Sunday, 16 October 2016

Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen: Perfume Merchants

If you’ve read the news recently you know that Bob Dylan has become the new Nobel Laureate for Literature, and as such you might have read the masses of comments about his receiving the award. Amidst the comments commenting on whether he deserves it or not you've probably seen the people saying that if Bob Dylan receives it, so should Leonard Cohen. 

There are a lot of things that connect Dylan and Cohen. They are both poetic songwriters, they both wear a large folk influence on their shoulders, both have abstract singing voices for popular music, and both have always been inspiration for outsiders and vagabonds.

Leonard Cohen with Joni Mitchell

Another thing they share in common is that they both considered having a cologne line.

Cohen considered a cologne with the name "Indifference" which would have the slogan "I don't give a shit what happens." Which is so incredibly like Cohen's public image that you almost believe it isn't true. 

Dylan was offered a Cologne line with the suggested name 'Just Like A Woman' and rather than simply abiding by the company, he instead did what any person would do, he called Carrie Fisher, who, as she recounts in her book Wishful Drinking, offered up several wonderfully Dylanesque names for a perfume, such as Ambivalence, Arbitrary and Empathy. 

So there you have it, a minor connection the two titans share. Maybe we should all take a leaf from their books (Or songs) and rather than arguing over whether Dylan deserves the great Swedish award, we should instead display Cohen's indifference and Dylan's ambivalence, and rise above the noise.

A future Nobel Laureate 

This is all a small lark of a post, because I originally wrote a long winded “Why Bob Dylan deserves the prize” post, and then I read it, and I realized that I added nothing new, nothing that might not have been heard, and I didn’t want to do that. So I scrapped it, and I wrote another two articles about Dylan and Cohen, both of them were, simply put, repetitive, and everything I had to say had been said so often.

But I also didn’t want to leave Dylan’s award without comment, so I decided point out one connection between Dylan and Cohen I haven’t seen in every post about it.