‘He said he had to see a throat specialist then added: “Do you want to come along?” Later, we drove to a party with me sitting on his lap in a limo’

In 1979 Leonard Cohen was in London for a few days on a European tour and I had been assigned to photograph him by the US magazine People. I arrived at the Dorchester Hotel and was shown up to his room. He announced that he had picked up some sort of larynx infection on the plane and that he might not be able to perform. He said that he had an imminent appointment with a Harley Street specialist. My heart sank and I thought: “There goes the assignment.” Then he said brightly, “Do you want to come along with me?”

We hopped in a taxi and I followed him into the surgery. The doctor examined him, sat him in a chair and gave him a nebuliser. With his dark glasses on, a scarf wrapped around his neck and a large silver-coloured mask covering his nose and mouth, he looked quite bizarre but it made an unusual photograph, not like any others I’d seen of him. Forty minutes later, much to his relief – and mine – he said he felt much better.

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