11 May 2010

Just Kids

by Patti Smith

Allen and Unwin. Biographical, Adult Non-Fiction. Hardback rrp $39.99

Just Kids is the story of two young people on a collision course to find each other in the depths of Brooklyn in the late 60’s.

Patti Smith wanted to be a poet, artist, and performer. Robert Mapplethorpe wanted to find fame as an artist. The androgynous Smith and the sexually orientated Mapplethorpe were two halves of a pod. Empty shells on their own but once joined together an object that could bring life to others and themselves.

The story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe as two highly successful individuals is well known but Smith’s story of how they met and were part of each other’s push to succeed is something different – unexpectedly sweet and beautiful.

Smith drops famous and some not-so-famous names of actors, singers, writers, poets and muses but her innocence at the time shines through. She was just a kid. To her Jimi Hendrix was simply a man climbing stairs to a party and Janis Joplin a lonely but beautiful woman.

If it wasn’t for Mapplethorpe we may never have heard the wonderful and soulful tunes of Smith. If it wasn’t for Smith we may never have seen what a camera could produce with Mapplethorpe behind the lens. Muses in mirror image. This is a wonderfully heart warming and inspiring story of two highly influential artists of the 70’s and 80’s.

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