CLOTHES CLOTHES CLOTHES MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC BOYS BOYS BOYS
By Viv Albertine, 421 pages. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press
Viviane Katrina Louise “Viv” Albertine is a British singer and songwriter, best known as the guitarist for the all-female English punk group, The Slits. She dated Mick Jones while he was putting together his new band, The Clash. He later wrote “Train in Vain,” considered to be the band’s biggest hit, about her. Its refrain was a poison dart: “Did you stand by me? No not at all.”
After laying eyes on the cover photo of Patti Smith’s 1975 album “Horses,” taken by Robert Mapplethorpe, Viv writes: “I have never seen a girl who looks like this. She is my soul made visible, all the things I hide deep inside myself that can’t come out.” (Courtesy of the NY Times Book Review section, see related article below).
Patti Smith has become my favorite artist on multiple levels these past few years. I love her immediacy as a person as well as her bohemian artist lifestyle.
Living near New York City as we do has afforded my wife and the opportunity to see Patti Smith perform live several times now. We have also had the fortunate experience to meet Patti Smith at various book signings. She is always gracious to us. I dare to say we feel a kinship with her as fellow children of the sixties.
Her new recording, Banga is intriguing me endlessly. Its only a couple of more days until I can hear all the tracks in flow.I tell myself with baited breath. There are a bakers dozen of new songs with “Just Kids” as the bonus track on the Banga special edition CD.
There is even a unique offer on Patti Smith’s Web site that bundles a lithograph of Patti Smith and the Banga CD. (See image above)
(Thought this was published through my iPhone App yesterday….sigh)
It was our second visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum in three days. We were first there on Friday October 21, 2011 for the opening of the exhibition. We attended a signing by Patti Smith in the Avery Court at 11:00 a.m.
We brought a copy of the exhibition catalog and Patti Smith’s latest CD, Outside Society for Patti to sign. It’s always a friendly interchange with Patti Smith. She signed both the cover and the liner notes for Outside Society as well as the inner pages of the catalog.
Patti Smith was gracious to allow me a photograph of her after she signed.
We couldn’t stay to pursue the exhibition on Friday as we wanted to get to Mohegan Sun to get online to see Stephen Stills at the Wolf Den. (see yesterday’s blog post for that event). We made a pact that we would return to the Wadsworth Atheneum on Sunday.
We love what we learn each time we have a touch point with Patti Smith. Our art tastes have been extended to a whole new plane of thought. Patti Smith is a prism into many forms of art, visual, audio, literature, poetry and now photographic experiences.
The Patti Smith: Camera Solo exhibition was exquisitely curated. There were more than 70 photographs by Patti Smith, displayed along the walls.
There was also interesting physical mementos such as Robert Mapplethorpe‘s slippers and Patti Smith’s father’s Charles Dickens cup she had gotten him in London. You could just see her father savoring his coffee in it 🙂
We especially liked the 7+ minute 16 mm black and white film about Rene Daumal that Patti Smith directed and narrated with her articulate voice adding poetic emotion. This was the first time we had seen the film. It was a visual excursion in Paris that taught us more about the life of a great poet. Jem Cohen did the camera work which was a visual surreal immersion.
My favorite Patti Smith Polaroid photograph was the bed of Virginia Wolf where the sheet forms a raised cross. I found this photograph the most peaceful as it represents the rising of one’s spirit. It fortified today’s homily at mass about how we move to the afterlife at the moment of death.
Book Signing/Reading – October 21, 2011, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
On the opening day of Patti Smith: Camera Solo, the artist will be present for a book signing in Avery Court. Patti Smith will sign one item per person. Per her request, please do not bring a guitar to be signed. You may bring one item to be signed, or purchase the exhibition catalogue from our shop. If you have questions please contact us at (860) 278-2670. Access to Avery Court for the book signing is free with museum admission.
Patti Smith OUTSIDE SOCIETY was released today, August 23, 2011 on Audio CD, Vinyl (2 LPs) and digital bits (Amazon MP3, iTunes AAC, Spotify) . I am savoring with relish Patti Smith‘s landmark collection of 18 personally supervised songs. This stellar chronological collection represents Patti Smith’s entire body of recorded work (released to date) on the Arista and Columbia labels. Each song has been remastered by the team of award-winning engineer Greg Calbi and Patti Smith band member Tony Shanahan.
The collection begins with Track 1, the definitive, energy building, “Gloria” from Horses recorded in 1975.
Patti Smith speaks the opening line over the lilting stride of Richard Sohl‘s piano chord progression.
Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.
That ode has cycled in my head and soul for 36 years. I have gone back and forth in my consciousness trying to interpret what Patti Smith meant by her use of those specific words. Was she saying that since she was born in 1946 A.D. her sins are not accountable due to Jesus’s earlier passing? Or did she mean that Jesus perished for the world’s sins at that time in history?
Just lately I learned more specifically what Patti Smith meant when she recorded the opening line to “Gloria”. I heard her speak from page 247 of her audio book, Just Kids…
Lenny showed me how to play an E and as I struck the note, I spoke the line: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” I had written the line some years before as a declaration of existence, as a vow to take responsibility for my own actions. Christ was a man worthy to rebel against, for He was rebellion itself.*
In the CD liner notes to OUTSIDE SOCIETY Patti reflects…
With respect for Jesus Christ as a great teacher and revolutionary, the opening of “Gloria” was meant to serve as a declaration of existence.
Finally I had the answer from the poetess herself and my heart was put at ease.
I played Horses often on my Sunday radio show on WVOF-FM 88.5. I was given the station copy of Horses by the program director as a holiday present 🙂
I recall vividly the Patti Smith Group appearance on Saturday Night Live, April 17, 1976 where they performed “Gloria” that evening.
*Just Kids. Copyright 2010 by Patti Smith. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, N.Y.
In 2011 we face a new era of sweeping changes combatting an even deeper cynicism and intolerance. With Just Kids, her memoir of her friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti, 64, reminds us that innocence, utopian ideals, beauty and revolt are enlightenment’s guiding stars in the human journey. Her book recalls, without blinking or faltering, a collective memory — one that guides us through the present and into the future.