Happy birthday Leonard Cohen: 78 years old today. Judging by his tour schedule, he’s celebrating it on a bus, with his band, going from Turkey to Romania  – which he’ll follow with eight concerts in five different countries before heading back to the States, where he’ll be touring until the end of the year. Or, as he told me, until he’s in his eighties. What kept him going, he said, was the promise that he’d made himself to take up smoking again on his eightieth birthday. He liked the idea of sneaking behind the tour bus for a quiet smoke.

So I just went out and bought him a 78th birthday present. A pack of cigarettes. You never know, they night be entirely illegal in California by 2014.  I’ve hidden them away for safekeeping and I’ll hand them over when he comes of age.

I also bought a cupcake and a candle which I’ll take with me to Moe’s in Berkeley for tonight’s reading and music (Leonard Cohen never felt there was any difference between the music and the word, and neither do I). Tonight on Telegraph avenue there I’ll be with my book, my uke, and tonight’s excellent accompanists who’ll do their damnedest to make me listenable – the fabulous Heidi Clare, bluegrass queen, on fiddle, Ralph Carney, jazzman and Tom Waits accompanist, on trumpet and other blowable items, no doubt, and Annie Girl of Annie Girl and the Flight on guitar and me on uke. Hope to see some of you there.

 

 

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