Sunday, March 6, 2011

Patti Smith on New York Public Radio station

So many of my friends have raved about Patti Smith's book "Just Kids" - about her early life in New Jersey and her move to New York City and life with her "boyfriend" Robert Mapplethorpe -- the book got a National Book Prize, for heaven's sake.

But it seems to me that most of the people that liked the book seem to be triggered by nostalgia for the times when downtown was downtown; you could get a cheap apartment; a job in a cool bookshop; hang out at Washington Sq Park; eat in one of a thousand diners for $1:50 all-you-can-eat-breakfasts with gum chewing waitresses and smoke in bars (don't get me started!) and of course, meet fabulous people - especially if you lived at the Chelsea Hotel.

I finished the book and felt like I'd been cheated. It seems to me that Smith has taken credit for some of the ideas that Mapplethorp had. Like, the idea to take photographs. Am I mean when I say, "really???" He's not around for her to say, "I thought of that myself, Patti." We can't turn to Mapplethorpe and say, "is that true?"

Patti Smith doesn't mention that they got married so his family would stop questioning his sexuality. I believe they didn't get a divorce and I believe that Patti Smith actually gets quite an income from the Mapplethorp will. Patti Smith seems to want me to think that Mapplethorp went gay AFTER he couldn't have a life with her through HER choice. And yet, the whole time she is "going out" with him, she is trying to look like an emaciated boy. Or, by her own admission, Keith Richards.

Which brings me to sex: How come Patti Smith can't write about their sexual relationship? After all - Mapplethorp didn't seem shy about sex where HIS work is anything to go by.

How come she didn't address why she chose a MAN'S influence to talk about coming out of her Art Egg?

I think I know what you are going to say - but it's EASY to say that "there werent that many female artists to look up too" - but in Patti Smith's case - I don't think that's entirely true.

Isn't sitting in the SAME HOTEL CHELSEA ROOM with Janis Joplin enough of a female freeking icon?

I got the sense that Patti Smith would have slept with Janis' boyfriend for validation. If Janis Joplin liked boys, which I'm not sure she totally did.

And another thing, Smith hung out with a lot of poets at the Chelsea Hotel who hung out at the POETRY PROJECT -- and I know for a FACT that when Patti Smith hung out at the Poetry Project there were MANY wild and crazy live wire female poets there. I witnessed two of her contemporaries myself only three months ago at the Annual New Years Day Poetry Project Marathon.

So ...

I was interested to hear Patti Smith opening up further about their relationship in this interview on New York NPR.

The interviewer gently coaxes Patti Smith to reveal and discuss more regarding the book as well as her artistic development at that time.

it's an interesting conversation.

Smith's whole story has yet to be told. Victor Bokris did a good unauthorised version and spilt the beans about the affair with that guy Alan Lanier from that band with long hair at the same time that she was seeing Tom Verlaine... and there is, of course, a complicated woman behind the long hair that is upon the head of my guru Patti Smith -- I'm a fan -

If you haven't heard RADIO ETHIOPIA or HORSES, you should.
What the fuck she's talking and singing about, I have no idea to this day, but if you can get to stand in a room with the Patti Smith band playing live, flipping your mindcells with a voice that becomes a remote control on your very heart and blood bits - yes, Patti's life force has urgency and power and rawness and spit and transcendance and magic that still causes friction for anyone's creativity to rub and spark against .. er, where was I? Oh yes.

I heard this radio show.

And I thought there's some interesting bits here.

Here's the book for $7 online,or.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=3090994088412109167&sa=X&ei=Ghl0TcfSI4yugQe_j9U4&sqi=2&ved=0CDwQ8wIwAg#ps-sellers"