Monday, 23 June 2008

The meaning of "Boogie Street"

And still they come ... every day here sees a small but constant stream of people wanting to know "What does Boogie Street mean?" As a public service I thought it might help if I quote this explanation from the Wikipedia:

Leonard Cohen has written a song called "Boogie Street", published on his album Ten New Songs (2001). In an interview with Brian D. Johnson in Maclean's Magazine on 15 October 2001, Cohen said of Boogie Street:

"… during the day Boogie Street is a scene of intense commercial activity … And at night, it was a scene of intense and alarming sexual exchange."

Later he goes on to talk of its metaphorical meaning: "Boogie Street to me was that street of work and desire, the ordinary life and also the place we live in most of the time that is relieved by the embrace of your children, or the kiss of your beloved, or the peak experience in which you yourself are dissolved, and there is no one to experience it so you feel the refreshment when you come back from those moments … So we all hope for those heavenly moments, which we get in those embraces and those sudden perceptions of beauty and sensations of pleasure, but we're immediately returned to Boogie Street."

Now your curiosity has, I hope, been satisfied, why not stay and look around? Leave a comment even?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks!

harrybell said...

Glad to be of assistance.

Ravish said...

Thanks, I couldn't have found this easily :)

What a great man he is... Leonard Cohen, I saw him live in London

harrybell said...

I'm very envious!

laosinger said...

Thank you for your wonderful explanation. However, this song was apparently one of those many collaborations between Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson. On the CD Live in London, Leonard's comment is, "Shar Robinson wrote this tune." I don't know if this means that she wrote the tune and he wrote the words, but the liner notes say Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson. I'm glad he's bringing her talent to the fore, especially because she is a co-writer on some of my favorite songs.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this information. I enjoyed your blog...let's get back to Boogie Street.
Oh, i have the DVD of the London concert and it is 2 hrs of pure and mesmerizing music.

Melissajoe of GA said...

If I'm not mistaken, Leonard and Sharon are a couple and have been now for many years. She knew him for about 15 years before this happened. Her songwriting and compositional skills are wonderful, and I have no doubt she could have either written this tune herself, or shared that with him. I was reflecting on the lyrics and was wondering if they almost referred to a Dante's Inferno type of 'levels of Hell' image, or just perhaps were more ruminating about the angle of Showbiz/ entertainment as being the pith of Boogie Street. Wonderful song, and I love them both always, Shar and Leonard. ~ thank you ~

harry bell said...

Thank you all for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This my favorite song

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late... several years after this blog, but thanks everyone for the information/interpretation about the songtext! A minute ago I was listening to "A sip of wine" - song by Philip Glass to Cohen's/Robinson's lyrics, sung by Tara Hugo (CD "Tara Hugo sings Philip Glass").
Also I'm currently reading Dante's "Divine Comedy", so thanks especially for your comment, Melissajoe of GA!
If there's anyone who is interested in discussing about this topic or similar, please contact me - I would be pleased! :-)
Gudrun
lichteck@web.de

Anonymous said...

Thanks

harry bell said...

Thanks for pointing me at the Tara Hugo CD, Gudrun. It's playing in my studio even as I type and it's a fine album. Oddly, the only track I have reservations about is "A Sip of Wine". I'm not too sure I like the treatment (I'll reserve full judgement for now) and I don't like the way Hugo pronounces "Boogie Street". She pronounces it "Buggy" (yes I know the original street is "Bugis"), whereas I, like Leonard himself, pronounce it to rhyme with "Woogie".

Rosou said...

Thank you so much for the information! Right now Leonard Cohen is one of the few things keeping me from insanity!

Babbajerry said...

The Montreal Connection - the inquiry of LC is similar to that of the movie 'Cafe de Flore', set partly in french speaking Montreal. Coincidence or Synchronicity,
go figure?

Anonymous said...

it's not bugis street then?

harry bell said...

Mine isn't.

David said...

Thanks.

Marieke Janssen said...

Boogie Street is one of my favorites.

If you enjoyed the London concert I can recommend to watch the Dublin Concert. It's the only LC concert recorded in BluRay HD with TrueDTS, if you have the means to play it, it's more than 3 hours of peace and joy.

/MJ

harry bell said...

Thanks, Marieke. It's gone on my list.

Argentine Translator said...

I have found your explanation very useful. Thank you. AT

harry bell said...

Happy to be of assistance, AT.

Anonymous said...

Boogie street (to me) is my consciousness - my energetic being. "We are so lightly here" and then when its all and done ". We leave - come back etc etc - it's all "Posted on the door". But yeah - no one knows. "What boogie street is for" There lies the question,. God I love Leonard

harry bell said...

Me too!