Time to crack open the Football Special. Word has reached me here at the dungeon that the original punk angel herself, Patti Smith, will play Kilmainham in Dublin this June. Not only that, it’ll be a run through of her enduring debut album, Horses.
Remember those spooky pictures of J.C. and his Sacred Heart appearing as a flickering red torch shoved under his chin like he was regaling the apostles with some top ghost stories? A relic from a time when it was essential armour of any self-respecting household defending itself from someone looking in or looking down doubting its inhabitants were anything but good stock. Well, we didn’t have one, so I would see how far the gaze from a singer on an album cover could follow me round the room instead. Album covers adorned with secular Gods presiding over standards of household rebelliousness and cultural credibility.
One such cover that made a lasting impression was
Cliff Richard this slender framed dame with her vest on inside out. One has to join the rebellion somewhere. And she probably went out without a coat. By the way, wearing your Father’s suit to demonstrably prove your devotion to Talking Heads doesn’t make you rebellious. It makes you a plonker. And I should know. But I digress.
She should have some good luck for that, with any luck.
So, it was Patti Smith Group’s Easter LP that paved the way towards impenetrable poetry I pretended to understand and an introduction to celebrated androgyny and all its corresponding mysteries I hadn’t the vocabulary to share but intuited somehow. Much like the way I used to well-up to the litany of Phil Collins’s weepy routines without ever having had my heart tampered with In Real Life by then. These mysteries orbit the instincts from the time you’re a nipper.
As for Horses, the cover will never look the same after reading her memoir Just Kids, which illuminated the corners of her inspiration, her daily life during those early heady days of misadventure, and the origins of the iconic imagery that went disc-in-sleeve with the goods.
The prospect of hearing the revered heavy weights (Gloria, Land, the title track) is not without tantalising tingles; but I expect to have all hairs standing to attention by the time the quiet piano notes open the lid on track four.
Free Money: from soft vocal wishing what could only be, to pulsating punk whoops of declarations of what would be if her lottery ticket came in; all while giving a downpour of drums a run for their money in three glorious minutes and fifty-two seconds. Take it away there, Patti..