“I see you in the subway and I see you on the bus” Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Came So Far On Busses

Bus from Lucca to Hamburg (2013) – Photo by Szilvia Szanto

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

Cars Of Leonard Cohen is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at Cars Of Leonard Cohen as they go online.

I see you in the subway and I see you on the bus

From Ain’t No Cure For Love By Leonard Cohen

As we saw in the last Cars Of Leonard Cohen post, Leonard Cohen certainly rode in and shared his limousines. But, he more often shared trips in full sized busses, airport/hotel shuttles, and similar vehicles.

In 2010, for example, he arrived at Lissadell House in a mini-bus.

Walsh described the natural grace and humility of the man who had arrived at Lissadell on the morning of the first concert, July 31st, 2010, in a 20-seater mini-bus. “No airs, no arrogance, just a desire to please his ‘friends’, that’s how he referred to his fans, as his friends.” I’d always been a fan of his music. But even so, he was a huge figure, so I had been expected him to pull up in a limousine. But no, Leonard Cohen was not like that. ‘What this?’ I wondered as a white bus arrived. ‘Where’s Leonard Cohen?’. He was in the bus. He was so thrilled to be at a place he associated with Yeats.”1

“Traveling with Leonard, there’s a quiet, monastic tone to the whole thing. You’re just respectful of his space and his sense of contemplation. He would carry his own guitar; sit in the front of the bus…” Sharon Robinson2

The Glamorous Life Of Musicians On Tour: The tour road manager, Sid McGinnis, and Leonard Cohen pictured after the tour bus broke down on the Autobahn in 1976.

You’ll find Mr Cohen playing a support role in Dino Soldo’s Travel Day for Leonard Cohen Band (10/14/2009).

 

Leonard Cohen worked on songs and poems on busses, as noted in this excerpt from Various Positions by Ira Nadel.

 

And Leonard even wrote a poem called The Bus.

The Bus
From Flowers for Hitler By Leonard Cohen

I was the last passenger of the day,
I was alone on the bus,
I was glad they were spending all that money
just getting me up Eighth Avenue.
Driver! I shouted, it’s you and me tonight,
let’s run away from this big city
to a smaller city more suitable to the heart,
let’s drive past the swimming pools of Miami Beach,
you in the driver’s seat, me several seats back,
but in the racial cities we’ll change places
so as to show how well you’ve done up North,
and let us find ourselves some tiny American fishing village
in unknown Florida
and park right at the edge of the sand,
a huge bus pointing out,
metallic, painted, solitary,
with New York plates.

 

Travel Day London to Kingston – Photo by J.S. Carenza III

 

The big finish for this post is this Tour Bus excerpt from The Song of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky, featuring not only Leonard Cohen but also Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Sharon Robinson, Jennifer Warnes, John Bilezikjian, Roscoe Beck, and Steve Meador. (Thanks to Tom Sakic, who uploaded this video to YouTube.)

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Mar 23, 2018.
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  1. Leonard Cohen’s Yeats pilgrimage: how the singer was drawn to Lissadell by Eileen Battersby. Irish Times: Nov 12, 2016. []
  2. ‘He Called Me His Dharma Sister’ by Sharon Robinson. Texture []

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