So Long Marianne – and typewriters

by on 08/08/16 at 9:42 am

Marianne Ihlen – the Marianne to whom Leonard Cohen said ‘So Long’ to all those years ago – died on 29 July. I’ve just read today’s story in The Guardian on a final letter Cohen wrote to her, knowing she would soon be gone. It was Marianne who inspired ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’, ‘Bird on the Wire’ and, of course, ‘So Long, Marianne.’

Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room - 270

◄  Which also prompted me to find the cover to his 1969 album Songs from a Room which features her sitting in Cohen’s Spartan room on the Greek Island of Hydra with his typewriter in front of her. Which led me to the oztypewriter blogspot with a posting on Marianne and that notable typewriter. And to a Shane Maloney piece in The Monthly on Leonard Cohen on Hydra. 

1976 - Royal typewriter, Durham St - 540▲ My own typewriter photo was taken in 1976 and features the Royal portable typewriter (Leonard Cohen’s was an Olivetti Lettera 22) on which I typed South-East Asia on a Shoestring and several other early Lonely Planet guides. I’m sitting in the bedroom which became Lonely Planet’s first real office at 22 Durham St in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. To my left there’s a rotary dial telephone sitting on top of a primitive little lightbox for checking colour transparencies. To my right two copies of Bill Dalton’s Moon Publications Indonesia guidebook sit on the window sill, Lonely Planet briefly distributed Bill’s guides in Australia.

2009 01 24 - Leonard Cohen 540▲ I saw Leonard Cohen perform in Australia in 2009. We all sang along to ‘So Long Marianne.’