Leonard Cohen fans get the chance to buy a piece of history

Bird on a Wire: Going for a Song.

At midnight on 23rd January 2011 legendary rock and roll manager and lawyer Steven Machat will put the 294 reels of original raw footage of the epic Leonard Cohen film ‘Bird on a Wire’ up for sale to Cohen fans and investors.

Steven Machat has negotiated business deals for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, ELO, Snoop Dogg and Peter Gabriel in his stellar career but this sale represents something deeply personal.

Machat explains ‘,I am selling the Leonard Cohen Bird On A Wire movie reels, as I believe the fans should own them.

The reels were returned to me by Cohen when he and I settled our differences that existed when he and my Dad’s secretary left our offices with all the books and records concerning the Machat and Machat past involvement with Leonard Cohen.

To get the film back, I gave up substantial claims of his sale of copyrights that he did not solely own and had no right selling without contact with Machat and Machat. Upon selling the rights, he also kept all the proceeds.

I got the film back. The same reels Cohen told the world was lost when asked. And many have asked over the years. Leonard offered me this film as he knew it was mine as well as he knew he was wrong in not paying Machat and Machat for our percentage owed for the copyright sale. My specific purpose for releasing the film was to give my Dad back his legacy.

Dad was Cohen’s lawyer, manager and protector for twenty years, which ended when Dad died. Dad financed this film for he saw that Cohen was a worthy artist and he knew this film would one day be a historic record of the young Cohen.

When Cohen and I settled and he gave me back what was mine, he neglected to give me the edited version of the film my father paid for. He simply gave me the reels of raw footage.

He never thought I could redo the film. But I loved my father and would not let Cohen’s ruse stop me. I found the original Director, Tony Palmer who found the original soundtrack for Bird On A Wire in his archives. With this soundtrack and absolute perseverance, the artistic integrity of the film was put back together and commercially released. This remake cost in excess of 100,000 dollars.

I did this solely for Dad and the legacy that Cohen stole.’

The reels of film footage are in individual cans and each one has a Certificate of Authentication signed by Tony Palmer and Steven Machat. Each is different: some cans contain just audio or picture footage and some both (intended to be played together). Finally some contain trims of film.

Included amongst the footage there are home movies of Leonard Cohen and his family – including footage of the artist as a young boy, playing with his parents.

The cost of each roll containing picture footage and trim is £1000 and they will go on sale for one month through http://www.leonardcohencafe.co.uk.

Once a collector chooses to make a purchase they will be entered into a lottery draw to decide which of the cans they will be allocated. 

Some of the rolls are extremely rare and have been described as ‘a bootlegger’s dream’ as they include original sound recordings of Cohen’s concerts in Jerusalem, Stockholm, Dublin, Paris and at the Royal Albert Hall. These rolls can be purchased independently from http://www.leonardcohencafe.co.uk.


For more information, contact Firgas, Mark or Peter at Quite Great on 01233410000 or via email on publicity2@quitegreat.co.uk. Steven Machat is available for interviews and we have images of the reels.


  • Full transcript of Steven Machat’s open letter explaining his descision is available to accompany this release. Please quote Steven Machat accordingly.
  • Purchase of any of these reels does not give any rights to reproduce any of the content. The buyer only purchases ownership of the reel and he/she has the right to sell on the reel at any time he/she wishes.The cost of the reels will be £1000 each and £30 for postage/insurance. They will be sold through www.leonardcohencafe.co.uk , the biggest retailer of Leonard Cohen items on the internet. Collectors can pay the £1000 or, if they prefer, 10 months at £100 per month (plus an admin charge of £50). There is no limit to how many reels a collector can purchase. All details regarding sales logistics can be found at http://www.leonardcohencafe.co.uk.
  • To read more about Steven’s incredible life read (for example) http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/excess-all-areas-a-life-in-rocknroll-1764965.html
  • Steven is the author of ‘Gods, Gangsters and Honouravailable through Amazon and as a radio broadcast with music on itunes and Kindle.


Leonard Cohen


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