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Patti Smith
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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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November 21, 2010 - 6:46 pm
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I wonder if there are many people here who are old enough to know who Patti Smith is.   She is an artist, a poet,  a performance artist, and the godmother of punk rock.  She was an "in your face" rebel who was adored by the NYC artistic counterculture in the 70's and early 80's.  Her album Horses is consided one of the top rock albums of all times and the cover of it (a photo shot by Robert Mapplethorpe) is considered on of the all time great album covers.

Here is the good news.  Patti Smith's book Just Kids  (about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe during the late 60's and 70's) was just awarded The National Book Award for nonfiction.   It is a truly wonderful book.   It captures not only a relationship but an era in time.  It is extraordinarily well written.    Give it a try.   You might be intrigued.

Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Scout
Portland, Oregon
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November 21, 2010 - 7:17 pm
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I couldn't believe she won. I've been eyeing her book for a while now as I'm intrigued by the whole early punk/New York/Chelsea Hotel era. While I don't listen to her much these days, I consider her a national treasure.

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Finkbug
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November 22, 2010 - 9:16 am
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Heard interviews when she was pimping its release. It's on my ever lengthening list of books to buy.

She's firmly slotted in my brain into the category of don't enjoy the work but admire the hell out of it.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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November 22, 2010 - 4:12 pm
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Scout

The Chelsea Hotel and the various oddities and famous people who lived there or past through is a big part of this book.   

And I don't listen to her much anymore either but some of her lines have always stuck with me.  Such as "Jesus died for somebody's sins.   But not for mine".    The first time I heard that it really brought me to attention.   Sort of like the first line of  Ferlinghetti's  poem Christ climbed down..........   Kay

Finkbug

Have you ever considered just getting book from the library rather than buying.  A couple of years ago I decided there are very few books that are worth owning (for me) and quit buying them.  Almost anything I want to read I can get from our city/county library or through interlibrary loan. 

Just a thought.  Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Auditrix
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November 22, 2010 - 8:34 pm
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Can't say I've enjoyed any of her work.  Always thought she was a bit overrated.

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Finkbug
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November 23, 2010 - 12:59 am
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Great advice Kay. I'm a huge proponent of library support and usage.

Spent many years both volunteering at and being half the interlibrary loan requests at the local. Finally sunk in I've got hundreds of books on my shelves I've never gotten around to (there's an awful lot of Joyce Oates spines staring at me) and turned inward though I am still unable to resist used binge buying. Digging into Paul Park's The Cult of Loving Kindness now, the final volume of The Starbridge Chronicles. Given how great the first two chunks were I've no idea why I put off the final volume for twenty years.

Scout, you'd enjoy them.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Armand
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November 29, 2010 - 1:45 pm
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My girlfriend loves Patti Smith. She got a pre-release of the book (her moms a writer, so she gets that sort of thing) and went on to read half the book outloud to me as I would try to do important things like play video games.  ; )

Just thought I'd share. I'll have to let her know about the award.

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Scout
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January 16, 2011 - 3:37 am
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I finished this book today. It's exactly what I thought it would be. All Patti Smith. All the time. She is probably one of the only pop culture personalities that I respect with an ardor bordering on hero-ish type regard. That said, as much as I like her guts and heart, her output isn't always top tier. Her Gothic French poetess "me and Robert are geniuses" thing seem non-intuitive to me and something I would typically hold in contempt were it any one else. This, I guess, is a common sentiment with those who knew her. She could get away with stuff no one else would even dare attempt and had some mystical free pass among the myth-makers to do whatever the fuck she wanted to. Gotta respect balls like that.

But she has a heart as big as Kansas and touches something inside me. I admit I was crying like a little baby reading the last three or four pages while simultaneously rolling my eyes over her inconsistent, self-indulgent writing style. I'm not sure this book was National Book Award material but it's one hell of a valuable historical artifact, much like its author so if this award familiarizes more people with that time and place, all the better. Also all her male intimates tended to die young so that is pretty fascinating.

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Finkbug
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January 16, 2011 - 6:00 am
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I feel dirty that Patti and Chrissie Hynde are cross-wired in my head. There's the obvious superficial similarities but mostly it's wanting to combine them into one person and have the amalgam create and deliver music for me. Hynde can't write and Patti can't or won't use her gusto to do a killer pop track.

The book is still on my to-read pile but Patti seems to occupy the same space as Dylan. Self-made forces of nature, free passes on all pretention no matter the persona is a meticulously constructed artifact. Attempts to poke holes are whipped away by the gale force winds of the result.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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January 16, 2011 - 10:46 am
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I definitely have to add this to my Kindle list. It will be strange, going from Stephen King's latest to an autobiography of Patti Smith. Thanks for the reference!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Scout
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January 16, 2011 - 12:01 pm
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Finkbug, a couple of times in the book Smith directly states that her whole persona was basically something she took from Dylan and tweaked to fit her needs and built on from there. It also explained a lot about her tendency to noodle around instead of cutting to the chase like the really great rock musicians do.

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Armand
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January 16, 2011 - 12:10 pm
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And Dylan stole his look and sound from Woody Guthri, a TRUE genius. [Image Can Not Be Found]

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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January 19, 2011 - 12:05 am
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It  is nice to hear your thoughts on reading the book, Scout.  

I find it interesting that others keep saying that she is derivative.  So what is new?  Everything and everyone is derivitive. 

Tell me who hasn't been derivitive since God.      [Image Can Not Be Found]      kay 

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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