Hamish McKenzie talks to Patti Smith about her life of writing, her long friendships, and cancel culture
Thank you for the support Hamish. I would love to do part 2 in California!
How about "She is 76 AND still rocking hard" instead of "BUT."
Even though I'm her age, I know nearly nothing about Patti Smith. I find her observations to be downright refreshing. She has a balance to her observations that seems to have very nearly disappeared from modern "discourse".
Hamish, this is a surprising and quite wonderful conversation......Patti Smith's TWITTER remark kills me:
“This is like writing haiku poetry.” I tried it once or twice and I said, I can’t do this. I just can’t do it. I don’t want to talk to people with 18 words. And also, I don’t want them talking to me. So I never did that.
It’s enriching looking at life from the perspective of someone who was at the heart of the biggest cultural revolution of our modern world. She reached everything young people aspire to in 2023: making a meaningful contribution to the world, creating relevant art, pushing the boundaries, fame, exposure etc. But it feels like it was done in a different spirit. Not for the sake of fame, money, exposure. But for the joy of creating, contributing, adding value. I agree about Twitter and I’m 35 years younger.
Love her and this homage to her work and her kind soul.
Hamish - hands down, my favorite interview that you've done! I was born in '53, so I should know Patti's music better, but I don't. The greatest compliment I can give a person is to say they seem authentic, and that was my takeaway about Patti Smith. So many gems here - I especially loved hearing her talk about her writing and life in general. She has the soul of an artist, to say the least. and has earned the title of a wise woman.
So many amazing quotes in this interview. I’ve loved Patti Smith forever and relate so hard to her take on writing and art 💕 thank you for this!
Patti Smith was both the first rock concert I ever attended (1976, back when I was in high school) and is also the most recent (May 2022). I feel really fortunate to have grown up with a cultural icon that I’ve been able to connect with emotionally and intellectually, learn and be inspired by my whole life. “Just Kids” is a fantastic book, too.
Thank you for this interview. I really like the fact that you got her to talk about such contemporary issues as the impact of social media on art and culture. That said, I will also venture a critique of Patti. I think she is too much into the 1960s-era “everything meaningful in art has to be new and come from the next generation.” There’s a place for that, but there’s also a place for preserving traditions and transmitting cultural knowledge across generations.
Rather oddly for a rock star, Patti Smith did that for me in my youth. Her enthusiasm for Blake, Rimbaud, Ginsbergh,etc. motivated me to check out their work, which I wouldn’t have done at such a young age otherwise. Through doing that, I felt a connection across the generations of artistic work, knowledge, and expression.
It would be nice if Patti could understand herself in this sort of more conservative way as well. Because she is really about respecting and conserving the work of artists, writers, and poets from generations past, and always has been. It makes her own work that much more rich and inspiring. And now she’s part of our cultural legacy, too.
Now that’s a philosophy of life I really relate to.
hooray i woke from yesterday
just precious !
Something about hearing Patti Smith’s voice takes me to my Midwestern roots and ties it to my dreams of making a break in NYC. It’s all right there in time and space, maybe once or never. And then another continent chimes in with your accent, Hamish. Loving your posts.
reverence for the past, patience and acceptance of the present, hopeful and trusting of the future, whatever it may be. A true one, Patti.
We need more active voices and active doers like Ms. Smith....Rock on, Patti! Rock on!
Agree with her thoughts on cancel culture. We need to slow down, think, talk intergenerationaly, and be accepting of ALL points of view, not just the woke ones. I write a lot about cultural matters at my Substack: https://open.substack.com/pub/jrichardson?r=1oao9o&utm_medium=ios
Patti is the best Xx