Photos: Leonard Cohen – “A Real Gentleman” At Ease In London Ontario 2009

These photos were taken May 23, 2009 in London, Ontario by Bill Birtch, who writes about the event:

Leonard Cohen was playing the John Labatt Centre that evening. I was on my way downtown for a coffee and passed by Scotts Corner, a small bar on the main street, and as I rolled by (I use a power wheelchair to get around) I realized that I’d just passed within a few inches of Leonard Cohen.

My first thought was of my camera which I’d neglected to grab on my way out the door. I stopped down the street a ways and called my daughter, also an avid photographer, to tell her of my find but she was unable to get away to take advantage of this opportunity. So, I continued on, had my coffee and headed home after an hour or so. Much to my surprise Mr. Cohen was still sitting on the patio of the bar.

I stopped briefly, said “Welcome to London.” He thanked me, at which point I decided to rush home, grab my camera and come back, a 20 minute round trip, in the hopes that he would still be there.

Obviously, and much to my delight, he was. I caught the eye of one of his companions, a band member I believe, and held up my camera with a questioning look on my face – my way of asking permission to take some shots. He nodded so I snapped a dozen or so shots from a distance of a three of four meters.

At one point Leonard looked at me and removed his glasses to accommodate my picture taking. When I was done I nodded, mouthed the words “Thank you” and returned home to process my images.

I should add that he was most gracious and accommodating to people who stopped to talk, a real gentleman.



Note: The photographer offered this comment on the photo of Leonard with his glasses in hand: “The lighting was less than ideal so it took some serious photoshopping to come up with this.”

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Jan 6, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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