27th of July 2013 in the Stadthalle Wien, I stayed overnight at some friends house in Vienna/ Austria . We visited the concert together on different seats. I spent a little fortune on the ticket and the trip with my Citroen cabriolet. At the time I was unemployed and could actually not afford the expenses. But I had to go. I used my credit card for the expenses. Already earlier in Verona in 2012 and in Rome I took a copy of book of longing in my handbag in case I would rund into Leonard. I was finding out by googling „where is Leonard Cohen staying in Vienna. Google said in the Bristol Hotel. That’s exactly what happened . In the concerthall it was hot, at least 40 degrees that day. I remember trying to get a better seat but without success. It was an emotional concert and Leonard was full of energy. In the end many fans came up close to the stage even though the guards were chasing us back a few times. Then it happened that for seconds he caught my eyes looked straight down at me and kept playing guitar. I was struck by the energy of the man. After the concert i indented to visit the hotel bar at Bristol but my friends didn’t want to join me and I felt not selfconfident enough to go on my own. The next day at 10 o clock I drove into town, parked my car around the corner of the Hotel Bristol and waited at a Straßenbahn Stop across the road for a fedora with the man. First I spotted Raphael Gayol getting some icecream down the road. I went up to him and introduced myself and thanked him for having caught the drumming stick the night before. He was kind and sweet. Then one by one the band members came out of the hotel to get on the bus to the airport which was already waiting. Leonard Cohen was coming directly towards me and I asked him for an autograph in my book of longing. I also caught a setlist the night of the concert and managed to get all signatures of the band and Leonard’s on it. I had a short chat with him…I said something like : „ well I searched for you 1985 in Montreal but couldn’t find you there. He said :oh did you? I said: perhaps it was better that way (I admit I m still not knowing why I was saying that…I could have said or asked so many other things). After that I asked Joey Carenza, his tour manager to take a photo with my I phone of me and Leonard. As I was always wondering how Leonard would smell, if he used parfume, I tried to get as close as possible to him. But he carried his guitar and it was not easy. Joey took two Fotos and I felt so exited to be so close to him that he put his hand on my shoulder to feel him on my skin. Then he mounted the bus and a bunch of gipsy kids where streaming in front of the hotel to asks for money. As i already gave them some money before while I was waiting, I said they would not get anymore from me. Joey Carenza then evicted them in threatening them verbally. I wonder what Leonard was thinking about this incident. After that I returned to the open bus door and Leonard looked at me and nodded his head towards me as inviting me to enter the bus, I turned around whether he was adressing someone behind me..but there was only me. In that Moment i thought about my car around the corner, about how my husband would want me to react right now…and about the story’s of fans being pulled out of the bus. I could see Joey discussing with Leonard but I was so star struck I couldn’t move. Then the busdriver approached me and asked if I want to come with them. I asked him where they are heading to. He said to the airport to go to Pula. I said that I will also go to pula and that I have to go back home. Inside the bus Leonard cracked up laughing heavily, I ve never seen him laugh like this. I took my last Foto of him. Then the bus left and I was full of adrenaline to the rim. On my way back home to Bavaria I ruined my rooftop of my car as I speeded in this adrenaline too fast. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself why I couldn’t go on the bus that day.
Thanks Claudia Rucker for this Short Story on Leonard Cohen. #Claudia_Rucker is Singer/ Songwriter of the band #FOLKS_PLAY_COHEN. Please visit her website: