Last December, a friend and I went to see Patti Smith being interviewed by Alec Baldwin for Here’s the Thing. [If you don’t know Here’s The Thing, go listen asap. It’s one of my favorite podcasts ever where Alec Baldwin interviews guests and you really feel you’re getting the inside scoop and its smart and so so good – but I digress….]. The interview was held in Morristown, NJ at the Mayo Arts Center – and that night, I felt good and normal and like I was exactly where I should be. I loved being in NJ at that moment and I love Patti and I love Here’s the Thing and I could have listened to them on and on… Here’s a pic from the interview.
Anyway, the show was great.
But the real story here, for ihatenj, is about how Patti grew up in N.J. When she describes her childhood in Southern Jersey, either in her writing or interviews, it was a nice time where she was free to play. But it was also void of culture, where she escaped to the library to get engulfed in literature. And then, as Vanity Fair puts it, ” Patti Smith’s move in 1967 from suburban New Jersey to rebellious New York City was one of the seminal migrations in rock ’n’ roll history”.
If you read Just Kids (which you must as it is one of my favorite books which I’ve read over and over and really made me fall in love with her voice – I almost like listening to interviews with her more than hearing her music…), you’ll learn more about her childhood and experience in New Jersey. And it speaks to that contrast of the exciting city vs the boring suburbs. And I guess also makes me think of my children. I mean, if you told me my daughter was going to be bored and go to the library and become Patti Smith, sure. Done. I’m stayin’. But I fear more that I’m going to be a depressed mom out here (not great for my kids) and that they will be uncultured or not exposed to the world. I know that this is not true and they can become whole and smart and interesting people anywhere, that these thoughts comes from a neurotic place, but I decided to be honest on this blog so…
In the interview, Patti also talked to Alec about also how NY has changed and is now not a place for artists and how she got married and moved to Michigan. I agree with alot of that. Soho and Williamburg and Chelsea are now shopping malls. But when Patti spoke about her life in Michigan, she took a long period of “time off” and described days and days of doing nothing and walking far to the 7-Eleven while she raised young kids and that sounded nightmarish to me. But for her that was enough. She was happy. So that was interesting for me – it raised some questions about my expectations. What is enough. I mean, goddamn, if it’s enough for fucking Patti Smith, what do I need.
So I guess, lastly, this post is to honor one of my favorite New Jersey people ever. So so so beyond good. Forget about just good for here. And here are more pics of her because she is also so great to look at and I could just look at pictures of her all day.
Ciao, Lauren xx