Saturday, February 02, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Patti Smith

So far, my New Year's resolution to write everydayno matter whatis off with a whimper, not a bang. Don't worry, I shall unfuck that soon, as I have much to write and much to fill in, and I will make up for it. It's been a rough January and there is more coming up that I will need to talk about and discuss and let out.

I still need to finish a few bits and pieces from last year and I will.

But for tonight, I have my computer, and a glass of wine, and I have had a bit of sweet (although the low carbing is still going strong) and I am now reflecting on the beauty and wonderousness that is Patti Smith.



I tried to explain to the Boy how happy I was that she finished with "Rock n Roll Nigger," but the Boy did not quite understand why this would please me as much as it did.

"Wouldn't that be offensive?"

I tried to explain it.

"That's the point. That's the point. The point, that we are all outsiders. That as soon as you realize that there is something else, something other, as soon as you step away from that comfortable, happy cocoon we call reality, you are outside of it."

"Still seems kind of offensive."


Patti Smith, at 67, still commanded the stage. She was a powerhouse with her band. She was very much, now, the godmother of punk, and she embodied it. In her ratty blazer, white T-shirt,ed vest, and knit cap, her hair a messy wave, her voice was cutting, as raw as ever. She was everything I want to be when I was 67.

She spoke between songs, little vignettes, reminders of where the music came from, or a tie-in of where the music began, as she was singing off the new album.  She talked about singing at CGBG in the 70's, taking a smoke break out back and waiting for aliens. She sang a song to Amy Winehouse, which was both as fleeting and powerful as the career wasted by a woman who just couldn't get beyond herself.


And she talked to us. She asked us to remember that we were free; the bullets, and bombs, and politics were bullshit. That we were capable of changing the world. Part of me wanted to think it was an act, it was just for show, something, a thing, that was not real, and then, after singing one of the more poignant songs from Outside, her second guitarist came up and held her as she wept on stage in front of all of us, cryingstill clearly believing and clearly moved, passionate about her message.

Of the shows that I have seen, only Nina could claim to have outdone it.

I was moved.

I'm glad I went.

At the end of the show, the guitarist threw a pick in my direction, and with a foot-stomp I claimed it, although the Korean girl trying to pry my foot up off the floor wanted to argue. I didn't budge until the Kiterunnerwho had gone to see the show with mestood by my side and grabbed the thin chip as we made our escape.

"Where do you think she will go? Let's go find her."

The venue was sure, and we had no way of knowing if she had smuggled out in the thirty minutes it had taken us to get outside, or if she was still waiting for the pack down. Seoul had grown exceptionally cold, so we decided in the end to grab a taxi and head back for a drink.

Still feeling rock and roll, we ran after the first cab we saw, pissing off a great number of Koreans, but got the taxi nonetheless.

"I got rolled like three times tonight. Security was up in my face the whole time."

"What do you think that was all about?" I asked.

"Patti fucking Smith, man! We are all outside!!! RockinrollNigga!"

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