apologies to ms patti smith

dear ms smith,

i know that you probably don’t have expectations when you walk into a room – it seems that you take each moment on face value, but i wouldn’t be surprised if you left the post-doco Q&A wondering what godforsaken country den you had walked into. and i would like to apologise for us.

i’m sure in every Q&A session, there’s someone gushing, quivering ‘oh, i’m your greatest fan, thank you so much!’, but i want to apologise for our lack of stoicism.

i’m sure you’ve been asked much more offensive questions about your appearance and your gender, but i want to apologise for words like androgony, mess and ‘interesting’. perhaps what we wanted to know was about the role of appearance in your art and music. you’ve managed to glide through all manner of ‘fashions’ and ‘trends’ by sidestepping them.

i’d like to apologise for our lack of ability to think before we speak, when we ask for song requests at an evening about a documentary made by an artist, with another artist. although i loved the live performance of blakean year.

i’m sure you’ve met many more self-serving directors, but i’d like to apologise for our waffling, aimless and self-seeking artistic director. she’s done a great job on the festival so far, but we really should have had a better MC – one with a little more control over the audience and a little less control over her own mike.

and i’m sure you’ve been part of worse-organised festivals, but i want to apologise for someone not letting you know that in 2 days’ time you’ll be playing in front of about 800 people, for two nights in a row, in an amazing concert hall with fantastic accoustics.

i’m sure you won’t be able to answer this question, but i also wanted to ask both you and steven something. a lot of artists are multi-disciplinary, but quite often they run one after the other, or there are gaps in between: you paint when you’re not writing and you write when you’re having a break from lugging a camera around, or you take photos when you’re not editing. but what’s it like to be on for all aspects of your creative practice while you’re here: writer, poet, singer, painter, photographer and muse? can they exist simultaneously, or is space-between a pre-requisite of multi-disciplinary practice?

kind regards,


thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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