Unlikely pop fan Alistair Darling mourns Leonard Cohen

Written by James Millar on 11 November 2016 in Culture

Former chancellor speaks after singer's death and says global affairs look "unremittingly gloomy"

Former chancellor Alistair Darling has spoken of his sadness at the death of Leonard Cohen.

Describing the Canadian singer-songwriter's work as "incredibly moving" he recounted his trip to see Cohen's concert in 2008 just days before the banking system collapsed.

Darling, who now sits in the House of Lords, said: "I went to be even more gloom filled but came out cheered up.

"Heaven knows at the time I need cheering up."

Darling said he attended the legendary poet's gig at the O2 in London in order to escape Number 11 for a few hours in the summer of 2008 weeks before the financial crisis hit. And speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4 he revealed that he has been listening to Cohen's latest album this week because in light of the Brexit vote and Donald Trumps US election victory "things look unremittingly gloomy."

Lord Darling, known for his dour and steadfast reign in the Treasury, has been a fan of Cohen's work since his student days. He praised the quality of Cohen's lyrics in particular. He conceded: "I'm no music writer and I'm certainly not a poet," but he added: "He was an incredibly moving writer. It's no surprise he inspired so many people."

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