Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Amanda Palmer's open letter to Robert Smith

Since hearing Girl Anachronism on some late night MTV2 show about a year ago I became a fan of The Dresden Dolls and subsequently Amanda Palmer. And since my discovery of Amanda's blog, I'm increasingly convinced that she's a wonderfully original voice in modern music.

Latest case in pint: This brilliant and impassioned open letter to Robert Smith. Palmer's a big fan, and suffered from just the same loss of faith with the Cure I did a few years ago. We're both pretty much back in the fold now. But reading her words brought it all back to me; the manic adoration, the hunt for information in that pre-Internet time, the T-shirts, the obsessive copying of the logo and applying the writing to every schoolbook, the posters, and the music - more than anything else - the music that filled my life.

And Amanda gets it - you can tell:

On seeing them for the first time, Disintegration tour:

When that music crashed into place (and what a perfect choice, that one, a perfect set opener, and perfect album opener….and god, just a perfect song: the huge major-chord crash of joyfully celebration with lyrics as dark-light, lush and vast and deep and bittersweet as love itself), when that first giant synthesizer belted it’s long, jagged and beautiful wave forms into my ears and meshed with the smash of cymbals and dazzling of lights….in that moment, my heart exploded. I now knew something I didn’t know before. I’ve never forgotten that moment.

Or this, a conversation at a gig;

“WHAT ALBUM IS THIS SONG FROM?” I shouted. “THIS IS FROM 4:13 DREAM” he shouted back. “IS THAT ABOUT TO COME OUT?” I shout-asked. “NO,” he shouted “IT CAME OUT, LIKE, SIX MONTHS AGO.”

And it was then that I realized, without a doubt. It hit me and it hurt.
I abandoned you. I was a Bad Fan.
Along with so much of the other music I listened to, I wandered out of the Church of Fandom in my early twenties and by the time I was in my mid-twenties The Dresden Dolls were in full touring mode. I was spending most of my waking life on the phone or on the computer, trying to make sense of this weird fucking life that I’d so wanted and I was so grateful to have - but at the same time, it destroyed something I cherished, which was the ability to hang out and absorb music, to live IN it.
I wasn’t a fan anymore. I couldn’t be. I was too busy working.

And that's something I share with her. Losing my way, forgetting that The Cure wasn't a band that stopped a few years ago. The new album still doesn't work for me. But I said that about Wild Mood Swings, said it about Bloodflowers, said it about 2004's "The Cure". But one by one, they've found their way into my heart and my head.

"The Cure" finally worked for me just a few weeks ago when I found myself in just the right mood for it, and the lyrics percolated through my head and I was singing through the emotional tears, convinced with all certainty that Robert Smith was writing about my life, knew what I was thinking and was singing to me, about me - just like he always had.

It was a wonderful, emotional and shattering moment and proof that I shouldn't have let myself forget, should have trusted, should have kept the faith. But I didn't. I was wrong. I know that now. But I won't let it happen again and neither will Amanda.

And if you aren't doing so already, go and read Amanda's blog, start with the Robert Smith letter and then look at this and this and just keep going...... And then go off and get yourself copies of Who Killed Amanda Palmer. You'll love it.


  1. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Amanda Palmer is a complete idiot and a crap musician while Robert Smith is a genius and a brilliant musician. Who cares what Amanda Palmer thinks about anything.

  2. Oh, lovely comment.
    Well, obviously I care what she thinks, especially when she so brilliantly sums up my own feelings towards the Cure and Robert Smith like that.

    Always nice to hear from Anonymous though. Thanks for the insight.