by Sarah Elton, Special to The Star

The Toronto Star, October 15, 2000

THERE ain't no cure for loving Leonard Cohen - and his thousands of die-hard fans around the world know it all too well.

It has been a long, dry spell since the Montreal-born poet-musician released an album.

Since the launch of The Future in 1992, and a 1994 compilation titled Cohen Live, fans have had to satisfy themselves with dusting off their old tapes and discs.

But they've also been able to get a hardcore fix online at the Leonard Cohen Files (

While the maestro was up on California's Mount Baldy becoming a Buddhist monk (he was ordained with the dharma name of Jikan, for Silent One), two Finnish devotees, Jarkko Arjatsalo and Rauli Arjatsalo, were furiously cataloguing, documenting and recording all things Cohen.

And now, as the much-anticipated Nov. 21 release of a new album approaches (there is a countdown at the site), Leonard-lovers can gear up for the big event by immersing themselves in this behemoth of an archive.

The ``files'' consist of more than 600 pages, covering every imaginable aspect of Cohen's music and writing.

You can search the site by keyword for a book or song, peruse the innumerable articles written about Cohen or browse the data base of the cover versions other artists have made of his songs.

There are photographs, an album index, lyrics, Web links and even a page on Cohen in Finland.

And no fan site would be complete without a newsgroup and chat room (which opens Sunday afternoons at noon).

But is more than a fan site with sycophantic groupies. It's more like an ongoing research project, actually, offering academic articles that range from an analysis of ``Jazz Police'' from the I'm Your Man album to a treatise titled ``Pagan Imagery In The Work Of A Modern Troubadour.''

Here, you'll not only see just how crazy people are for Cohen the musical celebrity, you'll also be part of the celebration of an artist and his multi-layered creations. And where else would a brand new Cohen poem be front page news?

In short, it's never ``Closing Time'' at the Leonard Cohen Files.

Copyright © 2000 The Toronto Star and Sarah Elton