jazzy_dave: (bookish)
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Patti Smith "Just Kids" (Ecco Press)




This is the second book on music i have read within the last few weeks,but like Coltrane, Patti Smith is one of my favourites, and her story i guessed would be a fascinating one. I was not wrong. This autobiography is about her enduring relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and their development as artists during the 60's and 70's in New York City. It is as much about their special bond as it is about their work and how they came to be well known as well as how hard it was for them in the beginning. Often broke with insecure jobs and having to find money to pay for rent which was almost ninety per cent of their income, even in a low rent area of the city. Mapplethorpe eventually went to San Francisco but came back a changed man having had gay relationships, with his art taking a darker tone,and the relationship with Patti fracturing yet remained friends.

In a nutshell it is about how they found each other haphazardly. They shared apartments, studio space, and their souls with each other. The reader follows along on their paths of discovering their artistic callings and themselves as humans in the modern world. There are creative highs and lows - many examples of the "starving artist" are found in these pages - but together they weathered them all. Their deep friendship outlasted their romantic relationship and they kept in contact up until Mapplethorpe's death from AIDS in the late 1980's.

While the memoir is incredibly heartfelt and moving, the way that Patti Smith chose to transcribe it is what makes it truly memorable. Each sentence has a power and emotion behind it, so that the writing is not only powerful but powerfully poetic. You share in the tragedies and triumphs, and really feel their world. I am now looking forward to reading her next memoir "M Train".
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