26 April 2011

Marianne Faithfull Part Two

Another Magazine Issue 20
Interview by John Paul Pryor
Spring/Summer 2011
*Please note that this is a shorter version of the interview that was in the magazine, the interview was so long It would of been too much to put in one post but if you would like the rest of it then just leave a comment and I will write it up for you , enjoy ...
   The life of Marianne Evelyn Faithfull is shrouded in so much rock and rock mythology that you are not quite sure what to expect when you actually meet her. Her 46-year old musical career has been well documented for its parties, excess and dogged tales of survival. A cursory reading of her 1994 biography gives you the impression that she is a vessel of an array of characters.
  You can’t help but wonder which of many incarnations most defines her. The 17 year old virginal songbird? The suicidal lover Mick Jagger? The leather clad babe of Girl on a Motorcycle? The resurrected junkie pariah of Broken English? Or the highly respected role model who won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women’s World Awards in 2009? Meeting Faithfull, you realise she has calm sphinx at the eye of this storm of constructed identities.
   On the eve of the release of her latest album, Horses and High Heels (recorded with legendary jazz musicians against the backdrop of desolation and blood red sunsets that is New Orleans), I spoke to the ever rebellious 64 year old about the wasted energies at the heart of the 1960s party scene and putting your faith in the mythology of the blues.
Although Horses and High Heels is a joyful record, it also focuses on mortality quite a lot..
Well, I’m nearly 64. I’m very interested in all that stuff.

The Old House is a particularly beautiful song about mortality. Did (Irish playwright) Frank McGuinness write it for you?
I wanted him to write something on there. He’s almost like a part of myself- he knows the things that get me, such as my parents being very important. He actually sent me his ideas as poems, because what he does for light relief is knock out poetry: it’s his form of  relaxation. He sent me several good ideas but the one I really wanted was The Old House.

In some cultures they say you’re not really an adult until your parents have passed on..
I didn’t know that, but that’s the problem really. It’s so sad when they’re gone, because there is nothing else like them ever again, but when they are alive it feels like such a life and death struggle and it’s either you or them.
Dreams are also a recurring motif in all your work.
Yeah, I have a very good dream life-very vivid. I didn’t ever have the experience Keith did-dreaming of (I can’t get no) satisfaction and then actually waking up and putting it down on tape- but I do develop ideas in dreams.

There were lots of radically conceptual rebels in your 60s milieu weren’t there? In those times the scene seemed more about exploration and scorning convention , not bling and excess.
Well, I am still like that. I haven’t changed. I am afraid I kind of belittle our rebellion in the 60s though. Love is not all you need, although you do need it, and I now wonder just what the hell we were fighting for. Was it just to legalise pot? I think it was. It was just a fight for long hair and drugs, which was a real waste of these enormous energies. Actually the baby boom thing was a turnaround- we could have had real power but we wasted it. You can see Tony Blair and Gordon Brown . They are some of the only politicians that come from the 60s and they blew it, especially Tony Blair.
Do you think one of the things about the 60s party scene that was so different from today was the innocence? Keith Richard’s writes in his autobiography that you and Anita Pallenberg gave Brian Jones more LSD to bring him down off LSD...
Oh, you know Keith is so funny about that- talking about us as these two deadly nurses :”You need more Brian! Take more!” I mean, we were crazy. Brian was somebody that who, should never have taken LSD. I feel very bad about that. We had been on it for three days already- no harm y’know? We were flying but we didn’t get that it’s just not for everybody.

When it goes bad it goes really bad?
It depends what’s inside, and Brian had bad stuff inside. I don’t really understand about his childhood, but whatever it was, it must have come out of untruths and lies. Some parents do that to their children.

You sample his recordings with The Master Musicians of Jajouka in the song Eternity. Do you believe in an eternal soul?
Oh, I do, I do , of course. I am probably rather like my dad, you know? I am not religious but there are a lot of things that speak to me: William Blake, Shakespeare, Meditation...
It’s interesting that you’re not religious and yet the first song on the new record seems to be about the Rapture?
I am very interested in the Rapture , to a point. I find it fascinating, and I do directly know the experience in the lyrics of demons crawling all around my room, I know that very well. I cannot say I am a Christian but I think Mark’s (Lanegan) song is bigger than that: the Rapture is bigger than that.

As someone who has lived through so much, what do you think attracts human beings to the mystery of self –destruction/ Does going through that experience make you stronger?
Yes. But I have to tell you that my self –destructive impulses are never far away. I have to keep a watch on them all the time, I really do, or they could still get me.

What was it like to lose everything at the tail-end of the 60s?
It’s never gone away. I lost everything-my child, my lover, my life, my house, and all my money. It was a huge shock. I had to build everything from there. It’s unforgettable, that feeling.
Do you think the way the media presents things is geared towards keeping people at a low level of consciousness?
Yeah , I do, and anybody really clever threatens that. Especially if it is a woman. I was talking to somebody about Polly Jean Harvey. People can hardly cope with her because she is so brilliant, and a girl. They asked me about her and I told them a piece of information that nobody knows, which is that when Ian Stewart (Original member of the Rolling Stones ) died Polly Harvey inherited his record collection: the greatest blues collection in the world. Simple. She couldn’t help but be Polly Harvey. I had Mick and Keith’s record collections to play with. How could it not work? I didn’t know at the time. It’s only as I have gotten older that I’ve realised what a gift I had been given, and learned to really draw on it.

Do you believe in the mythology of the blues?
I believe it . I believe it more and more...
Image Above,
Is Marianne playing Lilith in Kenneth Anger's short film Lucifer Rising.

25 April 2011

Here's looking at you, kid

Firstly, what do you think of this Christina Aguilera image?  Just found it in a folder in my laptop and thought it was perfect.
Anyway , back to the post,
I have been reading Lauren Bacall’s book called By myself and then some and couldn’t wait to post on it. So in envy of her  life so far and her romance with actor Humphrey Bogart. Can you imagine meeting your true love at 19! She was so lucky to meet her match so quickly without even looking far. Throughout the book she shares her personal letters and memories of their relationship and you really get a more rounded view of her and Bogart . Then you read about the sad passing of him and her struggle from then on with a second marriage and her film/stage career. But it isn’t at all doom and gloom she has a great sense of humour and way with words that keep you interested.
Here are some of the words and poems/letters that I really love from the book;
 Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck were great mates ever since they starred together in the film Designing Woman. Throughout different points of her career and life Gregory would send her little notes of encouragement that would surprise and delight her. The one that really stood out to me (enough for me to jot it into my diary) was a pray he recited to her...

‘Dear Lord
I want to thank you , Lord, for being with me so far this day
I haven’t been impatient, lost my temper, been grumpy, judgmental or envious of anyone
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute , and I think I will really need your help then
Amen ’
Bacall and Bogie on the lot during The Big Sleep 1945
To Have and have not  1944 Bacall's first film .Whilst filming, her and Bogie fell in love.
Bogie had a passion for chess and when ever their was a game going on set Bacall would join him by his side were he would often win the game
Bacall explains how she came about ‘The Look’ which she would become known for, it all started on the set of her first film
‘...by the end of the third or fourth take, I realised that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down , chin low, almost to my chest, and eyes up at Bogart. It worked , and turned out to be the beginning of ‘the look’.
At the Premiere of How to marry a Millionaire, alongside Marilyn Monroe ..How stunning does Marilyn look?! I love that dress and her hair.....

...Here Bacall recall’s the moment Monroe met her young son Steve, who Monroe tried to strike up a conversation with..
MM. ‘How old are you?’
Steve: ‘I’m four.’
MM. ‘But you’re so big for four. I would have thought you were two or three’.
Even till this day she inspires people.
Christian Dior spring 2010 was heavily inspired by the Lauren Bacall 'look'
 Bacall and Gregory Peck together in Designing Woman 
Bacall and Bogie on their Wedding Day, 21st May 1945
Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Bacall..Both Sinatra and Judy were frequent visitors to her home.
(DesigningWoman film ) Costume shot
Happy Family: Bogie, their son Steve and Bacall
Bacall and Bogie on his beloved boat 'Santana'

Her reflection on getting older (she is now 86), her children and her career.
‘..The fact that I can still , and do, continue to work keeps me in high spirits and keeps my motor running- though not quite as fast as it used too...
My goal is to stay healthy. So far-I’m hanging in. As I wander through the last twenty years and more, I realise that I’ve lived a long time, but still not long enough to suit me..
Progress had been made on many fronts. I am finally facing my age- the fact of it though I still find it hard to believe. How has it happened so quickly? ....’

Here are some more posts on Lauren Bacall and lots more images, just click on the links below...


If you haven't read her book already I think it’s worth a read even if you haven't heard or watched her movies before...you will want to after reading this book  xx
“She’s a real Joe. You’ll fall in love with her like everybody else”
-Humphrey Bogart 
( Post Title is a Humphrey Bogart Quote)