Just Kids

Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe

I am currently devouring Patti Smith's 2010 autobiography, Just Kids. The poetic narrative is drenched with 1970's New York rock cool, and vivid anecdotes from the art scene. The book is a beautiful and honest portrayal of Smith's relationship with artist Robert Maplethorpe, and the journey she took through art, music, drugs and personalities when she moved to New York in 1967. It is a portrait of the artists before they reached fame; so full of life and colour and experiences; a work of pure poetry.

The world Smith conveys through the novel is so perfectly complete. Life at Hotel Chelsea, the permanent residence of numerous artists and musicians including Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan; nights spent at Max's with the artistic elite and Andy Warhol's factory crowd; living in squalor in order to sweat over love and art. It is a visceral and romantic tale.

The Polaroid in Robert's hands. The physical act, a jerk of the wrist. The snapping sound when pulling the shot and the anticipation, sixty seconds to see what he got. The immediacy of the process suited him.

Patti Smith: Just kids | National Book Award Winner 2010

Through the haze of an old polaroid really knowing somebody: that's what Just Kids reads like.


  1. Yo, Jacob Bo here from St.Just. Spoke to ya mam and she said you did a blog so checking it out. Its arty and cool. Got this book for my birthday a few years ago but can't remember how it goes anymore, maybe I never even read it but sure I did, what a dumbo I is. Any way they say don't judge a book by its cover but this cover is punk. Anyway could add you to my blog list. you could teach me a thing or too on the way I'm sure. hope things are good where you are. j


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