Just Kids ή η ιστορία μιας πελώριας αγάπης μεταξύ ενός ομοφυλόφιλου καλλιτέχνη και μιας ετεροφυλόφιλης καλλιτέχνιδας
Λίγα βιογραφικά: Pattie Smith, Αμερικανίδα τραγουδίστρια, μουσικός και ποιήτρια. Θεωρείται σημαντική η επίδρασή της στη γέννηση του πανκ με το πρώτο της άλμπουμ Horses. Την αποκάλεσαν «νονά του πανκ» καθώς συνδύασε το στυλ της beat ποίησης με το garage rock. Οι αναφορές της εισήγαγαν την γαλλική ποίηση του 19ου αιώνα στους Αμερικάνους έφηβους, ενώ η τολμηρή γλώσσα της αψήφησε την εποχή της ντίσκο.
Το βιβλίο αναφέρεται στα νεανικά χρόνια της καλλιτέχνιδας, είναι αυτοβιογραφικό και επικεντρώνεται στη γνωριμία της με τον Robert Mapplethorpe, τη σχέση τους και πως αυτή καθόρισε τη μετέπειτα πορεία της. Είναι καλογραμμένο, ατμοσφαιρικό, μεταφέρει τον αναγνώστη στη Νέα Υόρκη των 60's έως αρχές 80's, μια εποχή τρομερά συναρπαστική, γοητευτική, επαναστατική. Απίστευτα διάσημοι καλλιτέχνες του μεγέθους του Dali να συναναστρέφονται με "χαμένες ψυχές" που διέμεναν στο θρυλικό Chelsea Hotel.
Ξεκινά με την είδηση του θανάτου του: "I awoke early, and as I descended the stairs I knew that he was dead". Διάλλεξε ένα βιβλίο με πίνακες του Redon· η πρώτη σελίδα που άνοιξε έδειχνε το κεφάλι μιας γυναίκας να επιπλέει στο νερό. Les yeux clos· Το τηλέφωνο χτύπησε· η Tosca άρχισε τη μεγαλειώδη άρια "Vissi d' arte" I have lived for love, I have lived for Art.
Του άρεσε να της λέει ιστορίες της από τα παιδικά της χρόνια και κυρίως αυτή που είχε κλέψει από τη μπιζουτιέρα μιας φίλης της ένα τσιμπιδάκι· And always, when i got to the part where i opened the jewelry box, he would cry, "Patti, no..."· We used to laugh at our small selves, saying that i was a bad girl trying to be good and that he was a good boy trying to be bad.
Η στιγμή της μεταμόρφωσης ενός ανθρώπου σε καλλιτέχνη ίσως να είναι η επίσκεψη σε ένα μουσείο όπου έρχεται αντιμέτωπος με το μεγαλείο του Picasso· His brutal confidence took my breath away... I'm certain, as we filed down the great staircase, that i appeared the same as ever, a moping twelve year old, all arms and legs. But secretly i knew i had been transformed, moved by the revelation that human beings create art, that to be an artist was to see what others could not.
Coloring excited him, not the act of filling in space, but choosing colors that no one else would select. In the green of the hills he saw red. Purple snow, green skin, silver sun. He liked the effect it had on others, that it disturbed his siblings.
He wasn't certain whether he was a good or bad person. Whether he was altruistic. Whether he was demonic. But he was certain of one thing. He was an artist. And for that he would never apologise.
Ο Arthur Rimbaud συντηρούσε την ψυχή της καλλιτέχνιδας όταν δούλευε σε εργοστάσιο χαρτιού για να βιοπορίζεται. His haughty gaze reached mine from the cover of illumination... He became my archangel, delivering me from the mundane horrors of factory life
Και μετά έφυγε πετώντας την ποδιά της σερβιτόρας που της είχε δώσει η μητέρα της στο νεροχύτη μιας δημόσιας τουαλέτας· Thought i was prepared to sleep on benches, in subways and graveyards, until i got work, i was not ready for the constant hunger that gnawed at me... Even Baudelaire had to eat. His letters contained many a desperate cry for want of meat and porter
Έφτασε στη Ν.Υ, όπου περιπλανήθηκε άστεγη για μήνες, ώσπου βρήκε δουλειά σε ένα βιβλιοπωλείο. Σε μια περίεργη φάση όπου είχε βγει με έναν τύπο, πελάτη του βιβλιοπωλείου, και ένιωσε ότι κατά κάποιον τρόπο κινδύνευε, εμφανίστηκε το όμορφο αγόρι με το μωβ κολιέ και την "έσωσε". Από τότε έγιναν αχώριστοι· Our mutual sense of code manifested in many little games.
We were amazed at how much had happened, retracing our small odyssey from calamitous to calm... I was too curious about the future to look back
Τότε έγινε και η δολοφονία της Sharon Tate, έγκυος γυναίκα του Polanski, από τον Manson
"The X interests me, but not Manson,", he said to Matthew. "He's insane. Insanity doesn't interest me."
I knew one day i would stop and he would keep on going, but until then nothing could tear us apart...
Nothing was more wonderful to me than Coney Island with its gritty innocence.
The Chelsea was like a doll’s house in the Twilight Zone, with a hundred rooms, each a small universe.
I loved this place, its shabby elegance, and the history it held so possessively. There were rumors of Oscar Wilde’s trunks languishing in the hull of the oft-flooded basement. Here Dylan Thomas, submerged in poetry and alcohol, spent his last hours.
Bob Dylan composed “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” on our floor, and a speeding Edie Sedgwick was said to have set her room on fire while gluing on her thick false eyelashes by candlelight.
But running through the primary artery, the thing that ultimately accelerated their world and then took them down, was speed. Amphetamine magnified their paranoia, robbed some of their innate powers, drained their confidence, and ravaged their beauty.
Η Pattie αποτελούσε πάντα για τον Robert πηγή έμπνευσης και δημιουργίας
He used three of the photo booth pictures of me in my Mayakovsky cap and surrounded it with toile butterflies and angels. I felt, as always, a rising pleasure when he used a reference to me in a work, as if through him I would be remembered.
We often reminisced about our first encounter and he once asked how I would describe how we met. “I would say you fed me when I was hungry,” I told him. And he did.
It snowed on Christmas night. We walked to Times Square to see the white billboard proclaiming WAR IS OVER! If you want it. Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.
Robert made me a tie rack with the image of the Virgin Mary. I gave him seven silver skulls on a length of leather. He wore the skulls. I wore a tie. We felt ready for the seventies. “It’s our decade,” he said.
I stood there holding a stuffed black crow I had bought for next to nothing from the Museum of the American Indian. I think they wanted to get rid of it. I had decided to name it Raymond, after Raymond Roussel, who wrote Locus Solus. I was thinking what a magical portal this lobby was when the heavy glass door opened as if swept by wind and a familiar figure in a black and scarlet cape entered. It was Salvador Dalí. He looked around the lobby nervously, and then, seeing my crow, smiled. He placed his elegant, bony hand atop my head and said: “You are like a crow, a gothic crow.” “Well,” I said to Raymond, “just another day at the Chelsea.”
When Janis Joplin returned in August for her rain date in Central Park, she seemed extremely happy. She was looking forward to recording, and came into town resplendent in magenta, pink, and purple feather boas. She wore them everywhere.
Janis spent most of the party with a good-looking guy she was attracted to, but just before closing time he ducked out with one of the prettier hangers-on. Janis was devastated. “This always happens to me, man. Just another night alone,” she sobbed on Bobby’s shoulder.
As I was leaving, she looked in the mirror, adjusting her boas. “How do I look, man?” “Like a pearl,” I answered. “A pearl of a girl.”
και αυτή ήταν η τελευταία φορά που την είδε ζωντανή...
He spent a little time with me on the stairs and told me his vision of what he wanted to do with the studio. He dreamed of amassing musicians from all over the world in Woodstock and they would sit in a field in a circle and play and play. It didn’t matter what key or tempo or what melody, they would keep on playing through their discordance until they found a common language. Eventually they would record this abstract universal language of music in his new studio. “The language of peace. You dig?” I did.
Μπορεί να υπάρξει ερωτική σχέση ανάμεσα σε έναν ομοφυλόφιλο άνδρα και μια ετεροφυλόφιλη γυναίκα;
We needed time to figure out what all of this meant, how we were going to come to terms and redefine what our love was called. I learned from him that often contradiction is the clearest way to truth.
Ο πρώτος δίσκος
There was never any question that Robert would take the portrait for the cover of Horses. The only thing I promised Robert was that I would wear a clean shirt with no stains on it.
And as I toured the world I had time to reflect that Robert and I had never traveled together. We never saw beyond New York save in books and never sat in an airplane holding each other’s hand to ascend into a new sky and descend onto a new earth.
When I walked on the stages of the world without him I would close my eyes and picture him taking off his leather jacket, entering with me the infinite land of a thousand dances.
Dear Robert, Often as I lie awake I wonder if you are also lying awake. Are you in pain or feeling alone? You drew me from the darkest period of my young life, sharing with me the sacred mystery of what it is to be an artist. I learned to see through you and never compose a line or draw a curve that does not come from the knowledge I derived in our precious time together. Your work, coming from a fluid source, can be traced to the naked song of your youth. You spoke then of holding hands with God. Remember, through everything, you have always held that hand, grip it hard, Robert, and don’t let go. The other afternoon, when you fell asleep on my shoulder, I drifted off, too. But before I did, it occurred to me looking around at all of your things and your work and going through years of work in my mind, that of all your work, you are still your most beautiful. The most beautiful work of all. Patti
I stood looking at the sky. The clouds were the colors of a Raphael. A wounded rose. I had the sensation he had painted it himself. You will see him. You will know him. You will know his hand. These words came to me and I knew I would one day see a sky drawn by Robert’s hand.
Yet I have a lock of his hair, a handful of his ashes, a box of his letters, a goatskin tambourine. And in the folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michelangelo.