I have found the more i am left with my thoughts (which is often these days) the more i desire to write, i have never been a good writer and feel somewhat dyslexic when it comes to sentence structure though the passion to do so is there. In reading of many of my favourite artists what is evident is the piles of letters and writings that they leave behind, they were for the most part prolific in both art and writing, the need to converse and have ones words and thoughts heard seemed paramount, to also argue, debate and sum up their philosophy on art and art making was part and parcel to their practice, when not painting or sculpting etc they would frequent certain hubs of bohemia and debate, drink, eat and discuss art theory, colour and practice, classicism and modernity etc, the artist was opinionated and often a character and personality that generated interest and admiration as much as offence and curiosity, the artist was indeed a public performer and thespian it would seem, playing a role, swimming in a self ordained existence of importance and obscurity ironically.
I believe words are important, though that importance is under played, expression we deem important, though that importance is not translated or practiced successfully. I would argue that violence, aggression and ignorance are traits of the frustrated and hopeless or those that have no platform or ability to express ones self and again these attributes of expression are suppressed by those that seek to control others, what a mess indeed!
But I digress, expression and understanding are synonymous, and to have command of one leads to the other.
As a teenager i was a Jimi Hendrix fan supreme, i had every record imaginable, i emmersed myself in his music and felt a sadness to his life. I am posting here a short story of mine, a piece of writing that i did some time ago, a fictional account of those moments leading up to the death of the greatest guitarist of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix. I hope you enjoy this fictional look into the last moments of of Jimi Hednrix’s life?
It was party night and a tall African American man who had gone by the name of Johnny James in formative years made his entrance into the party, though Johnny was now Jimi.
Making his way casually, walking through the pressed in spaces of bodies. hand in hip pocket and cigarette in mouth, hand shakes and head nods began in repetition, party goers mumbled and endeavoured to peer over the shoulders of those in front of them, just to get a sight of this dude. The party was like most, though the guest was something else, people put on their best masks and started playing the part, drinks of all descriptions were available and people shamelessly began trying to get a foot in the door, “hey man i llooovvveee your last album, can you sign this for me” , “mind if i take a photo with you Jimi?” “I’ve been working on this song brother, have a listen, tell me what you think?”……”maybe we could do something together”, “your not going home alone tonight are you Jimi?”
Jimi began to withdraw with in himself, cuffing his hands over one another tighter and tighter. There were lots of smiling faces, but not many friends were evident, Jimi Hendrix’s life at this point had been increasingly turbulent for the latter part of his career, his experience with out Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding was not what he had hoped for and the wiley coyote stylings of his previous people he trusted had place a damp on Jimi’s musical freedom. Everything had been a whirl wind of a journey, since that fiery night at Monterey.
Jimi was tired, he had touring commitments that were exhausting him, the cut throat realities of record contracts and unscrupulous industry types that always pointed to the unread fine print after you signed were weighing heavy, previous legal battles had hit Jimi hard, for a time they had him over a barrel and his musical drive was suffering. His self prescribed range of drugs, as well as the ones that were given without his knowledge, were at times playing havoc with his judgements, a door was opening wide, one in which Jimi couldn’t shut even if he tried.
Hear my train a com’n.
The night had ran on too long for Jimi, he rose to his feet and tried to make his way to the door. It was hopeless, each pace he set people dragged him into a conversation, he tried to leave, escape into the night with out notice, but at the party, Jimi’s absence was like cutting a rose off from its stem and telling people nothings changed,how beautiful things stil are and to enjoy the thorns while you can. A thorn was definitely in Jimi’s side however, a private, unknown thorn, he sure didn’t feel like he was coming up smelling like roses at that point in time, and the thorns were digging deeper with each clumsy step toward the door.
Back from the storm.
Jimmy’s hand shook with trepidation, something was coming, but he just didn’t know what, it was like he picked something up in the air, a change, something pending? He couldn’t shake it, it stuck to him like a fly caught in a hanging glue board, the more it squirmed and darted its wings the deeper it sank in the sticky mess and Jimi knew he couldn’t move that little wing no more!
Outside Monika was impatietly waiting, crossed arms upon her breasts and the constant looking at her watch with each rythmic tapping of her right shoe. A drunken couple stumbled out of the alley way behind her knocking so much waste across the footpath, the sudden noise and clang of a rubbish can lid caused her head to swing toward the noise, her hands dropped to her sides letting go of her cigarette, falling into the fast appearing overnight dew it became extinguished, she muttered “Bloody wankers” under her breath and folded her arms once again.
leaning back upon the car, looking toward the house, the sounds of partying weaved through the muffled sounds of the rolling stones “you can’t always get what you want” It was then that she noticed a familiar sight, the silouette of Jimi’s teased afro, magnified by the red hall light shining through the glass of the front door, it swung open and there stood Jimi, eyes rolling back and forward, with a line of well wishers bidding him farewell. “Take care Jimi”… “Here brother, take this… a little something for the ride home”…. “give me a call Jimi, we’ll do lunch!” …. spoken to the back of Jimi’s head as he released his hand from the door knob, “yeah, yeah….sure, right on , right on”…. Jimi said semi-consciously, failing to make eye contact, walking down the front steps.
As Jimi walked toward the car, Monika spat out.. “bout time mate!” ….. Jimi’s mind drifted in that second, becoming detached in that moment a while longer. He was remembering, remembering that moment earlier that year, when his band of Gypsies broke up, his words he uttered through the microphone at a concert now echoed in his head “I’m sorry we just can’t get it together”…….. Jimi just couldn’t get it together again, something was seriously coming a part.
Monika slammed her car door and shouted to Jimi, “get a move on” turning the key in the ignition, he mercedes started immediately. The sound of leather seats squeaked as Jimi nestled into the passengers seat. Jimi tucked his handkerchief into his inside coat pocket, lit up another smoke and motioned Monika to drive. Monika tried to enter into a conversation, but Jimi wasn’t in the mood, he waved his hand through the smoke he had just exhaled and threw his head back with a sigh, rolling his head to the left, looking out his window he watched the night life of Londons streets pass him by and wondered, how did i get here?
The car abruptly screeched to a halt, they had arrived at the Samarkand Hotel. Monika’s apartment was on the basement floor, she slammed her door and walked with large steps towards the hotel. Jimi stretched out of his seat and jumped up onto the gutter, he reached into his pockets again and pulled out another smoke, looking up at the moon his cigarette smoke travelled across the luna surface, he was in orbit for a second, thinking to himself if only 6 was 9.
If 6 was 9.
What proceeded these events is for the most part unsure, though on the 18th September, 1970….. in the hours that followed Jimi Hendrix’s return to the Samarkand Hotel, James Marshall Hendrix at his appointed time, died.
Eric Burden of the animals proclaimed Jimi had taken his life and put forward his reasons for such. Monika Dannemann gave evidence that Jimi had taken nine of her prescribed Vesperax sleeping pills, a doctor upon investigated stated that Jimi had had too much wine and inturn asphyxiated, choking on his vomit. Controversy had followed Dannemann ever since Jimi’s passing, some calling her statements contridictory and inconsistent. Author David Henderson, in his revised edition of “Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky” the biography of Jimi Hendrix, puts forward the arguement that Jimi’s death may be the result of murder. And Monika Dannemann through a series of extenuating circumstances, committed suicide in 1996. Perhaps the truth is right before us or then again we will never know?
What can be ascertained though, is that Jimi Hendrix was one of the greatest guitar players of the 20th century, his volume of work and the depth to his musical abilities changed rock & roll forever and presented popular music with endless posiibilities. He played with the soul of a veteran bluesman and ignited music witha virtousic fervor that hasn’t been witnessed since.