October 18, 2003

Report by Linda Morris

Photos by Hazel Morris and John and Margaret Humphries

Clockwise from the left: Rachel, Andrew, Pete, Lizzie, Peter, Linda, Margaret & John

How it all Started

The evening in Gloucester is really chapter two of the story. It all started in Port Talbot, Wales, earlier this Summer. When Wendy discovered that she and John the Shorts both lived in Port Talbot, she decided to organise a meeting for the two of them and anyone else who liked Leonard Cohen. Those of us who attended from the Leonard Cohen Forum decided that it was so good to finally meet each other face to face that we wanted to do it again.

Finding a Venue

As I drove home, I kept trying to think of a place where I could organise a meeting. The local Community Centre and Working Men’s Club would only hire rooms out to members, and I was not a member and could not afford to join. The Sports and Social Club where my husband works was too big for our small group, though the p.a. system and stage would have been nice, and the Girl Guides’ hut was too basic. I puzzled over this all Summer, until I finally remembered seeing a notice somewhere that the local Reading Room was for hire. It took me a while to find out who to contact about hiring it, but when I finally went to have a look it seemed ideal, so I decided to take the plunge.

Who Was There

Some people had already said that they might be able to make it to Gloucester, and once a date was fixed I had several more enquiries (mostly along the lines of “where the h… is Gloucester?”).

Andrew and Margaret

Special mention must go to Andrew McGeever, who came by train all the way from Scotland. John and Margaret Humphries came down from Chester, Pete Needham from Matlock, Rachel Ramsay from somewhere south of Bristol and Lizzie Madder and Peter Dawson from Cambridgeshire. There was also myself (Linda Morris) and my husband John and daughter Hazel.

What Happened

A very early improvement to the arrangements for the evening was the decision to meet in the pub for a meal first. Once people were commited to coming, they were incredibly generous about offering to contribute to the evening’s entertainment.

John and Pete

Pete and John Humphries brought their guitars, and Pete gave us some beautiful versions of early Cohen songs, ably assisted by John on guitar before the rest of us all joined in and it became a community sing-along.
Lizzie brought her amazing collection of Cohen items to display, and Andrew, Lizzie and Peter read their own and Leonard’s poems.

Peter and Lizzie

Pete and I each contributed a Cohen quiz we had compiled. The evening passed all too quickly, and it was with much regret that we parted at midnight when we had to vacate the hall.

Here’s to the Next One

Everyone was so warm and friendly, and it was so good to meet people face to face. Once the venue was found, the event more or less organised itself, and we are all looking forward to the next one. Now that I have met a few Cohen people, I would really like to get to New York to meet a lot more. The big international get-togethers can do so much more than a small event like ours, but wherever Cohen-people get together they can have so much fun. Why not try it yourselves in your own local area?

Linda (aka Linmag), Pete, Peter, Lizzie, Andrew, Margaret, John (aka Byron)