At the moment I’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. I remember it was book of the week on Radio 4 last year but it was one of those hectic weeks where I heard a couple of episodes but never got a chance to listen to the whole thing which I think now was a bonus because when I’m reading it I can hear Smith’s voice which was so laid back and melancholic when she was reading it on the radio but I never heard enough to quite know what was happening and so the book has really grabbed me. If you haven’t read it, you should really should, even if you’re not interested in either Patti Smith or Robert Mapple Thorpe, it is a riveting testament of what it must have been like to be in New York at the tail end of the sixties.
This passage in particular blew me away:-
” I was wearing a long rayon navy dress with white polka dots and a straw hat my East Of Eden outfit. At a table to my left, Janis Joplin was holding court with her band. To my far right were Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, along with members of Country Joe and The Fish. At the last table facing the door was Jimi Hendrix, his head lowered eating with his hat on, across from a blonde. There were musicians everywhere, sitting before tables laid with mounds of shrimp with green sauce, paella, pitchers of sangria and bottles of tequila”
Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the El Quixote or staying in the Chelsea Hotel at that time!
Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel #2