Patti Smith - Charleston Meltdown

Patti Smith’s heroes read like a who’s who of the cool and the sophisticated. Arthur Rimbaud, Joan Baez, William Blake, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Berthold Brecht, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Johnny Carson. Johnny Carson? ‘If I was making my stew, there’s a big chunk of Johnny in there,’ she told The Guardian last year, revealing that it was a close study of Carson that enabled her to keep graceful under the pressure of the hostile audiences she met early on in her career. It’s been quite a career. Her debut was a cover of Hey Joe, by Jimi Hendrix, who she met shortly before his death. Then came the album Horses, seen as being one of the sparks which ignited the punk explosion, though it was much more poetic than anything produced by the Clash or the Pistols. ‘Rock ‘n’ Rimbaud was the idea,’ she has said of her work, which she performed in its entirety at the Meltdown Festival last year. When she released the album Smith had already published two volumes of poetry.

After drifting out of music to ‘go civilian’ in the late seventies (having had a hit with the anthemic Because the Night) Smith re-emerged in the nineties, more bohemian than ever, by now a painter and photographer as well as a singer and poet. In 2003 she became artist in resident at Charleston. Tonight she will perform specially commissioned work reflecting her time in the Farmhouse. It is unlikely she will need to draw on the spirit of Johnny Carson to put down any hecklers. This is one of the cultural highlights of the year. AL

Phew - rock ‘n’ Rimbaud! Patti Smith at the Farmhouse
Charleston Farmhouse
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £22
(t) (01323) 811265
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