A father of two children. A widower at the age of 23. Thomas Cohen has emerged from the distress of the death of his wife with a totally frank solo album.
“I’m not hiding anything. There’s nothing hidden. There’s nothing more a perverted ear with a certain outlook can find out from this record. There’s nothing new to learn if you’re looking for some tragedy.”
Hiding just about anything has long since been impossible for Thomas Cohen. From the moment he married the daughter of one of rock’s most famous elder statesmen, right through to his young wife’s untimely death and even now in trying to move on from grieving her passing, Cohen’s life has been made public property by a rabid gutter press. Yet if the telephoto lenses were predictably voyeuristic when Peaches Geldof was alive, they’ve become even more intrusive since she’s been gone.
A widower by the age of 23 and with two small children to look after, one might have hoped Cohen would have been left alone to try and reassemble the shattered remains of his life. Unfortunately, we know all too well how the British tabloids work. So instead, between Geldof’s death from a heroin overdose in April 2014 and today, the now-25 year-old has had to deal with a forensic examination of the relationship he shared with his late wife under the harsh glare of the public spotlight, the minutiae of a cruelly curtailed marriage and existence raked over by millions.
It’s not as though Cohen’s background especially prepared him for the experience either. Rather than being a member of the rock aristocracy, his dad is a social worker for Lewisham council, while his mother is an artist. Growing up in south London within a loving Jewish home, Cohen’s first experience of the music scene was as a teenager, having formed post-punk band S.C.U.M. in 2008 with some school friends. The group released an album and a few singles, becoming associated with the likes of TOY and The Horrors in the process (not least because former S.C.U.M. member Huw Webb is the brother of Rhys Webb) before folding in 2013, by which point Cohen had married Geldof.