Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'd Like to Try and Read Your Palm - I Always Fall for the Tragic Ones

How can you not just adore Edith Minturn Sedgwick? That smile, those eyes, those dimples, those legs? She was the most beautiful women in her Warholian era. I personally think Nico is much more beautiful, but Edie is much more special than Nico. Nico is definitely a hero of mine, Edie isn't, but Edie had something that Nico doesn't. Maybe it was Edie's sweetness. Edie, at least in pictures, always seemed sweet and kind, even if she was stoned and passed out in a toilet. Nico seemed otherworldly, Edie was obtainable. Nico was immaculate, Teutonic, tall, sexy. Edie was cute, girlish, and all-American. I think it was the all-American quality of Edie, along with the fact that she was a total free spirit, that I fell for her.

I first laid eyes on her at around seven years old. My mother had this biography of her and I used to love looking at those Life Magazine pictures in it. She seemed so pretty and perfect. I was so naive and didn't know anything about her. I didn't know the drugs she took, I didn't know the movies she made, I didn't know about Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground, Betsey Johnson, or anything about that speed-fueled time in New York City. All I knew was that her name was Edie, she wore black tights, and she was beautiful.

My mom just let me gaze at those pictures without destroying my little dreams of what she was like. She wouldn't tell me that she was a drug addict, that she was tragic, or, worst of all, that she was dead since 1971. I had to figure that out all by myself.

I soon forgot about Edie and her black tights and big eyes. I became focused around the Beatles, leaving New York City and the wonders it possessed behind. My mind moved to London, so I can be free to think about Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Then, one day when I was eleven, I found an old album at an old record store. I was the Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico. I was reintroduced four years almost to the day to Andy Warhol and his superstars. I decided to look the Velvets up on the interwebs and I found my Edie once again. I read about her and realized how tragic she truly was, but that tragic, fragile quality made me more intrigued. I soon read more and more about her until my opinion on her, Andy Warhol, Nico, and the Velvets were completely formed:
A) Andy = Awesome
B) Nico = The most beautiful woman that has ever lived
C) The Velvet Underground = Perfection, the most influential rock group of all time.
D) Edie = The saddest, prettiest thing to ever roam the Earth. Yet, I still admired her greatly.

Over the years, Edie became a fashion icon in my world. I started to wear opaque black tights everyday as part of my school uniform. I chopped off all my hair at thirteen, I started to do my make-up like her months after that. I even started to dance like her. I have ten pairs of big Edie earrings now because of her. I wear leotards because of her, I wear leopord print faux furs because of her. She, much like Nico, John Cale, Andy Warhol, and the rest of the Factory crowd has molded my style in the most positive, maybe a tad more outrageous way.

I sometimes wonder if Edie would ever be old. That, much like Kurt Cobain, maybe she just had the personality that couldn't grow up, that was just destined to die young at an epitaph. Maybe Edie would've had gorgeous, perfect childeren, maybe the world would've been a happier, more joyful place had she lived. You never know. Maybe everything would be different if all of the Factory people weren't so tragic, if they all lived?

"I don't know how she did it. Fire
She was shaking all over. It took
her hours to put her make-up on.
But she did it. Even the false eye-lashes.
She ordered gin with triple
limes. the a limousine. Everyone
knew she was the real heroine of
Blonde on Blonde.
oh it isn't fair
oh it isn't fair
how her ermine hair
turned men around
she was white one white
so blonde on blonde
and her long long legs
how I used to beg
to dance with her
but I never had
a chance with her
oh it isn't fair
how her ermine hair
used to swing so nice
used to cut the air
how all the men
used to dance with her
I never got a chance with her
though I really asked her
down deep
where you do
really dream
in the mind
reading love
I'd get
her move
and we'd
turn around
and she'd
turn around
and turn the head
of everyone in town
her shaking shaking
glittering bones
second blonde child
after Brian Jones
oh it isn't fair
how I dreamed of her
and she slept
and she slept
and I'll never dance
with her no never
she broke down
like a baby
like a baby girl
like a lady
with ermine hair
oh it isn't fair
and I'd like to see
her rise again
her white white bones
with baby Brian Jones
baby Brian Jones
like blushing
baby dolls"
--Patti Smith's poem "Edie Sedgwick (1943-1971)" from the book Seventh Heaven

1 comment:

Hey, comment please!
I enjoy praise, everyone does.
So comment. Or else. :]