Emerging from the darkness, full of energy and commitment, Patti Smith at the Latitude Festival at Henham, near Halesworth in Suffolk, July 2006. On December the 30th this year she will be sixty years old. In the history of popular music, she is a maverick, there's no one else like her. Perhaps only Tom Waits and Morrissey are such singular voices.
I bought 'Horses' when I was fifteen - she's been a part of my personal history for nearly thirty years. I only got to see her for the first time last year at the Meltdown festival in London, and so it was wonderful to see her a second time on my own doorstep, so to speak. Patti revealed during her performance that her ancestors on her mother's side had come from Larling and East Harling, just over the Norfolk border from where the festival was taking place. She got quite emotional about this.
Oddly, the festival was advertised as being at 'Southwold' - we were much closer to the larger town of Halesworth. Perhaps the organisers thought Southwold was sexier. The security was pretty dreadful - I've not had that many people younger than me be so rude to me in a very long time - but the festival itself was very impressive.