Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Patti's crystal skull

Listening to 'Twelve', the new Patti Smith album, comprising a bunch of cover versions. Last week, at Sheffield Plug, we saw her live (for the first time) as part of the accompanying tour. Unfortunately we didn't make the poetry meeting in Kendal as I was [a bloodless buffoon who would prefer] speaking at a conference about widening participation, in London. The gig was amazing, a good mixture of her own stuff and the 'Twelve' covers, plus a storming opening version of 'Highway 61' done just for the night (Bob Dylan's birthday), with lyrics read from an A4 sheet of paper. I'm liking the covers more than I thought - as they're being done by an artist of equal stature to the originals they're more like reinterpretations - eg Patti's 'white rabbit' has different resonances than Grace's.

At the Sheffield concert she apologised for her t-shirt, describing it as looking like 'the Grateful Dead's evil twin'. She was struggling to remember where it came from but the legendary Lenny Kaye, ace guitarist and creator of the seminal 'Pebbles' and 'Nuggets' albums, stepped in as a taxonomist of the English department store and explained the difference between Dorothy Perkins and Debenhams. The shirt came from the latter (or 'Zebedums' as PS referred to it) and I had hoped it would be some kind of own-brand cheapy; it is in fact a Levis one costing £25 :( otherwise I'd be sporting one right now...

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