The Ballad Of Patti Smith

Patti NYT
Photo: New York Times

It’s a freezing cold night, I can see my breath as I yawn the day away whilst waiting for the tube. I want to read the rest of my book whilst I wait but the thick woollen gloves make page turning awkward but I want to read this right now. There are only a few pages left and I’d rather have icy fingers. The train pulls up a few minutes later, my head now buried in my book, I manage to get a seat and so, there I was, a minute away from my stop and I had finished M Train. I carried it back to my flat like a bible pushed up against my chest. I was in love with words again.

A long time fan of her poetry and lyrics, something had just clicked in this head of mine and suddenly I felt like I knew her, in fact, there was a facet of me that belonged to her or maybe it was just a reflection? Just a few days later I decided to read Just Kids again.It reignited my love for the idea of being an artist, shacking up in the Chelsea Hotel, decorating the walls with words and art and just being myself. It was like being given a pill that made everything much clearer. The fog had cleared, the grime had been washed away and everything was there for the taking.

My days of writing in notebooks and finding that perfect place to sit and write have never ended. I hunger for my own little spot in a cafe and when I do get to sit at the same table more than once I often think of Patti. That little cafe she wrote in, tucked away  in New York City’s West Village, a cafe simply named, ‘ino. M Train was a sort of “on the road” memoir where she attempts to find solace in every cafe she found, this I am sure will resonate with many writers as we are always looking for solace in a very busy world. Scattered with Polaroids, memories and room to create new ones; M Train gave me the inspiration to just keep on going.

To me she represents the artist, the poet and the rock and roller. She appears humble, delicate yet she has a certain swagger. Called a “punk poet laureate” she enabled poetry and rock to fuse but not just any poetry, Patti’s ability to tell her life stories, anecdotes from years gone by are encapsulated in her work, putting together a history that reads like the bohemian dream. My God, this woman socialised with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, William Burroughs; the list goes on.

In a world full of Instagram selfie queens, Patti’s sense of style is unique and I mean that in the way that she follows no style but her own. You won’t see her dressing to impress or faking a sense of style, she is simply; Patti Smith. Part charity shop gem part bohemian. She epitomises cool and makes it her own, it never needs to be expensive because there is one simple fact… you can’t buy cool, right?

Photo: Smith in 1978. Credit: Los Angeles Times


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.