It was Ramadan, May 1988, and I was even more spaced out than usual, subsisting on a strange student diet of fig cakes and arroz y garbanzo. After an afternoon at the Prado, I found myself wandering one evening near the palacio de deportes and magically happened upon a Leonard Cohen en concierto esta noche sign. But what would I do? How would I ever afford a ticket?
Leonard Cohen wasn't a particularly political lyricist. He was concerned with the human condition, and he spent more than his share of time peeking into the darkest corners of the human soul. But, to paraphrase Nietzsche, if you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss also stares into you. Cohen wrestled with monsters, and he learned a thing or two about them.
As a cultural presence that combined the sacred and profane, romance and cynicism, humanity and hopelessness for over five decades of towering songs, we all have our own Leonard Cohen entry point. Like fellow Canadian Neil Young, Cohen became a patron saint of the 90s alternative nation. There was the tribute album "I'm Your Fan" and placement of "Closing Time and, especially, "The Future" in the film "Natural Born Killers."