Friday December 30 – Patti Smith’s 70th birthday


Patti Smith – Gloria (Live SNL 1976)

Patti Smith turns 70 today. She’ll be performing tonight, in Chicago, at the Riviera Theatre, with her band, part of an on-going tour celebrating the release of her groundbreaking 1975 debut album, Horses

What a year it’s been for Patti! (always quite a year for Patti! – poet as rock-star, poet as performer, poet as activist)

Poet as upholder of lineage and tradition – So, most recently, the extraordinary rendition of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, honoring Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan

She writes candidly and eloquently about it in The New Yorker here

“Looking to the future, I am certain that the hard rain will not cease falling, and that we will all need to be vigilant. The year is coming to an end; on December 30th, I will perform “Horses” with my band, and my son and daughter, in the city where I was born. And all the things I have seen and experienced and remember will be within me, and the remorse I had felt so heavily will joyfully meld with all other moments. Seventy years of moments, seventy years of being human.”

Anandi Mishra notes and salutes that humanity in The Hindu

“All along, she (Patti) makes us question why is it that we do what we do. She makes us think about the reason for the existence of rationale and reason. She makes us think that it is okay to be flawed; those mistakes make us more human.”


Paul Bowles, Marrakech, Morocco, July 1961 – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg

Paul Bowles birthday today too – the great American expatriate author and composer (who died in 1999) – His ethnomusicological research from 1959 – “Music of Morocco” (recorded for The Library of Congress) was recently made available on CD by the inestimable Dust to Digital.  A selection of his own music may be listened to here. His novels and short stories (most notably, The Sheltering Sky (1949), made into a movie (starring Debra Winger & John Malkovich) by Bernardo Bertolucci, in 1990) remain, in our humble opinion, essential reading. For more on Paul Bowles – see here


Iggy Pop this past March released (extraordinary!) his seventeenth studio album (wow!) –  Post Pop Depression). Here’s one track from it -“Gardenia’

As Iggy recently explained it  to interviewer/ex-Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore

“”‘Gardenia’ was a very tall very black very strong young woman who liked junk and she lived in San Francisco and I met her during one of my tours […] she dressed shabbily but she was a physically impressive alien presence not totally unlike Angelfood McSpade in the Robert Crumb comics. She went to the gig with me in North Beach and Allen Ginsberg came. She wore a little tiny very cheap polyester babydoll dress and this was a very large woman, she was over six feet big powerful limbs and devil eyes. Ginsberg went crazy, and she wore Gardenia in her hair to the gig and he was just ogling at her all night, he was like ‘You all are ok, but Gardenia!’. He was fascinated with her…”

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