In 1988 Leonard Cohen spoke to John McKenna for a two part radio programme titled 'How the heart approaches what it yearns'. The programme was named after a Paul Simon song.

First broadcast on 5 September 1988 Leonard Cohen talks about his heroes and those who suffer for their art. The focus of this particular clip is Janis Joplin and the song ‘Chelsea Hotel’.

While the song is mainly about Janis Joplin, it's also about those who find fulfilment in art but not in life.

For Cohen, Janis Joplin was the classic pop star who played to thousands of adoring fans, and yet she could be seen wandering around the Chelsea Hotel in the middle of the night trying to find somebody to have a cup of coffee with her. 

As a human being, living the life on the front line of your own life, as everybody lives their life, there's no free ride.

Cohen also comments on the association between beauty and oppression

I think that there are people that make their work beautiful in a way that they can never make their lives or their bodies beautiful.

RTÉ Guide 2 September 1988, Leonard Cohen
RTÉ Guide 2 September 1988, Leonard Cohen