“Montreal is still small enough to have one or two centres, one or two late night centres, and into this funnel is drawn everyone who happens to be up that night or at least a representation of the various groups operating in the night, and groups operating in the night always have a special kind of interest and a special kind of ritualistic atmosphere.
“And into these places, these special places in the city, and Ben’s is one of them, is drawn this very urgent cross section of people who have somehow committed the first rebellious act that a man can perform: refusing to sleep.
“That’s the real rebellion against life and the generative process. That’s the real human idea: I refuse to sleep. I’m going to protest the idea of sleep by turning night into day.
“I’m going to revel and drink and womanize all night and this way I show time, death, the natural process of destruction, decay and regeneration — I show it all with my mind and my will that I, man, triumph. And so they come to Ben’s.”
–Leonard Cohen, quoted in Ladies & Gentlemen…Mr Leonard Cohen (NFB, 1965)
[A thousand thanks to you, Mr Leonard Cohen, for showing us how the light gets in. And for being the light.]