Monday, May 26, 2008

Tiny brushes with fame

Plus an excuse to post about Patti Smith again.

I discovered Patti Smith when I was a marginal, deeply isolated, 16 year old. In spite of all those John Hughes movies, not as fun as it sounds. As an aside, I never forgave him for cleaning up Ally Sheedy at the end of "The Breakfast Club." What's the matter with black clothing, questionable personal hygiene, and actual eccentricity? Patti Smith gave me the idea that there was a world out there in which I might fit. (I blame Robert Lowth for that last sentence, btw.)

One day, when I was living in Ann Arbor in 1990, I was standing in line at Zingermans deli wearing a felted green jacket from Uruguay purchased at a yard sale. A woman who looked astonishingly like Patti Smith was standing behind me with a teenage boy. She fingered the jacket and told me how much she liked it. A few months later, she did a show in Ann Arbor--of course, she lived a few miles away and I hadn't recognized her. I should have given her the jacket. It was a bit big on me, would have fit her better. I should have gone to the show, too. But I had no one to go with and was too cowardly to go on my own. Pshaw.

Not Patti Smith, a different brush with fame. Billy Childish (with Smokin' Nurse Julie, or so I am told by the man in my life) playing in Oregon in 2006. You can see me as the blur in the middle, right at the very front, black shirt, necklace, bracelets.

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