Patti Smith


Just to say anyone wishing to be inspired creatively then give Patti Smith's 'Just Kids' book a go. I loved it – takes you to New York in the late 60's and through the 70s. Warhol – the lot. My first ever trip to NYC (first gig too) I went straight in the taxi from the airport to the venue she started in, CBGB's. They were closing for the night but let me in to breathe the night's smoke and stick my feet to the carpet. Still remember the feeling I got there looking at the little stage that had first held Talking Heads, Television, Blondie etc.   

The book centres on her relationship with the eventual photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. I went to an exhibition of his work a few years ago in London and she turned up, the Queen of black. The legendary picture he took of her debut album 'Horses' was on display along with many that hadn't been seen before. Wish I knew then what I know now about her, and him. 

The section in the book when she talks about playing a gig early on (but it was a buzzy room as things were starting to happen for her band), and suddenly feeling a different presence in the room – only to see Bob Dylan had entered – put a shiver up my back. He was her hero at the time. 

From Patti Smith to……Frank Sidebottom. RIP. Shame he passed away. 2 years ago I was doing a TV show in Manchester and he came up with his massive head and played me my track '5 More Minutes' on his signature toy keyboard. Then came 'The Final Arrears'. He let us tap his paper mache skull. It should be an interesting shaped coffin… He made us all laugh that day.