Monday, March 13, 2017

Leonard Cohen

    My short Friendship with Leonard Cohen
This was in 1979 I had just quit the booze can biz and was transgressing into the Movie biz.
The Club 22 at the Windsor Arms was my principle milieu. I was at home there comfortable and confident.
I came in one evening and not seeing any friends I got a drink at the bar. in a glance around the room There was Leonard sitting by himself and nursing a drink at a nearby table. my milieu what the hell, I walked over "hey Leonard I'm Gary LeDrew, I am a friend of Lesley McDonnell she talks a lot about you. Leonard's eyes lit up. "The beautiful Lesley. have you seen here lately" "Not much since she married that St. Nicholas guy. "I say. I sat down and after a mutual admiration of Lesley conversation our talk drifted to other things. I was born in Montreal and gave my brief history there. He told me he was in town for an opening at an Art Gallery on Dundas St., and that the Artist had painted pictures of some of his released songs and he had to go. We drank pretty much till closing time covering a lot of subjects from gossip to philosophy. he said he had some meetings the next day but we would meet later. 
The next day I got a surprise phone call from my ex-wife. She had not let me see my daughter in 5 years and I had lost contact completely. She had broken up with guy she said was responsible for the ban and if I wanted I could pick her up the next evening if I took her sister as well. Sarah was now seven and Shaleen was four. I was ecstatic.
Leonard was emerging as a star about this time with  3 records and a tour. He still seemed a bit shy, he wasn't that comfortable in Toronto and had no friends around at that time. We had a very comfortable few hours of drinking and talking and he invited me to the opening the next night. I explained I couldn't go and why. Leonard was insistent "look man I really need you to go. I really don’t know anybody there and frankly the whole thing is a bit embarrassing. I need the support and you at least know the art scene. I protested that I hadn't seen my daughter in 5 years. So bring them I’ll take care of it.
So i showed up the next night with Sarah and Shalleen. We drank a lot of wine the kids tore around the Gallery with Leonard’s blessing. i dont remember the art I don’t think I was not too impressed and Leonard was polite  in a couple of interviews but soon drank more wine and was terrific with the kids. Somewhere there is videotape of Leonard with Sarah in one arm and Shaleen in the other one with a glass of wine too.
I got the kids home happy and made arrangement to take them out on Sunday.
I got to see Leonard for a bit the next day and a few drinks before he caught the train to Montreal. As was usual for me then I never thought to get phone numbers etc. (i always just expected to see people) As it happened I had to move back to Uxbridge for a bit when I got back to the 22 i was told Leonard had asked about me a few times but I never did see him again. i managed to get a message to him when he went through here on tour but he didn't reply after all it was 40 years before.

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