One Night With Patti Smith

Edith Bowman spends the night with a legend

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She’s a rock’n’roll legend, a photographer, an icon, a poet, an activist, an actor, a mother, and a woman. 

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On stage she sings, she’s funny, she’s utterly captivating, she spits, she growls, she dances, and she projects pure emotion in every movement and sound. 

Patti Smith played to 3,000 adoring fans in London last week and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

In fact, I’d seen her three nights in a row, firstly taking to the stage with U2 during their finale at the O2 in a rendition of People Have The Power, then on her first night at The Roundhouse to take some pictures from the pit, and finally the following night to sit and enjoy and be blown away by her show, and pretty much everything about her. 

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From the moment she walked on stage - clutching a vinyl copy her 1975 album with THAT iconic shot of her taken by long term collaborator Robert Maplethorpe - her energy, exuberance, and message was exactly what it originally was 40 years previous when she released her debut album Horses.

It’s in her lyrics, her honesty and having the balls to say what many fear to address, politics, loss, frustration even they way she writes about love. 

Even after all this time she still feels like a pioneer to me and that’s quite sad because so many people, so many women, in the music industry have a stage and an opportunity to use that attention and platform for the good of the world and others. 

The youthful spirit of this 68-year-old woman has not lost an ounce of her fiery temperament when discussing important issues in her songs, her poems and just in her chat between songs. 

Her belief is infectious and I wish that more will finally take heed and follow in her footsteps.  

Pictures: Edith Bowman

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