Patti Smith Inducts Lou Reed Into Hall of Fame

The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in and of itself doesn’t make any sense to me, but I am a Patti Smith fan and an even bigger Lou Reed fan, so I thought I would post a transcript of her speech inducting Reed (I found the transcript over at Rolling Stone):

Hello everybody. On October 27th, 2013, I was at Rockaway Beach, and I got the message that Lou Reed had passed. It was a solitary moment. I was by myself, and I thought of him by the ocean, and I got on the subway back to New York City. It was a 55-minute ride, and in that 55 minutes, when I returned to New York City, it was as if the whole city had transformed. People were crying on the streets. I could hear Lou’s voice coming from every café. Everyone was playing his music. Everyone was walking around dumbfounded. Strangers came up to me and hugged me. The boy who made me coffee was crying. It was the whole city. It was more [Pauses] Sorry. I realized, at that moment, that I had forgotten, when I was on the subway, that he was not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City.

I made my first eye contact with Lou dancing to the Velvet Underground when they were playing upstairs at Max’s Kansas City in the summer of 1970. The Velvet Underground were great to dance to because they had this sort of transformative, like a surf beat. Like a dissonant surf beat. They were just fantastic to dance to. And then somewhere along the line, Lou and I became friends. It was a complex friendship, sometimes antagonistic and sometimes sweet. Lou would sometimes emerge from the shadows at CBGBs. If I did something good, he would praise me. If I made a false move, he would break it down.

One night, when we were touring, separately, we wound up in the same hotel, and I got a call from him, and he asked me to come to his room. He sounded a little dark, so I was a little nervous. But I went up, and the door was open, and I found him in the bathtub dressed in black. So I sat on the toilet and listened to him talk. It seemed like he talked for hours, and he talked about, well, all kinds of things. He spoke compassionately about the struggles of those who fall between genders. He spoke of pre-CBS Fender amplifiers and political corruption. But most of all, he talked about poetry. He recited the great poets — Rupert Brooke, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara. He spoke of the poets’ loneliness and of the poets’ dedication to the highest muses. When he fell into silence, I said, “Please, take care of yourself, so the world can have you as long as it can.” And Lou actually smiled.

Everything that Lou taught me, I remember. He was a humanist, heralding and raising the downtrodden. His subjects were his royalty that he crowned in lyrics without judgment or irony. He gave us, beyond the Velvet Underground, Transformer and “Walk on the Wild Side,” Berlin, meditations to New York, homages to Poe and his mentor Andy Warhol and Magic and Loss. 

His consciousness infiltrated and illuminated our cultural voice. Lou was a poet, able to fold his poetry within his music in the most poignant and plainspoken manner. Oh, such a perfect day. Sorry. [Crying] Such a perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you. You made me forget myself. I thought I was someone else. Someone good. You were good, Lou. You are good.

True poets must often stand alone. As a poet, he must be counted as a solitary artist. And so, Lou, thank you for brutally and benevolently injecting your poetry into music. And for this, we welcome you, Lou Reed, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami

 

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Two of the best living novelists have new books out.  David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami are both novelists that are able to entertain and deal in serious themes of the human condition.  

Here is an excellent review of Mitchell’s new novel The Bone Clocks in The Atlantic:  

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/review-david-mitchells-bone-clocks-the-cloud-atlas-authors-meta-masterpiece/379445/

Here is a review of Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by rock n roll legend Patti Smith:

I intend to read both of these novels.  I highly recommend Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, please god don’t see the movie, although all of his works are worth checking out.  My favorite Murakami books are The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Kafka On the Shore, although again almost all of his work is excellent.  

Quote

Amerigo

We were going to see the world
In this land
We placed Baptismal fonts
And an infinite number were baptized
And they called us “Carabi”
Which means “Men of Great Wisdom”

Where are you going,
And are you going anywhere?
Where are you going
Send me a letter, if you go at all

Ahh, the salvation of souls,
But wisdom we had not
For these people had neither King nor Lord
And bowed to no one
And they had lived in their own liberty

Where are you going,
And are you going anywhere?
Going in circles
Going in circles, anywhere

I saw the new
The inconstant shifting of fortune
And now I write to you
Words that have not been written
Words from the New World

Tracing the circles
Moving across my eyes
Lying on a ship
And gazing at the western skies
Tracing lazy circles in the sky

Hey!

Wake Up!
Wake Up!

Where are you going,
And are you going anywhere?
Where are you going
Send me a letter, if you go at all

It’s such a delight
To watch them dance
Be it sacrifice or romance
Free of all the things that we hold dear
Is that clear, Your Excellency?

And I guess it’s time to go but
I gotta send you just a few more lines
From the New World

Tracing the circles
Moving across my eyes
Lying on a ship
And gazing at the western skies
Tracing lazy circles in the sky

Tracing lazy circles in the sky
Tracing lazy circles

And the sky opened
And we laid down our armor
And we danced
Naked as they
Baptized in the rain
Of the New World

Amerigo by Patti Smith, from her album Banga.  I won’t be the first one that said they admired Patti’s words.  Throughout her whole career she has been fearless in her search new forms of expression through lyric and music.

The New World

The headline over at Huffington Post a moment ago was that 58% of people wanted legalized weed.  Hell, maybe those religious loons are right, the Apocalypse is coming!  In a week that saw at least the temporary meltdown of the right, their absolute whipping over the government shutdown debacle, Chris Christie dropping his anti-gay marriage case, and now a majority of Americans supporting weed, is this week to good to be true?  Whenever the news seems this good, I start waiting for a boomerang of black magic.  Call me a cynic, but surely the world will explode next week.  Not because the crazies are right, that God will punish us for such insolence, but we can’t really be that lucky can we?

Maybe the world really is slowly moving towards a more tolerant sensible place.  Maybe the right wing going batshit crazy really is just the death throws of an old and out of touch order.  The changing of the guard in America is never pretty.  We have too many fictitious myths that we cling to.

I definitely don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.  Declaring one’s intentions is a good way to make God laugh.  But if the universe doesn’t explode next week, and things continue to go in a positive direction, I’m on board.  I’m ready for the new world.  There are still major problems that need sorting out.  The gap between the rich and the poor is still widening.  The environmental outlook is bleak.  There are still wars going on.  But for the first time in a long time I feel a small sense of hope.

And the sky opened
And we laid down our armor
And we danced
Naked as they
Baptized in the rain
Of the New World

– Patti Smith