Patti Smith must be a divine gift to this world. Deemed by some the "Godmother of Punk" and others the "Punk Poet Laureate," I see her myself as "Goddess Patti." Seriously, after seeing this woman dance, chant, swear, banter, and of course, sing live on stage, I am convinced of her other-worldly nature.
Check out just a few of the reasons why I think Patti is totally a deity sent to us to empower and inspire us into creative action. It's impossible to really communicate the kind of bright light in the world Patti is without sputtering and turning on "Gloria" at top blast, so these are some choice examples of the evidence of her divinity:
1. She's read 200 books in the past year alone.
Yeah, that's definitely goddess-level reading prowess. Patti is insanely well-read and inspires us all to indulge in our solitude a little more. Considering what a public figure she is -- the scope of her work, her legendary reputation -- she reminds us in a crazy fast-paced world to slow down and read. Maybe we'll dip into a little genius like Patti has, who knows!
2. She truly believes in the strength of the people's power.
Patti sees the people of the world as a force for the good. As heard in her anthem from 1988, "People Have the Power," she's a true believer in us mere mortals. Honestly, after seeing her tell a crowd of thousands to vote and take action for the change we want to see, I can say with confidence that she's snapped at least a dozen people out of the plaguing, deep 21st-century cynicism.
Here's a video of "People Have the Power" to get you fired up:
3. She's super tight with top religious figures in the world.
Yep, that's Patti chatting with Pope Francis alright! She's been invited to play at the Vatican not once, but twice. Most recently, she rocked the Pope's annual Christmas event! In the past, she's also spoken very highly of the Pope and the Dalai Lama for their interest in Mother Nature (I'm starting to suspect Patti and her are related).
Speaking of the Dalai Lama, did you know Patti sang "Happy Birthday" to him on his 80th birthday in Glastonbury? No? Well, she did, and they're holding hands through it all. And yes, I did tear up watching this. Cry with me now, BUSTies:
4. Her words are hypnotic.
Just Kids won the National Book Award in 2010, M Train has received more smashing reviews -- the woman's memoir work is brilliant. It's rare that a writer, let alone a musician/poet/activist/punk/writer can continually produce this kind of autobiographical work that stuns audiences with its charm.
If you haven't read either book, or even if you have, check out Patti reading some of Just Kids to a crowd. Her voice is magic, plus, in this video there's some bonus banter for y'all:
5. She has maintained her bad ass spirit for decades -- I don't think it's possible for her to not be cool.
This woman just exudes cool, on and offstage. She's not one of those ~rockstars~ with a dated personality -- I think you know what I'm talking about. When I think about Roger Daltrey of The Who, to be honest, I think of him circa 1974 or so. When I think of Patti, I imagine a mosaic of different women: the young Patti in Just Kids, the Patti of the late '80s, the confident and beautiful 69-year-old I saw perform a couple nights ago.
Need more evidence of how she "keeps up with the times?" Look no further than her covers of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Rihanna's "Stay:"
6. Every live show is like a punk sermon.
There's only one way to convince you of this one, so see for yourself and start setting up your Patti altar -- fast:
7. She is defiant against ageism.
Patti has endured but somehow eluded the double standard for male and female rock stars, which declares the former to be "legends" as they grow older (have you seen the Stones lately? Rocking spandex at 72 and still accepted by the world) while the latter fade into the background. Women are so often told that eventually they will be "too old" to display their creative feats in the public eye, either that or they'll get funneled into the "aged" celebrity category.
Not Patti! Oh my goddess, she shreds and she refuses to be contained. I saw her rip off a Fender's strings and whip them down to the stage, all in the midst of a fierce cover of The Who's "My Generation." Note the lyrical changes she employs here, switching "I hope I die before I get old" to "I hope I live 'til I get old," not to mention her screaming, "and I'm gonna keep on living!"
8. She has endless creative energy.
Bless this woman for all the work she has given this world, just wow. Poetry, performance art, music, prose, general excellence in all forms -- how has she not run out of steam? I swear she's gotta be a demi-goddess at the very least.
When asked if she ever gets irritated or disillusioned by the world, Patti responded: "Well, I get irritated with the world. I get irritated with politicians, I get very irritated with governments and with corporations, but in terms of imagination — my imagination is always fertile. I’m either thinking of my own things, or constantly engaged by the things that other people do... So, I have to say that I'm never bored. I might sometimes feel discouraged or frustrated, but never bored."
9. She knows that working with a team produces timeless work.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, there have been so many rock collaborations over the years, but are they anything like Patti's? Take Bruce Springsteen and her work on "Because the Night" -- it's her biggest hit. She killed it, y'all. "People Have the Power," a blend of '80s anthem and call to action, is a song written by both her and her late husband, Fred Sonic Smith (of MC5).
Also, isn't she ethereal in her vest and overcoat? Let's get to that right now.
10. No one rocks menswear quite like her.
Finally, from the legendary cover of Horses to her average stage get-up, look at these images of this freakin' goddess.
There's your proof, BUSTies. All hail Patti.
Images via Twitter, Pinterest.
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Let's talk about queerness, comics, and shutting down systems of oppression. Carbs enthusiast with a lot to say about living femme in this world and staying positive. Contributor to the zine Clitorally and founder of Static zine. Catch me looking for dogs to pet around town.