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Patti Smith

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday, 27th January):

Birth

1961. Gillian Gilbert (New Order) born in Manchester, England.

On Tour

1977. Patti Smith falls fifteen feet from the stage at a gig in Tampa, Florida. She fractures the seventh vertebrae in her neck and requires 22 stitches.

In Court

1992. Country singer Sydney Devine is fined £ 75 and has 3 penalty points added to his driving licence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court. Although he was not in court, the singer admitted driving at 79 m.p.h. on a 60 m.p.h. stretch of the A77 on October 24th last year.

In Hospital

1984. Michael Jackson‘s hair catches fire during the filming of a Pepsi advert. He is rushed to the Cedars Sinai Medical Center suffering second and third degree burns to the scalp. Media interest in the story forces hospital authorities to move Jackson to Brotman Memorial Hospital for treatment.

On Television

2006. The Ellen Degeneres Show. (Syndicated, U.S.A.). Guests include Heather Headley who performs “In My Mind”

Death

1967. Italian pop singer Luigi Tenco shoots himself in a fit of depression having been eliminated from the finals of the San Remo Festival. Police say the 27 year old took his life with a single pistol shot to the head. He left a suicide note saying he had “devoted the best years of my life to singing and writing songs” and was doing this “as an act of protest against the public and the jury” for their selections for the final. Tenco was not alone. Some big names including Marianne Faithfull never made it into the final.

Babble

It’s odd how differently we see things as the years pass. Browsing old copies of Melody maker for TV listings, I came across news of a blanket radio and TV ban on a Parlophone single. Titled “Nothing Better To Do”, it was released on July 3rd, 1964, and took the mickey out of mods and rockers. The wording suggested that they had nothing better to do than invade towns.

Whether the broadcasters thought it would be a call to arms for the two factions is unclear but ABC-TV, producers of “Thank Your Lucky Stars” said, “The record is not in the best interests of the general public”. MM merely said “the BBC have shunned the disc”.

Odd then, to think that the artist singing the song would later go on to become a much-loved national institution within the BBC – Bill Oddie OBE. 

 

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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday 5th June):

Birth

1947. Performance artist Laurie Anderson born in Chicago, Illinois.

On Stage

1983. DJ Kenny Everett, is acting as master of ceremonies for the Conservative Party Youth event at Wembley Conference Centre. Unfortunately, he gets carried away and tells his audience, “Let’s bomb Russia!” and “Let’s kick Michael Foot’s sticks away!” He also jokes that he’d had tea with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and said to her, “Maggie, you’re rolling that joint all wrong”. Everett isn’t asked back.

In Court

1978. A temporary High Court injunction is obtained in London, stopping David Gates and two former members of Bread from touring the U.K. as David Gates And Bread. The injunction follows a writ issued by James A. Griffin (another former member) and Bread Enterprises Inc., who own the registered trade mark on the band’s name. A hearing is set for June 7th.

In Church

1989. Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith have their wedding blessed at the Church Of St. John The Evangelist in London’s Hyde Park Crescent. In marked contrast to their wedding on June 2nd, 170 guests attend the ceremony which is followed by a reception for 400 at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

On Television

1971. Disco (ZDF, West Germany) 4. Bourbon Family – “Acapulco gold”; Joe Dolan – “Sometimes a man just has to cry”; Clodagh Rodgers – “Jack in the box”; Dave Dee – “Wedding bells”; T.Rex – “Hot love”; Samantha Jones – “Sweet Inspiration”; Bill + Buster – “Hold on to what you’ve got”; Thomas Hock – “; The Rolling Stones – “Brown sugar”; Ricky Shayne – “Ginny come to me”. Here’s a ten minute section of the show featuring Dave Dee, T. Rex, Samatha Jones and Bill + Buster.

Death

1968. Bob Dylan‘s father, Abraham Zimmerman, dies from a heart attack. Dylan flies back to Hibbing the following day. The funeral is held on June 7th and Bob stays with his mother until June 11th, when he flies back to New York. Sara, his wife, is expecting a baby and Bob wants to be at the birth.

Babble

On Tuesday I visited Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris and Patti Smith‘s exhibition entitled, “Land 250”. The first thing that strikes you about Fondation Cartier is the building itself, a glass box held together by a steel exoskeleton set in a garden in the middle of the city. Walking into the building you can’t help but be awed by the scale of the open exhibition space on the ground floor. It’s an open, bright space but that wasn’t where Patti’s show was hanging.

For that, you walk down into the basement. The large space seems smaller and more intimate with subdued lighting and sofas sitting on rugs in the middle of the room. Initially the senses are bombarded. Video projections flicker on the walls and even on suspended screens around the homely seating. There are some stunning huge photographs along with Patti’s drawings and polaroids around the walls. It’s an assault on the senses that pulls you in and seduces you. This is, quite simply, amazing.

Throughout the main room (described as “At Home”) are a number of display cases. One features an original visiting card of Arthur Rimbaud’s as well as a first edition of “A Season In Hell”. Sharing the space with these relics is another modern one, Patti’s t-shirt worn for many live performances over the last 30 years.

I was totally mesmerized by this room, the quality of the work, the intimacy of the videos and the personal items. There’s too much to take in. This is definitely an exhibition that would benefit from repeat visits. The only trouble seemed to be that it was too comfortable. I saw one visitor dozing on a sofa!

Along with the main exhibition space are two other rooms. One is the Rene Daumal Room. The walls are white, covered with the comments and scribblings of the fans who’ve attended since the exhibition opened on March 28th, a century and 12 days since Daumal’s birth. On May 21st, to commemorate the day of his death, the walls were covered with sheets of white gauze. As well as the constantly running video, are a number of drawings and photographs. In the room are a prison bed, an ethiopian blanket and a offering bowl of rice. I have to say, this room didn’t work as well for me as the others.

The third room is the Coral Sea Room. In the centre of this darkened space is a large black gazebo with black gauze walls. A video projection plays on one wall and also on a screen stretched arcoss a table in the middle of the room. A bench on either side allows people to sit and fully absorb the atmosphere. Patti says in her commentary that she likes to come and sit here and think of Robert Mapplethorpe. I can see why, it’s a quiet restful meditative space. The walls around this are lined with photographs by both Patti and Robert. One of Patti’s is a polaroid taken of the Last Supper which salutes religion and Warhol at the same time. Two other religious relics add to the atmosphere – a chalice carved from driftwood and the slippers worn by Pope Benedict XV who made Joan of Arc a saint.

I wanted to take a break and went outside to try and photograph the building and when I walked back inside was stunned to see that Patti herself was there. She was relaxed and charming, happily signing autographs for anyone who asked. While she was there she explained many of the items exhibited and even the Rene Daumal Room to those in it at the time. She was followed by a TV crew but stayed long after they left, disappearing into the offices above the gallery spaces.

The exhibition runs until June 22nd. If you’re in Paris, check it out. I was told that Patti was staying in an hotel just around the corner so you may be lucky and catch her on one of her visits.

I flew back yesterday afternoon and stopped at a shopping mall for dinner on my way home. It was full of screaming kids and more than a thousand people. Needless to say I had to see what was happening. It was a personal appearance by the scariest of the Spice Girls, Mel B, at the Debenham’s store. She wasn’t there to plug a new release but to launch a new range of Ultimo bras! Here she is with the bra’s designer, Michelle Mone. The birthday cake was for Mel, albeit a few days out!

 

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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Monday 21st April):

Birth

1947. Iggy Pop is born James Jewel Osterburg in Muskegan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

On Tour

1978. 21-year-old aspiring keyboard star Peter John Vitesse (Jethro Tull 1982-86) comes a cropper on his first professional engagement. He’s been booked as part of The Vikings for a summer season at the International Grill Suite in Garmische, Bavaria. Arriving at Zeebrugge at 9.30 a.m., the band is confronted by waiting customs officials wanting to see their carnet (an inventory of equipment they are carrying). Unfortunately the band doesn’t have one and is told that unless they cough up 1/3rd of the value of the gear as a refundable bond, they won’t be able to enter Belgium and travel on to Germany. Arriving back in their home town of Blairgowrie in Scotland the next day, group leader Graham Duncan said he has put the matter into the hands of his M.P., Mr. Douglas Crawford.

In Court

1990. Amy Grant sues Marvel Comics when they use her image in a Dr. Strange comic.

In Church

1993. Bill Wyman (56), marries Suzanne Accosta (33) in the dungeon of the registry office in St. Paul de Vence, France. Following the ceremony, the couple receive a blessing from the village’s Anglican priest, Keith Anderson in the 13th century church of the Conversion Of St. Paul. A reception for the 42 guests is held at the Colombe D’Or Hotel. None of The Rolling Stones attend. It’s Wyman’s third marriage.

In Hospital

1998. Frank Sinatra enters the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for tests but is allowed to return home later in the afternoon. A spokesman for the 82 year old star later describes the hospital visit as a routine checkup.

On Television

1979. Rockpalast (WDR, West Germany) – J. Geils Band, Patti Smith Group, Johnny Winter (Grugahalle Essen). Here’s a totally bizarre interview with Patti, Richard Sohl and Lenny Kaye.

Death

1971. Ska trombonist, Don Drummond, dies in Jamaica’s Bellevue mental asylum. He’d been locked-up there after killing his common-law wife.

 

 

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© Copyright 1995 – 2008 Rockmine Archives. Use of this content is prohibited unless licensed by Rockmine Archives.