Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Outside of society, that's where I wanna be.

13 Patti Smith, ‘Babelogue/Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger’

One of my best friends at University, Linley Wood, introduced me to Patti Smith’s Horses album. I remember her telling me about the album and raving about it. When I got a chance I listened to the first track, Gloria, and wow. The opening statement – Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine – rocked my world. The songs on the album bare testimony to her Jehovah’s Witness upbringing, but clearly she was rebelling against that. I loved the songs and her delivery and bought Radio Ethiopia as well. And that, I thought, was that.

That was, until an American Poetry lecture in the bowels of the old Arts building, Auckland University, led by Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks. Wystan led off this particular session with a tape by, he said, an American poet – Patti Smith.

Babelogue started and the cosmos reached down and ripped my head off!! I had never felt such a rush of adrenalin as I felt at that moment, listening to Babelogue segue into Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger. WHAT WAS THAT??????? I have no idea what the rest of the lecture was on. I was gone, daddy, gone. I became a zealot for Patti Smith at that moment, but, more than that, this moment of epiphany made me a zealot for poetry. My own writing was vindicated in that moment and I was now set to gorge myself on poetry. Wordsworth, Rimbaud, Coleridge, Shelley, Bly, Ginsberg, Dylan and on and on. When Babelogue snagged me I realised it was the lyrics that drew me in to experiencing the songs. Not the music. I’m still the same. That’s why nearly all of my posts are titled from lyrics.

Thanks Linley, wherever you are, for kicking me off!

Two versions of this for you to choose from. First is the original version on Easter and then a morphed 2006 version. She's still got it!

No comments:

Post a Comment