The Tim Buckley Archives


Just Kids

Early days in New York City

by Patti Smith

For my 21st birthday, Robert made me a tambourine, tattooing the goat skin with astrological signs and tying multi-colored ribbons to its base.

He put on Tim Buckley’ singing Phantasmagoria in Two, then he knelt down and handed me a book that he had rebound in black silk. Inside he had inscribed a few lines of poetry, portraying us as the gypsy and the fool;, one creating silence, one listening closely to the silence. In the clanging swirl of our lives, these roles would reverse many times.

In the beginning of March, Robert got a temp job as an usher for the newly-opened Fillmore East. He reported for duty in an orange jumpsuit. He was looking forward to seeing Tim Buckley. But when he camer home he was more excited by someone else. “I saw someone who is going to be really big” he said. It was Janis Joplin.

© 2010 Patti Smith

Just Kids, a new book from poet and singer Patti Smith, is an accounting of her early years in New York and her five-year relationship with artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Mapplethorpe - who shot the cover picture on Smith’s iconic debut album Horses - would move on to become one of New York’s most celebrated photographers.

Before his 1989 death from an AIDS-related illness, he would later find notoriety as his work became more provocative in his depicture of the homosexual lifestyle.

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