Jim Morrison Poet or Prat? Nov 5, 2006 14:24:31 GMT
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Nov 5, 2006 14:24:31 GMT
[glow=red,2,300]Jim Morrison Poet or Prat? by Alex Patton [/glow]
Been a fan of this guy for a while now and for a good percentage of that time this is a question that has been cropping up in discussion with rock fans Doors aficionados or not.
I bought a copy of The Lords & The New Creatures in about the Autumn of 1971 and sat and read it over a week or so to be totally honest I found it to be a complete load of old toss and never looked at it for several years. Now I did enjoy the only known poetry moment that was available to us Doors fans, Celebration of The Lizard, that was brought to us via the Absolutely Live album but Jims written word was pretty dull to my 15/16 year old eyes..
Now I was indeed an avid reader and have been since I could toddle but never been much into poetry so that probably did not help my appreciation of Jim The Poet as opposed to Jim The Rock God who was doing pretty poor business here in the UK against our home bred heroes.
Usually dismissed, as a phoney and a pretentious prat by the average rock fan it was with that background I grew up and as I learned more about Jim the Door I became less interested in Jim The Poet just liked The Rock God bit.
Then a bootleg LP called Rock Is dead appeared and changed that view slightly.
A 20-minute segment from what would become The Lost Paris Tapes of Jim reading his 1969 poetry without The Doors sorta really impressed me. I read the poetry book again but was still left cold by the two dimensional words it lacked the breadth that the voice of the author gave it so was once again consigned to the back reaches of my record cabinet
Even when the LP American prayer appeared the debate of Morrison Poet or Prat hardly set the pub alight there was more interest in the ever tightening spandex trousers Phil Mogg from UFO was wearing or was it possible for our local hero David Coverdale to make a bigger dick of himself as the new Ian Gillan.
A poetry album was viewed with complete disdain by the rockers I hung with I must admit I was quite taken with it and to this day still think The Doors did a good job but it was not as good as the 20 minutes of spoken poetry I had.
So did I rate Jim much as a poet in the 70s?
I thought it was fascinating that the guy had the balls to do this but was hardly bowled over by the content
The 80s and the 90s were pretty much of that same opinion. the Doors Movie came and went, two interesting new poetry books arrived courtesy of Frank Lisciandro and were cool to own but hardly contained anything I was planning to use as a tattoo..
Poetry had never interested me at all..
Poets in rock were cool Bob Calvert with Hawkwind or Pete Sinfield with ELP/King Crimson and of course Jims neat bits of poetry within The Doors ..cool but written stuff …….no thanks.
Then I discovered the Internet and all you nice people who like me were into The Doors rather a bit. I had never been part of a group that were into The Doors before so this was a bit better than simply cool.
I began a daft Doors fanzine, which I dedicated to my cat Scorpion and called TheDoors4Scorpywag and started to write about and discuss this band in as much depth as I could. Sharing what I knew and learning a shit-load as I went along about this strange phenomenon Jim The Poet.
Seemed to be so many people into this angle, which for 30 years I had pretty much avoided.
Of course I knew Jim wanted to be considered a poet and over the years had learned a lot more about him and The Doors than I had known in the late 60s early seventies but I was still not convinced of the Poet. I certainly argued against the Prat but was Jim a Poet?
Not at all convinced.
Then I began what would be Scorpywags finest issue………. a 30 year tribute to the fallen singer in 2001.
As part of this I wanted to explore the Poet a bit and asked folks to send me their views on Jim The Poet along with fave poetry. I got quite a bit to contemplate over and as I pondered the Poet aspect I began to read the poetry with the new insight I now had thanks to poetry minded individuals who had shared their thoughts for my fanzine.
I wanted to present the poems as they were in the books so went back to my 30 year old copy of Lords & New Creatures and had a sort of revelation.
Whoa this shit is a bit deeper than I thought now the two-dimensional pages of the books took on a new life.
Now I am not saying that I ran naked threw the streets of Thornaby screaming Eureka but I realised that maybe the Poet in this guy was not quite as superficial as I thought.
Some of this stuff was really profound. OK some of it was juvenile bollocks but some was really good.
I perused all three books and found some really wonderful bits of what I guess could only be described as Poetry……. as well as some really mesmerising anecdotes some of which were relevant to the new century as sure as they were relevant to the 60s when they were written.
Since 2001 I have read a lot of Morrison Poetry both in books and on the Net…….I am lucky enough to have a copy of his Paris Journal/Green Songbook and some interesting thoughts contained there.
My answer to the oft posed question Poet or Prat was never Prat but was never completely Poet either its a complicated debate which I have been part of I guess for 30 odd years……… it all depends on your perception I guess.
What would I say now as to Jims Poetic ability?
For me he was not a Great Poet as many Doors fans argue……...although I respect their opinions a great deal but I would argue for a Middle ground here……..he had the Makings of a Great Poet and given the time would have written something Really Important……….not that a Poem like American Prayer is not Important .especially to us Doors fans but I mean something World Viewingly Important that would be taught at schools………something so profound political leaders would have jostled with each other to show their knowledge of James Douglas Morrison.
Sadly he never managed that trick and his attempt to rid himself of The Lizard King that he had created as a bit of Irony and had instead seen it envelop the view of him with media and fan alike was doomed to failure as it defined him for the next near 40 years. Still to this day ridiculed as a serious Poet and seen as a cock flashing mental case who had the odd flash of brilliance who ended up dead in a bath.
Not quite fair to one of the brightest stars music ever produced.. a deep thinker and passionate wordsmith who even though he never always got it quite right was capable of the most thoughtful, reflective and insightful musings ever to come from a writer of good pop songs..
So armed with this new knowledge I found myself standing in a room lined with wall to wall books in front of around twenty or so people……some friends……...some newer strangers. Scared shitless as this was something utterly alien to me..
Shakespeare’s bookshop on the afternoon of July 4th 2005.
Nick Jackson had come up with the idea of A Tribute In Motion on my Scorpwag Forum early in 2005 and we had discussed the idea of having a reading in Paris to celebrate Jim The Poet instead of Jim the Door.
Sounded like a good idea at the time and I duly announced myself up for it……..of course public speaking was beyond me ……having the craic in a pub was never a problem……..but this was scary.
In the end I found some balls and read a compilation of Jims words I had put together for just that occasion. I have to admit it was rather amazing
I enjoyed it so much, even though I shook for half the reading from pure terror, I went back half hour later and read a poem from New Creatures.
The final few yards of my journey to discover Jim Morrison The Poet was finally completed and it was here in a crappy little room in a Paris bookstore……..it did not matter if he was not Blake or Rimbaud……….it did not matter if the big lads took the piss out of him in the playground so to speak.
Its what we perceived him to be that really mattered he is a Poet because we Doors fans say so………… who gives a shit if a Beatles or an Iron Maiden fan disagrees.
We choose to celebrate Jim The Poet . Others celebrate Jim the T Shirt or Jim the mad twat who got drunk and flashed his todger ..
Some Doors fans just enjoy the music, Hell that was me for 30 years, and the Myth and Legend of The Doors. There are so many facets to this group it makes your head spin.
It took me 30 years to discover the Poet and a couple more to really feel what it was like to give a shit about him. A year later I was standing in the back alley adjacent to Pere Lachaise cemetery on July 3rd 2006 reading Anatomy Of Rock and talking about Jim Morrison to a crowd of about 40 people or more. No shakes or butterflies as I was there now..
I had finally figured it out some of you guys were way ahead of me on that one but I got there in The End.
A Tribute In Motion is for me the most wonderful tribute to a great singer/poet/guy/clown sometime she had plenty of faults but this opts to celebrate his least known facet Jim Morrison The Poet……..and from what I have seen it is a privilege to be even a tiny part of it..
I'm like a window in a city
When you turn off the lights
I walk in your whisper
And fall thru the night
Alex Patton from Stockton On Tees England