“I believe if I’m not mistaken, I used to live in London…” Leonard Cohen Infuses His Personal History Into I Can’t Forget – Wembley Arena 2012

Yeah, the summer’s gone
But a lot goes on forever
And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember what


At the the end of his Sept 8, 2012 London (Wembley Arena) performance of I Can’t Forget, Leonard Cohen recounts, in mock-stumbling fashion, a recognizable account of an episode from his real life. His words, as reported by sue7 follow:

I believe if I’m not mistaken, I used to live in London. Yes, it was long before Hampstead became fashionable. I lived on a little old road with Stella Pullman called Gayton Road. I had to bring the coal up in the morning to light…was it…did this really happen? I’m not sure.


Compare this to the information Leonard provided his interviewer in The wisdom of Leonard Cohen:1

I lived at the corner of Gayton Road and Hampstead High Street in 1959. I lived with my landlady, Mrs Stella Pullman. I had a bed in the sitting room and I had some jobs to do, like bringing up the coal to start the fire every morning. She said to me, ‘What do you do in life?’ and I said ‘I’m a writer.’ She said, ‘How much do you write?’ and I said, ‘Three pages a day.’ She said, ‘I’m going to check at the end of every day. If you haven’t written your three pages and you don’t bring up the coal, you can’t stay here.’ She did that, Stella Pullman, and it was under her fierce and compassionate surveillance that I wrote my first novel, The Favourite Game.


Leonard Cohen – I Can’t Forget
Wembley Arena, London: Sept 8, 2012
Video by aka Ruth Pietroni

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 Sept 9, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

  1. The wisdom of Leonard Cohen by Kevin Perry, GQ: 19 January 2012 []

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