"Learn to say the same thing / Let us hold fast to saying the same thing
Hope all is well with you / I wish the best for you
Never give up/No never give up"
Patti Smith, in an interview with Aida Edemariam in the Guardian last Saturday, said: "If somebody said I'll give you a million dollars, but you have to go against your own grain, you just have to do what I say – it would take me one second. I've never been tortured by something like that. Tormented more about what line to use in a poem, or the right word to use in a sentence. All I've ever wanted, since I was a child, was to do something wonderful."
Edemariam continues: "This is, in part, what gives her her singular presence. Her appearance, of course – the strong, masculine face and honey hair, all crags and straw, the dark toque and oversize coat somewhat incongruous in a boutique hotel in central Paris – but more her sense of wonder, her openness to the possibility of wonder in herself and others. It underlines in her an unexpected warmth and delicacy. The openness has always been a kind of survival strategy too: for all its fierceness – and after she recorded her debut album, Horses, in 1975 and found herself on the path to being a rock star, defiance – her career has been one of reverences, of chasing and collecting icons and relics and friends from whom she could learn the things she needed to proceed. It's a pleasingly unironic predeliction: 'I'm not an ironic person,' she once said. 'I'm not always articulate, and sometimes I'm just crap, but I'm never ironic.'"
I met Hannah Barry yesterday, and was taken aback by her warmth and generosity. Spending endless time with artworks and artists, and helping, are absolutely central to what she does. That was quite a beautiful discovery.