“Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine” – Those were the immortal lines uttered by Patti Smith on the first track of the debut album Horses, released in 1975 on Arista records. Some years later I was reading Camus’ Notebooks and came across the line “Maybe Christ died for somebody but not for me.”. This appears in Notebooks Volume 1, 1942-1951 (Volume 2 is 1935-1942). Smith has always talked about Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Jean Genet, Bob Dylan, but I can’t remember her mentioning Camus and it’s his line, in French of course. I’ve seen her live a mere eleven times, four times in one year. It helped being friends with drummer Jay Dee who played on Priest=Aura, but when I look back at my first experience of her it was in Manchester in the seventies. Dare was at Uni there and one of his room mates, Graham, turned me onto Horses. I remember it clear as day. I remember being in his room and him saying to me this is New Wave but American New Wave and handing me the cover. Tragically recently Ivan Kral has died, Richard Sohl has already gone, but Patti Smith lives on as poet, heroine and mentor. We listened to Horses tonight for the first time in a long time, it’s so familiar, I must have played it endlessly then. It’s the hippest album ever so I always enjoyed Allan Lanier from Blue Oyster Cult’s contribution (the band are mentioned on the cover). Lanier co-wrote Kimberly and Elegie and played guitar on the latter. It was the crossover period between generations, Punk annihilating Rock with spit, passion and anger, different clothes, different hair. I had no problem with a world where Patti Smith and Blue Oyster Cult literally danced arm in arm (Secret Treaties was one of my favourite albums when it came out) and despite her changing the life of Michael Stipe, activating Morrissey, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux she was able to associate herself with Allan Lanier as her partner and Bob Dylan as her most recent hero when a good portion of the rest were trying to pretend they didn’t exist and had no meaning.
I went to bed so late last night (hours admiring the sofa) and didn’t find my way into the day till late afternoon. Olivia and I went up to the leisure centre at around 5PM and I decided to swim. I did half a mile freestyle and then stretched and floated in the water. Weightlessness is one of the great underrated experiences and Olivia will be experiencing it soon because for Christmas I bought her a Float Tank session. It’s not anything I’ve done myself but as I swim often and Anekdoten have a song called Gravity that we play live, I’m aware. I hear it’s a rather bizarre and disconcerting experience, I can’t wait for Olivia’s review.
I had to try and make tonight a record filing evening, most people’s hell, my idea of perfection. Pottering, filing, listening to the library, comparing records I’ve bought with versions I already have, filling that missing space, experiencing the music for the first time or the 100th, admiring the cover art. I love it. Olivia working on something unknown in the room. The space is an aesthetic paradise, too. I have the skull shelf that you caught a glimpse of yesterday, but there is also the artefact window. Wonders of the world, trinkets and keepsakes, mementos and a collection of 23 lava lamps from all different eras and various shapes and sizes. You sink into this room, it wraps its arms around you and whispers softly into your ear or it shakes you into action, waking you up to some vibrant sound or revolutionary message.
Today’s been only music listening and we’ve had our usual eclectic mix of dishes. This morning we had Roísín Murphy and Billy Gibbons after each other. It’s like those wonderful bills in the sixties and seventies where the acts were completely different to each other and the audience were grateful. These days the whole experience has to be tuned to one station. Sha Na Na played at Woodstock, the hippies were entertained. When I was listening to Patti Smith today I thought what if Janis Joplin were on the same bill? What a night that would be. On the last tour I bought a copy of No Roses by Shirley Collins And The Albion Country Band, British Folk at its best. Donnie And Joe Emerson’s Light In The Attic release of Lost Recordings from 1979-1981 is an odd one. A father who built his sons a recording studio to be able to follow their interest in music without pressure from record labels. Then, a dodgy East German pressing of a Marmalade Greatest Hits where the music hasn’t been cut properly and the right side drops out of the speakers randomly. Today was also a day of Meet The Residents, their first album from 1974. I felt like the room needed something more experimental in it, tomorrow we may need guitar solos. Finishing with Iranian-born singer Azam Ali to round off the meal. It’s a studio day tomorrow, guitars and axing the futon bass could be a fascinating recording session.