There’s one magnificent of course without whom no Montreal mention would be complete – Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016. This was one absolutely extraordinary human being, singer, songwriter, poet, fascinated by everything in life.
Take religion. The New York Times said:”Mr. Cohen keeps the Sabbath even while on tour and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war”. He thought Jesus Christ might be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth (‘any guy who says ‘Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek’ has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness … A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing would weather that compassion. I’m not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me’).
He was an ordained Rinzai Buddhist monk and studied Kyozan Joshu Sasaki. He was interested in views “from the Communist party to the Republican Party” and “from Scientology the High Priest rebuilding the Temple”. He entertained. He had to, right into his 80s. His longtime business manager Kelley Lynch diverted money from his retirement accounts and charitable trust funds. She sold his music publishing rights (she was jailed for 18 months and five years’ probation).
Today, Kevin Ledo’s massive 1,000sq m Crescent Street art, above, can be seen far and wide. It’s under ten minutes’ walk from there to Peel Street, a promenade of side-by-side super caffs, which all migrate, summer-long, to tents on the tarmac – hurry, these lovely eating places retreat inside in September, ready for Montreal’s momentously serious winters. Girlahead loved the grilled sardines at a Portuguese place there, Ferreira, at 1446 Peel. Montreal has so many marvels. The city’s currently under-rated.