Chap. VIII: Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
October 4, 2013
The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
Would anybody like to try the changes I’m going through?
Life at best is difficult. Change after difficult change presents itself. Of necessity life is lived on the fly. One must always deal with fixtures and forces one cannot comprehend on first confrontation. In a way then we can hardly be responsible for the decisions we make unless we have enough experience to interpret that with which we are confronted correctly. At any point a controlling psychological fixation through misinterpretation may cause to act against our best interests. All further experience then will be interpreted through and disturbed by one or more fixations in our subconscious of which we probably are not aware.
Sexually Marianne was probably confused by the sexual scenes she observed at her father’s Braziers Institute contrasted with her subsequent teaching of abstinence at St. Joseph’s Convent School. The confusions conflicted her sexual attitudes in later life, attitudes she was unaware of and never resolved.
Once she left her father’s governance passing into that of her mother’s she lived not in poverty but in relative hardship; luxuries if experienced at all were few and far between yet she did received an upper class education and outlook at St. Joseph’s.
Her mother was apparently strongly Bohemian having been involved with the stage pre-WWII. She encouraged Marianne in the Bohemian direction which Marianne found congenial, sought and never abandoned. The girl was interested in the stage while becoming a Joan Baez style folk singer after leaving convent school in Reading at seventeen.
While not beautiful in any classic sense she was yet attractive with a great figure making her a desirable sexual object. The sixties was the decade of wide open sex making all women mere sexual objects. Her first reaction was to seek a stable married life choosing John Dunbar as an appropriate husband. Dunbar was Bohemian in outlook while apparently headed for an academic career.
At this point fate intervened. At a party with Dunbar she met the record producer Andrew Loog Oldham who perceived her persona as a marketable commodity in the pop music world. As an added bonus Marianne could actually sing, having performed as a folk singer.
She was still an impressionable girl of just seventeen just after the Pill had been introduced with little ability to successfully traverse the changes she would be called upon to go through. These would be formidable and rapid calling for huge energy reserves on a day to day basis. Not an enviable situation.
While most musicians go through a relatively long learning process and struggle to succeed Marianne struck gold the first time out without even trying. Her first minimal three minute effort, if it was an effort, established her as the pop princess or queen of the generation. Her innocent convent school persona was perfect in a vulgar world. But it was a persona at odds with the one Marianne would seek and embrace- she became the devil with a blue dress on.
While the music or, really, record business seems very attractive from a distance it is literally vile from the inside. Everything connected with it is dishonest, the record companies, musicians, lackeys, the whole number. Nobody remains unstained.
It is truly a man’s world, even a gay man’s world, in which the men have no respect for womankind. Women are expected to merely service the sexual desires of the male performers. They have no use beyond that. Thus one has the phenomenally debauched groupie scene that amazed the world during the sixties. After that there was no longer anything amazing.
Having witnessed sex acts at Braziers of numerous descriptions the pop music world satisfied this side of Marianne’s psyche. At the same time a desire for a chaste life pushed her in the direction of marriage with Dunbar which desire she consummated, however Dunbar proved to be not the ideal choice.
While Marianne thought she would be leading a sedate intellectual academic life with him as a professor he turned out to be as much or more a Bohemian as she was. Quite frankly he failed her.
Having acquired a wife he did not act responsibly toward her. He was blindsided by her recording success and perhaps belittled by her financial success. In effect he was supported by his wife which is always a difficult situation. The changes he faced were in themselves formidable and he didn’t have the character to meet them. Still, a man doesn’t fill his house with dopers and heroin addicts. Marianne can hardly be faulted for resenting it after getting up in the morning to find a house full of conked out junkies in rooms littered with used needles. The transition from Braziers to St. Joseph’s to high degeneration must have been changes hard to adapt to. Sent her head spinning.
The change from the straitened circumstances of her childhood and youth still actually in progress to one of affluence in which she could indulge her wildest fancies in buying clothes and more clothes. Her lack of maturity hurt her badly. In this case her hero William Blake’s notion that the road of excess leads to wisdom was not quite true, it led to penury.
Not clearly seen by many at the time the pop world split into two streams, the British pop stream of the fifties soon to be extinct and the Rock world of pop princes and princesses of the future. The Beatles straddled both worlds while curiously Marianne may have been the first to emerge as a star of the Rock world soon to be followed by the Rolling Stones.
As such even though having only one hit single to her name she was on a par with the Beatles and the Stones while being superior to the lesser groups following in the train of the Beatles and Stones. Thus in the salon formed around the pop art dealer Robert Fraser she held a place of primacy that she never realized. Her tragedy was that she was too young and inexperienced to grasp her opportunity making a series of inept decisions while being seen only as so much poontang by the Rockers and of transitory fame by a series of inept managers.
Thus, unable to find someone capable of carefully building her career she did become transitory, or her career going into hiatus, she did lose her place while gravitating to the dominance of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Gradually her royalties diminished so that she was financially dependent on Jagger while still married to John Dunbar. Deep in a milieu of drug users she found their allure irresistible.
However conscious she was that she had been and still was to some extent a celebrity she thought to regain that identity. Feeling unable to compete with Jagger as a recording star she chose to follow her mother’s wishes and take up acting. In her enthusiasm to and need to show Jagger that she was somebody too, that she was his equal, as a performing artist she aroused Jagger’s interest in also being a movie star. He, being a more marketable commodity soon gave evidence of eclipsing her as an actor rather than staying in recording as she assumed he would.
Her own space having been preempted she developed an affinity for Brian Jones of the Stones who was essentially in her situation in his relation to the group. He too was being forced out thereby losing his identity.
When Brian died she then in sympathy decided to follow him overdosing with pills that would have killed her had not Jagger been alert enough to rush her to the hospital. As much as anything her suicide attempt was meant to get away from Jagger’s dominance. That move now being thwarted she had no choice but to walk out which she did in 1970. Thus began the rest of her life.
The Rock and Art scene was a drug scene. Bob Fraser’s salon centered around Rock musicians was also a drug center. Fraser introduced members of his salon to all drugs including heroin. Marianne had a favored position in Fraser’s salon early learning of heroin to which Fraser himself was addicted. By the time she walked out on Jagger in 1970 she had been addicted for some time. Heroin was to remain her central fixation throughout her life.
Jagger disapproved of her addiction so she was forced to conceal it from him. When her royalties decreased she no longer had her own money becoming dependent on Jagger. Not wishing to plead for large sums of money from Jagger in order to obtain her heroin she prostituted herself to Keith Richard’s factotum Spanish Tony Sanchez.
Sanchez was an aspiring criminal who came to Richards through Groovy Bob Fraser. Sanchez had met Fraser in a bar after which the friendship blossomed. Fraser had contracted gambling debts to the notorious Kray Brothers, the criminal kingpins of London. The Krays were threatening Fraser with grievous bodily harm if they didn’t get their money. According to Sanchez in his autos Up And Down With The Rollings Stones and I was Keith Richard’s Drug Dealer he volunteered to negotiate the debt with the Krays which he did.
At that time, following their US Mafia model, the Krays were attempting to lift the Beatles from Brian Epstein who also had large gambling debts to them so there is no reason to disbelieve Sanchez. Following the episode with Fraser Sanchez was employed by Richards as drug/procurer-factotum at the fabulous salary of two hundred fifty pounds a week. This leads me to believe that the Krays were using Sanchez to infiltrate the Stones possibly with the intent of taking them over.
Sanchez was always resented by Richards and the Stones but he managed to stick with them until the mid seventies when Richards was able to shake him. In his vanity Sanchez considered himself an essential member of the Stones’ entourage, if not an actual member of the Stones.
Marianne’s misfortune was that everyone wanted to sleep with her, a further misfortune was that she obliged. Thus she and Tony had a sexual liaison for several years. This raises the question then whether Tony was also pimping for her. Certainly as his criminal associates knew he was sleeping with her they would want to also. Not being a fool Tony may have named a price and received it. Whether he or she could have successfully resisted is open to question. The US Mafia certainly used their female artists to gratify their desires.
In the mid sixties additionally, once again, through Fraser Marianne had become part of the Satanic crowd. Through Fraser she was introduced to the arch US Satanist, Kenneth Anger. Through them she was introduced to the writing of Great Satanist of the twentieth century, Aleister Crowley and also the writing of the nineteenth century French arch Satanist, Eliphas Levi, not Jewish despite the name. And then the modern Satanist classic the Russian Bulgakov’s The Master And Margarita published in 1968.
Also in this period she became involved with the Satanist Process Church Of The Final Judgment. Marianne downplays her involvement with Satanism but it was much more serious than she is willing to admit.
Playing against this background Marianne renewed an acquaintance with the Irishman Lord Patrick Rossmore. He was 43 to her 24. I merely mention this, it makes me no never mind what the ages are so long as the couple is comfortable with each other. In this case they weren’t comfortable. The two, in a sort of a farce became engaged but never married parting as they met in a friendly sort of way within several months.
While Mick was aggressively dominating, Marianne seems to have chosen Lord Rossmore because shy and retiring as he was she could dominate him. According to Hodkinson the couple rarely saw each other, he being in Ireland while Marianne remained in London closer to her dope supply.
True to her interpretation of William S. Burroughs degenerate novel, Naked Lunch, she led a totally debased and degraded life as a street junkie or, at least, her version of it. Remember it was her movie of Marianne and she was pretending to be a sociologist. She cultivated the friendship of total degenerates such as the artists Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud. She also became friends with the total junkie, writer Alexander Trocchi. Also at this time becoming fast friends with another lowlife, Henrietta Moraes who she says was a close friend until she died. Marianne was able to sink to lower levels than any of these people and gloried in it.
It was during this period of 1970-71 that she says she sat on the wall in Soho staring into the bomb crater. In his first biography Hodkinson scoffed at this. According to him this wall was a waiting station lined with junkies alert for their supply.
By 1971 the Stones had become tax exiles in the South of France so that Spanish Tony was with Keith no longer able to supply Marianne with her drugs, thus, we suppose, the wall. As Marianne had no regular income during this period, although adequate royalty checks still arrived irregularly, there does arise the question of how she paid for her dope. As a junkie Marianne had no qualms about running up tabs she couldn’t pay and apparently didn’t. At one point she boasts she left New York owing several dealers 20K each while flippantly adding she had no intention of ever paying. Whether she succeeded or not is not known.
Marianne vehemently denies that she resorted to prostitution although there is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence she did. A careful reading of her second auto, Memories, Dreams And Reflections, gives some hints. At one point she retorts to an admirer that she is not a two-bit prostitute, that it would take 200 pounds to be with her. Perhaps a joke but the price sounds right, her retort has the ring of authenticity.
In the same auto she claims first hand acquaintance with all the working girls of the area. There is only one way such first hand knowledge could be obtained. There is or was a video on the internet in which a camera had been placed within a building between two half open doors. Marianne dressed in some pretty snappy expensive looking working girl gear walks in front of the camera, notices it, shows alarm, then quickly turns a corner then flattening herself against the wall to peer back at the camera. It seems evident that she was going to or returning from a job.
She seems to have worked from 1970-71 through at least 1974 through her association with Madeleine D’Arcy. In 1971- during the recording of Exile On Main Street when Tony Sanchez accompanied Keith to the South of France Tony met Madeleine with whom he fell deeply in love and had a relationship with her in France.
Upon returning to England he apparently resumed some sort of relationship with Marianne as well as Madeleine. Marianne in her turn began a lesbian relationship with Madeleine, perhaps to spite Tony, who she despised personally, or so she says. Tony was angry at the relationship.
It then appears that Marianne and Madeleine functioned as high price prostitutes or perhaps call girls between ‘72 to ‘74. In ‘74 Madeleine as Marianne recalls had gone back to turning fifteen pound tricks in Brighton. ’Going back’ implies that formerly she received higher payouts, perhaps 200+ as Marianne received.
As she hadn’t heard from Madeleine for a little while she called at her apartment. When no one answered she called a couple bravos to break down the door. One was a Maltese pimp and drug dealer. At that time in London the Maltese are said to have controlled crime in the West End. That Marianne could call on them to supply help implies a certain degree of familiarity with the underworld. The other person’s identity Marianne doesn’t indicate so there is the possibility it could have been Tony. When no one answered the door the two men broke it down.
Entering the apartment Madeleine was found dead on her bed. She had apparently been beaten to death although not molested as she was artfully laid out in a beautiful full gown. Thus whoever killed her loved her. This points to Tony although the crime was never solved.
So, if Marianne says she never turned to prostitution perhaps not, but there is sufficient evidence to indicate she did. The whole period from 1970-1974 is very hazy in her memoirs.
While she was supposedly incognito on the streets of Soho, as if Marianne could ever be incognito, lost to view of the music world, Michael Leander, who had been her producer suddenly got the idea to make an LP with her so he beat the bushes, scoured the walls so to speak, like any good detective, tracking her down in Soho supposedly sitting on her wall staring into the bomb pit. He induced her back into the studio where they recorded the LP Rich Kid Blues, a return to Marianne’s folk roots.
For some reason the record was shelved not being released until decades later. After this she took up with Oliver Musker who she was associated with for the two years from ’72 to ’74.
The Myth Of Marianne
For all her emotional problems Marianne was a bright girl. She read. Among her readings were those of the psychologist C.G. Jung. Among Jung’s ideas was that of the personal myth. By that he means everyone must have a personal myth to survive, to make sense of what one is doing or what is happening to you. This was more or less the same notion of Andy Warhol’s that if you don’t like the way your life is going pretend it’s a movie. That’s a sort of displacement so what’s happening is just a script that was written for you. Your own personal myth. Lots of people were living in their own movie.
It seems probable, in observing Marianne’s life, that she came across Jung’s observation and set about creating her myth. For proper understanding I quote Jung: p. 197 of the Red Book as quoted in the introduction by Sonu Shamdesani:
I was driven to ask myself in all seriousness: “what is the myth you are living?” I found no answer to the question and had to admit that I was not living with a myth, but rather in an uncertain cloud of theoretical possibilities which I was beginning to regard with increasing distrust…
So in the most natural way, I took on myself to know “my” myth– so I told myself– how could I, when treating my patients, make due allowance for the personal factor, for my personal equation, which is yet so necessary for a knowledge of the other person, if I was unconscious of it.”
During the period of 1970 ‘72 Marianne had fallen on the hardest times, the lack of a model for her life. It seems obvious that the wall bit is perhaps a metaphor for her mental state while sunk into her heroin addiction which perhaps had led to other unsavory activities.
If she really thought she was incognito amongst the street people and shopkeepers who she tells us were wonderful to her, what would have been just another junkie earning money by any means necessary, she is either misremembering or was oblivious to the truth. Marianne was a nationally recognized figure on TV and records who had won the hearts of the people. If anything, one can only think that they wondered how she could have fallen so low but in a manner they still revered the image she had been. On the other hand she says guys drove by and yelled ‘you dirty slag’ out the window. Marianne was in denial.
Without a myth of herself that was all she could do. I don’t know when after her fall from grace in 1967 she had read Jung to conceive of creating her myth but the period after 1970 has certainly been mythologized. Remember she titled her second auto Memories Dream And Reflections which just happens to be the title of Jung’s own auto without the And.
As it was necessary for Marianne to form a new persona after the Redlands bust it appears that the persona began taking shape during this period of extreme depression from ‘70 to ‘72. When she met Musker and perhaps even Leander recorded Rich Kid Blues with her, she began to form the myth and regain an identity and perhaps sanity.
Musker led to Ben Brierly which was a key recovery period and then later she grabbed hold of the supreme works of despair and depression, the works of Brecht and Weil. God, that’s hurting.
All her associates in the mid seventies were Creatures From The Black Lagoon. Black Lagoon was one of the great psychological sci-fi parodies of the fifties. Freud’s vision of the unconscious dominated the period so in Lagoon some ‘scientists’, always portrayed as evil themselves, discover a black lagoon in the Brazilian jungles. The circular pool, of course, represents Freud’s vision of the unconscious in which demons and monsters lurk so the Creature, stirred up by the scientists, perhaps it may be read as psycho-analysts, emerges in all his horror dripping with weeds from the black lagoon. Coulda been me I thought as I sat watching.
So, Burroughs, Gysin, Ginsburg, Corso, Bacon, Lucien Freud,, Moraes, all the people a reasonable person would run from. No matter how attractive they may appear on the printed page they were much less so in person. I’ve met a few of them and, shall we say, I knew I would never fit in.
Marianne did fit in. She was beginning to reconcile her Braziers Park sexual education with her high Catholic teaching. Andy Warhol said if your life is not going as you like it, pretend it’s a movie. Marianne was in the unique position where she could live her myth in movies, on the stage and on phonograph records as well as in real life. In her mind she could make it work but real life upsets things once in a while. Plus Marianne in her reading read William Blake whose line ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom’ was the mantra of the whole junkie crowd as well as Marianne’s. Who would be seduced by bull shit like that? Beaudelaire, Rambeau and the French Symbolists also provided such like justification for the path she was on. Thus Marianne was able to justify her myth by such philosophy.
Marianne could thus justify sexual excesses, perhaps even prostitution, as drinking the cup to the dregs on the path to wisdom. At the same time she was able to split her personality in a Braziers/St. Joseph’ contrast so that she could remain ‘pure’ while sympathizing with the plight of all those unfortunate prostitutes she knew so well. That actually was a sort of Rich Kid Blues so Leander was perhaps more prescient than Marianne thought.
Marianne who had many acting offers during these years and at least one serious role with Roman Polanski all of which she blew ostensibly because of her heroin addiction but also possibly because as she felt so degraded she didn’t think she deserved success because of Redlands. At any rate she was the darling of the counter culture and remains so down and out or not.
Oliver Musker an old Etonian met her through Christopher Gibbs who paled with Bob Fraser at a party in 1972 so she wasn’t so incognito that she wasn’t attending parties. Still her addiction was obvious enough that Musker wanted to save her. Therefore he took control and put her in rehab. But what’s rehab to an addict? Perhaps a time out. Of course Marianne says Musker saved her life. Well, romance, romance, romance.
Musker was an apparent stable interlude in Marianne’s self-destructive course. He kept her on a more or less even keel for these two years. No less destitute than she had ever been Marianne accepted a role filmed in India titled Ghost Story. Not quite the hardship Marianne attests, indeed, very glamorous to anyone in her fan base and elsewhere.
She and Musker traveled to India and from there to Hong Kong. So she was leading a life many could envy. Not too much is available about Musker but he apparently found India congenial as a business opportunity. He currently runs a furniture factory out of Delhi.
But he was an overbearing, dominant sort enforcing his will with violence. He knocked out Marianne’s upper two front teeth. When he tried to manage Marianne’s career he became too much for her and they parted company. Or, perhaps, Musker was just a crutch to get her over a very rough patch. By 1974 perhaps she thought she no longer needed him.
And then as part of the road of excess leading to the palace of wisdom Musker was a type of male and as part of her identity she was to experiment with different types. That would lead to her future second husband Ben Brierly. The music scene about to transit the very destructive Punk era so, perhaps Marianne saw it as chance to revive her recording career.
As I see it Marianne went into shock after Redlands. The shame of the Mars bar bit was too much for her psyche to handle. The court’s denial of the chance to defend herself and possibly explain was an egregious insult that she could find no way to handle. This kind of shock takes time to digest and find some way to regain one’s composure. Thus Marianne’s life from that point to her suicide attempt in 1969 can be explained in that context.
Her rejection of Mick can largely be explained as the aftermath of Redlands.
Marianne had been used as sex object once she entered the record industry. It was a role she didn’t reject apparently being a hot mama. But as one matures one finds ways to use as well as be used. Thus after 1969 Marianne turned predator using her sexual desirability to turn predator herself.
She stayed with Lord Rossmore after leaving Mick while she used Musker to regain some balance although kicking heroin is just a mirage junkies pursue. One grows weary of their stories of becoming ‘clean.’ At best after Musker she discovered her limits although she really tested them.
While I don’t think it’s true, Marianne felt that Mick was a superior musician to herself. Marianne let the notion destroy her self-confidence. Jagger is no singer, has no voice, is a mediocre lyricist, can’t dance but is a great showman with a burning desire to corrupt society.
Marianne’s problem was that she couldn’t find the proper agent or musical guide. Issuing four albums in 1965 was a crass error for which she was apparently responsible. She took no time to enter the spirit of the songs while many of the backing arrangements are revolting. Nevertheless she was Marianne.
Having felt herself overshadowed by Mick she now picked the poor shlub Ben to musically dominate and overshadow in revenge on Mick. As she left Musker she was emerging from the horrible reaction to Redlands while finding a musical persona to allow her to go on living the pop life she had learned to appreciate.
In keeping with her newly found myth combined with the Blake/Symbolist fantasy of plumbing the depths in search of the pearl of great price she embraced Brierly’s punk life style living in squalor in desperate squats. During this period she was forming the persona that would emerge with her 1979 release of Broken English. That record reestablished her musical credentials while providing her with a substantial cash windfall. She might as well have worked for nothing as she took a 90K check and promptly blew it on clothes and drugs. In some ways Marianne was a real slow learner.
She was able to disburse her cash faster than Edie Sedgwick threw away her 80K inheritance. Edie had no hopes for another windfall although Marianne did.
Broken English was a boundary line between the middle Marianne and what came after.
Chapter IX will follow but I have other projects first.