Up Close with Leonard Cohen

As 2016 draws to a close, we say goodbye to yet another iconic figure in the world of popular music. Leonard Cohen joins a star-studded list of fallen legends, including Leon Russell, George Martin, Glen Frey and Prince.

Leonard Cohen was widely known to be an elusive interview candidate but there are some great conversations with him to be found online.

Here’s an interview we came across which was originally broadcast on Sounds Like Canada in February 2006. The interviewer, Shelagh Rogers, had been trying to secure a meeting with Cohen for twenty five-years and was well aware of the rare opportunity that was being afforded her:

The interview took place in cavernous Studio 42 in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, on a Saturday morning in February 2006, the day before five of Cohen’s songs were inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. There were two chairs in a corner of the studio, one for me and one for Leonard Cohen. It was stark, dark, and intimate. Leonard Cohen rarely gives interviews. I got lucky.

The piece makes for a very interesting read and it can be found in the November 2016 issue of Brick magazine.  Click the link below and enjoy!


Leonard Cohen RIP

Bowie on Blarney Street!

Music lover and library member Deb Murphy reminisces on growing up as a David Bowie fan on Blarney Street in Cork city:

Thanks to my three brothers, who were huge David Bowie fans, I can honestly say I can’t remember a day in my childhood when Bowie wasn’t being discussed or being blasted out on our old record player.  That’s the great thing about being the youngest in the family: all the cool music gets ingrained in you before you can even speak!  I remember, clear as if it were yesterday, back in the mid-70s, asking Denis why he liked Bowie so much (because it seemed every birthday/Christmas all he wanted was a Bowie album) and he replied:

‘He’s amazing Deb and you’ll get to like him too.’

I was sceptical until he said:

‘He even mentions Mickey Mouse in a song.’

‘Yeeeaaah riiiiiiiight!‘ I exclaimed.

‘Listen’, he said, and he played ‘Life on Mars’, and I was delighted to hear the line, ‘Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow.’  But it wasn’t just that.  I remember even back then thinking it was the most beautiful song imaginable.

My Mam was mortified because Bowie graffiti would be spotted around Blarney Street and Strawberry Hill occasionally, and I remember her saying, ‘Couldn’t they just like Abba like everyone else ’cause it would be much harder to narrow down who was behind Abba graffiti!’

Bowie Graffiti Blarney Street
Bowie Graffiti Blarney Street

We called our dog ‘Davy’ after him.  Davy lived from ’76 till ’89 and had the good grace to howl along to many a Bowie track, and I was lucky to see him live in concert twice — the man, not the dog!

Davy the dog!
Davy the dog!

What a legend. The world of music has changed forever.

Deb Murphy
Deb Murphy



Riding the Storm with Lemmy

As I sat in the car this morning which was rocking from side to side with the parting blows of the night’s storm, I knew this was going to be a rough ride. I was going to need help in the form of the right travelling companion and there was only one man on my mind: Lemmy Kilmister.

So, off I go, barrelling down the hill, swerving around fresh pot-holes with the bass intro to Ace of Spades thundering through the speakers. As usual, it struck me how fresh this album sounds, even after 35 years. It’s the perfect soundtrack to the almost post-apocalyptic scene that’s unfolding before me as I near the bottom of the hill.

‘Love Me Like a Reptile!’ bawls Lemmy, as I turn on to the road I lovingly refer to as ‘The Gauntlet,’ at this time of year. It’s ten kilometres from here to the main road but the route winds like a snake through an area of forestry dotted with lakes and criss-crossed with streams that would be bloated from the torrential downpours of the night before. Coupled with the debris left in the wake of the gale-force winds, this would not make for a comfortable ride.

Click to find this album in our catalogue!
Click to find this album in our catalogue!

‘Here we go Lemmy!’ I utter aloud, trying not to let my voice betray the trepidation I was feeling in my gut.

‘Live To Win!’ he shouts back at me.

With that cue, I launch our Silver Machine (well, black Honda Civic) into the fray and as I expected, it’s a hairy ride. Around every corner awaits a new surprise: a felled tree, a pile of scree, a mini lake, or worst of all; a gaping chasm masquerading as an innocent puddle! But we rolled with the punches, Lemmy and I, and ignoring the knocks and bangs and tidal waves cascading over the windscreen, we eventually had our goal in sight – a slight incline which leads to the turn off for the main road – when we’re stopped in our tracks. There’s a dip in the road and it’s completely water-logged. There’s no way around it and the sheen on the surface suggests it’s menacingly deep.

‘What do I do Lemmy?’ I ask, audibly dismayed.

‘Bite The Bullet!’ he roars in response.

‘You’re the boss!’ I say and stomp on the accelerator.

White water is foaming on both sides and up over the bonnet as I hold the wheel in a death grip, while my right foot is in danger of breaking through the floor. Lemmy doesn’t seem too bothered though, as he reminds me that ‘The Chase Is Better than the Catch.’ My initial bravado is starting to fade however, as I feel the car stutter and stall beneath me. But Just as it begins to look like it’s all over, I feel it pick up pace and suddenly we’re through!

I pull the car over and get out to give it the once over. There are a few mud-splatters and scrapes and the front right hub-cap is hanging off but no real visible damage. I jump back in, ‘We made it Lemmy!’ I exclaim, relieved.

‘Believe Me, the Hammer’s Coming Down!’ he retorts.

‘Maybe,’ I say, ‘but not today.’

‘Thanks for your help Lemmy. I couldn’t have done it without you.’


Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister

24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015




Credit: Photo of Lemmy by Jonas Rogowski, courtesy of Wikipedia