Legendary and iconic musician Patti Smith tells the New Statesmen in a recent profile that, “I’m an American artist and I feel guilty about everything.”
Smith is talking about how she feels under the Trump Administration.
“He was pitching Trump Towers then. And just seeing him evolve, and everything he touches turns to shit. I never in my wildest dreams imagined this man would be president of the United States – someone that I thought was reprehensible since I was in my twenties. He is the most horrible example of anything that could have come out of my generation. Born in the same year – and I have to look at this person, and I think: all our hopes and dreams from childhood, to going through the Sixties, everything we went through – and that’s what came out of our generation.
The subplot of Year of the Monkey is the tale of repeatedly visiting, and worrying for, a friend – Sandy Pearlman, once producer for the Clash – who lies in a coma. But despite all the hospital trips and the anxiety, Smith also keeps her phone off for hours at time, or allows it to run out of battery, or leaves it on the tour bus overnight. In one passage, she returns to her hotel and makes a point of sitting down to call everyone she knows in one go, to reassure them she is not lying in a ditch. She recalls now, “I thought – I made it such a big thing in my mind – all right, I’m going to go back to the hotel. I’m going to pay for the calls – because it costs extra when you use the hotel phone. I’m going to call my children, I’m going to call my lawyer. And nobody was home!”