Monday, October 06, 2008


I love a good name-drop, but I love a bad one better.
"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose ... This has always struck me as one of the cleverest lines ever to turn up in a pop lyric. I first heard it one night in December 1968, when Lou Reed took me down to a club in Greenwich Village to hear a new singer called Kris Kristofferson. After we heard the set, we went back to Max's restaurant and I didn't actually meet Kristofferson until nearly three years later, when I came upon him crawling through the dog-flap at Janis Joplin's house, not long after her death, and just before her version of his song Me and Bobby McGee became a huge hit."

Germaine Greer, "Who needs monuments to freedom when you can listen to Me and Bobby McGee instead?", The Guardian, Monday October 6 2008.

It is, as you'll have guessed, the opening salvo for a piece discussing architecture.


Le Mc said...


IZP said...

Bear in mind though even the least obscure Germaine anecdote of the period starts 'I left the photo session for the cover of Oz magazine featuring me and Candy Darling early so I could go and rehearse Nice Time with Jonathan Routh and Kenny Everett. Producer John Birt seemed happy enough, even though my mind was elsewhere writing my Sunday Times and Private Eye columns and planning the next leg of my globe-trotting tour promoting international bestseller The Female Eunuch...'
She had a busy old early 70s, to be fair.
Do you know the Leonard Cohen/Janis Joplin story featuring Kris Kristofferson? I promise Germaine's not in it...

Leonard (for it is he):

'A thousand years ago I lived at this hotel in New York City. I was a frequent rider of the elevator on this hotel. I would continuously leave my room and come back. I was an expert on the buttons of that elevator. One of the few technologies I really ever mastered. The door opened. I walked in. Put my finger right on the button. No hesitation. Great sense of mastery in those days. Late in the morning, early in the evening, I noticed a young woman in that elevator. She was riding it with as much delight as I was. Even though she commanded huge audiences, riding that elevator was the only thing she really knew how to do.
I gathered my courage. I said to her "Are you looking for someone?" She said "Yes, I'm looking for Kris Kristofferson "I said "Little Lady, you're in luck, I am Kris Kristofferson." Those were generous times. Even though she knew that I was somewhat shorter than Kris Kristofferson, she never let on. Great generosity prevailed in those doomed decades. Anyhow I wrote this song for Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel.'

He then sings Chelsea Hotel # 2 and I noisily tell everyone 'See? He isn't gloomy. He has got a sense of humour, see? D'you see?'

They shush me.

0tralala said...

Ha ha! Fab! Do you think that's how Doctor Who ended up getting his coat?

IZP said...

Almost certainly. The question is which past Doctor frequented the Chelsea Hotel at the start of the 1970s.
Disappointingly (because I think 3, 4, 8, and both 9s would have happily both dillied and dallied with Janis), I reckon it was 1 and he was given it because he was cold- probably in the adventure after he got that cloak off Gilbert and Sullivan.
Doctor Who- travelling the cosmos nicking musical idols clothes.
The story after he swipes Paul's shoes just before an Abbey Road photo shoot.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the person Germaine saw crawling through the dog-flap in 1971 was actually the Third Doctor? He may well have ripped his silk-lined cape in the process, thus obliging Janis to lend him an alternative overgarment.

IZP said...

Of courthe! Exthept wait, Jo! There'th thomething wrong- Janith Joplin thould have died in October Nineteen Theventy One. Thomeone'th been tinkerin' with the time lineth! The whole fabric of Rock Hithtory ith in danger of collapthing taking the entirety of Pete Frame'th Rock Family Treeth with it.

IZP said...

Don't you mean October 1970, Doctor?

Thuth Jo, UNIT dating.