noisy, whereas The Beatles and Herman and the Hermits suited my taste much better. My friend Richard was at the other end of the scale, and insisted on sitting me down in his room to listen, just listen, don't say anything, don't make any of your barbed ironic remarks, just listen. Bob Dylan first, then Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, until the virus bit, the contagion contaged and the infection infected.

The end nearly came with Leonard Cohen, whose "Songs of Love and Hate" Richard insisted we play in the dark, and with the curtains closed. "Avalanche" induced a bout of chronic depression within a verse, and by the time "Love Calls You By Your Name" arrived I was ready to throw myself out of the window. Yet this too bit, stung, contaged, infected, and today, four decades later, these are still the four, plus Brel, most likely to get turned to on my iPod.

The drawing was made not long afterwards, a simple act of copying really, somewhere around 1971 or 1972. It was quite small. I later scanned the original, and printed it out at twice the original size at least, so I could use black felt pen to give it greater substance. This is a scan of the improved version, and has itself been digitally retouched to substantiate the substantiation. Small canvas. The Argaman signature in Hebrew at the bottom-right comes, as with so many in this gallery, from the time when I was trying to make a collection of the works of my fictional artist Bernhard Aaronsohn, or Ari Ben Aaron as he was by the time he would have made this portrait.

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