I think that I probably heard about Patti Smith around a year before she released here debut LP – Horses. It wasn’t long after that point that I saw her in concert at the Ford Auditorium in Detroit. It inspired me to track down a copy of her limited run single which was released some time before – Hey Joe / Piss Factory (Mer Records, 1,500 copies) – which also featured Television guitarist Tom Verlaine. I also bought her poetry books like Babel.
Her last book – Just Kids – was about her life with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (who photographed Patti for the cover of Horses). M Train is a different animal to that tome.
In her latest book, Patti relates stories from various moments in her life. She jumps around from event to event not taking any chronological approach. During the course of the many chapters, Mapplethorpe does not get a single mention… although Gumby does (really!).
Here, Patti talks about hanging around her favourite haunt – Cafe Ino – where she ponders life and jots down notes. During the course of the book, she travels around the globe both on her own and with others including her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith (of MC5 fame). She talks of her life with Fred in Detroit and her travels with him.
Much of the time, Patti is fascinated with the lives and deaths of numerous writers. This brings her on journeys around the world including Japan.
She also speaks of being involved with a rather secret society called the Continental Drift Club. It seems to be fine to reveal its secret nature since it is now defunct.
She talks about finding and purchasing a rather dilapidated property on Rockaway Beach. This event turns out to be rather bittersweet since it was one of the few properties in the area to survive a strike by Hurricane Sandy.
Patti relates all of her stories in a breezy manner which draws the reader into her often fascinating life adventures. Another excellent read, indeed.