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Doing the Work: A Conversation with Patti Smith

Patti Smith is a poet, visual artist, performer and musician, and the author of ten books in total, including the National Book award-winning Just Kids (2010), M Train (2016), Woolgathering (1992) and the Coral Sea (2012). During a brief period of respite from summer tours and performing obligations, we met on a humid, tropically stormy day at her home in New York City, where her cat, Cairo, stalked between the stacks of books and art objects, and the sounds of ubiquitous Manhattan traffic railed sporadically against the walls. What follows is a distilled record of an afternoon-long conversation, where the topics ranged from opera, Picasso, the pressure faced by today’s young artists to court visibility and notoriety, and the solitude and focus necessary to create enduring works of art.

AB: You’ve just returned to the city from Rockaway Beach, where, as you talk about in M Train, you have a house. Do you spend a lot of time there? What are the advantages of working there over working in Manhattan?

PS: It has a very ragged garden which I love because I don’t like anal or meticulous gardens. I like the Capability Brown idea of a garden having some affinity with the natural chaos of nature. So I took a manuscript there two weeks ago and I was editing, and then I would go out and weed, and then I would go back inside and edit, and it suddenly occurred to me — it was almost benevolently redundant — that I was really doing the same thing. And I thought, well, here’s two things that I’m good at, editing and weeding, and they have a relationship and a kinship.

AB: Yes. It’s a different thing to that awful phrase they teach you at creative writing school, ‘You must kill your darlings’. It’s a cultivating instinct, rather than destructive.

PS: Oh no, I’m not a murderer. Sometimes I have to let go of things I really like, because it doesn’t suit the prime objective, but that’s ok. I love digression, but sometimes, in the digression of digression, you realise that you’ve gone too far, and you have to rein yourself in. I had to learn that. I had a really good editor when I was writing Just Kids, Betsy Lerner, and I learnt a lot about editing from her. But I tend to mostly self-edit, and then, at the end, take good advice from others.

AB: It’s a balance, because you hear a fair amount of stories in the publishing world about editors who take manuscripts and make them unrecognisable from the original.

PS: Collaboration has to be done with consent. It has to be consensual collaboration. Too excessive an editor, too good an editor in that way, can be a killer. I had a very good editor once rewrite a poem of mine and I thought, well that’s a translation, and it can stand as his version, but now I’m going to go back to my version.

Then again, some song-writers, friends of mine, and I think William Faulkner was also like this, can just sit and write, and it’s written. They have that kind of logical, agile mind. They’re very good at sentence structure; grammar; understanding tenses; verb use, all things that I’m poor at. So you know, I write, and I can sit there and write all day, but then I have to go back and stumble through a bit of debris. I’m not disciplined in my first drafts. I just write and then I have to let it sit for a while. It’s like making pottery. You have to let it dry and then you have to look at it again and then you put slip on it and then you put it in the kiln.

AB: I think the looking at it again after time apart is so important. I think when the writing almost starts to feel foreign to you is when the editing process can really come into its own.

PS: But you don’t want to have too much distance, because then you’re too removed from it. You know writing is endlessly fascinating, but it can also drive you mad, because of the endless combinations and possibilities. In photography, I just have one way of printing my photographs. I take the photograph, I take polaroids, I take it in the light that I want, I know the effect that I want is flat. I like my photographs to look almost like gravures, to have that almost nineteenth century quality, so I never print them on glossy paper. They’re always on a very fine, matte, maybe slightly off-white paper, and printed exactly as they are. Because you can print things darker, lighter, manipulate, etc., but the manipulative possibilities of a photograph, which anyone can access now, on a telephone, on an application — those possibilities did not exist for much of my lifetime, and you could only come to them with great labour. But because all of these possibilities exist now, I like more than ever to keep my work as organic as possible. Not because I think it’s better, but I have to have something which separates what I’m doing from what anyone can do. Besides having an eye or a particular subject matter.

AB: It’s interesting to think about all these ever-available distortions and manipulations as a way of masking or denying what many thinkers and writers — Barthes, Sontag, Berger — have identified as the mortality of photography, the click of the camera as the absolute death-knell of a moment in time.

PS: Well, I don’t have any negative feelings towards photography at this point. At first, I thought, what’s the point of taking photographs. When I was young, no one had a camera, unless you had a little bit of money, and now everybody does. At first I thought, I can be at a gravesite waiting for the exact right light, the perfect moment, and someone can go by with a cell phone and take thirty images, and they’re immaculate. Maybe they don’t have the same atmosphere as mine, but they come from the exact same moment. It used to disturb me because I didn’t know what I thought about it. But then I realised that this method has given so many people a creative outlet. People are finding that they prefer the pictures that they take of themselves. Rather than hiring professional photographers at weddings, families find that their niece takes really beautiful photographs on her cell phone, perhaps with more feeling. So people are discovering things about themselves. With a real sense of wonder sometimes. So I just try to do what I do, and let the world do what the world does.

AB: It seems more and more important to think about the reasons behind making things… as a way of insulating your creative process.

PS: You have to protect yourself. The world has changed so much in the last ten years, so much since I was young. What gets called the ‘art world’, or the ‘publishing industry,’ or the ‘music business’ today… it’s all very different. When I was young, most of my friends, or the struggling artists that I knew… really, their goals were to do something no one else had done, to eclipse what had been done before. They had goals that were not necessarily transferrable to money or fame, but which only might result in those things. I find a lot of people, young people, their goals are different. I’m not criticising it, but today fame, recognition, social media recognition, wealth are very important. When I was young you hated critics and you didn’t care what the hell they said. You wanted your work to be ultimately appreciated by someone, but now, what people think of as a very high, if not the highest, motivation is to be rewarded for your efforts, is to have one million people checking you out. I can’t criticise it because I wasn’t born into this culture and it’s not my place to try and change it. But observing it I can hope that what one might call the loftier reasons for creating will resurface and become more important in years to come. In months to come! (laughing) Tomorrow!

AB: I think what you’re touching upon is the fact that we now seem to be in the age of the ‘influencer’ rather than the creator, or even the editor/curator figure.

PS: It’s what people will do for fame. I don’t know if it made the British press, but just in the last week, a young girl shot and killed her boyfriend doing a YouTube video that they thought together would bring them instant fame. He had put a huge book in front of his chest, and she shot him at close range, thinking that the bullet would lodge in the book. But it went through the book and into the boy’s chest and he died. And again, I’m simply observing people so hungry for fame that they performed this stunt that ended one life and very likely will end up ruining another. So they got fame all right, but not in the way they imagined. What is that?

AB: And the symbolism of it going through the book…

PS: Through knowledge, and the heart of things. Exactly. And it’s tragic but I think that little story is symptomatic of our culture and the desires and the hopes and dreams of some of our young. Not all of our young, of course, but I think that that way of thinking at the moment is more prevalent than not.

AB: Yes. This obligation to commodify one’s existence as legible in this very visual way. But it almost seems as if there’s this excess of virtual space within which to make art, today, on the Internet, but a paucity of physical space, which begs the question of where all these images, these artefacts, can go, or be stored.

PS: These things have to be organic. When Robert Mapplethorpe started taking photographs when he was young, in 1971, he started moving very quickly, taking pictures of me, taking pictures of himself, friends, but he was very restless and very fast-moving. And Robert’s goal was always to do something singular. That was very important to him. And so, in the mid 70s, he started taking photographs of consensual S&M, with consent, not even voyeuristically, sometimes as a participant — very disturbing images, but they were very clearly art, not simply pornography. The work that he produced always had the aura of art because of his composition, his knowledge of space or depth. But my point is, he didn’t do this to shock, get famous, get attention… he felt a desire. He saw something in his life, in his travels, in this area of human consent, and he was able to project this as art.

And fundamentally no one had ever done anything like that, not on that level, not as ‘art’ as opposed to just clandestine pictures… but it was an organic process, it was a natural progression to what he did. And from there he went into flowers, into very sexual- looking flowers. I have seen since, especially in the last couple of decades, people doing anything outrageous sexually and calling it art, and fighting for it, and I look at the images and think: they’re not good pictures. Just because it’s sex, just because they’re difficult to look at, does not make them art. There’s a difference. And it gets one back to where the impulse to do the work comes from. And how noble that impulse is. And I think that Robert… he always wanted to do well, to be successful, he didn’t want to be poor. But his initial impulse was always to do the work. And I think that that’s what people have to ask themselves. What is the driving impulse. And hopefully it’s to do good work. And if people… like these two kids who performed this stunt. If their impulse had been to do something extraordinary, and it was a real impulse to do something other than just to get attention, then they would have really thought this out. Studied bullet trajectory, maybe put a blank in the gun… all kinds of things. Of course I can’t say anything. But if they were really trying to do something they had to treat it as a work.

AB: There has to be some visionary quality, some ability to see something that no one else has seen before, but also this foundation of formal composition.

PS: William Burroughs always said that that was a definition of an artist. Somebody who saw things other people didn’t see. I can’t define what being an artist is. To me, it’s just something that you do, that you couldn’t do without. I mean, I’m a mother and I couldn’t imagine my life without my children, but I also couldn’t imagine my life without writing, which is the one consistent thing I’ve been doing since I was 10. Writing, all my life. I mean, there was a period of my life in which I went twenty years without publishing anything, but I still wrote every day. I have boxes of things that aren’t published. I couldn’t imagine life without doing that. There’s a measure of compulsion in it but it’s also a calling. It’s a trajectory that can’t be denied.

AB: The desire to do it overrides too much anxiety over how the work will or won’t be received.

PS: When I was recording Horses, I did not have any thought about how it would do. I thought it would probably have a small audience… people like myself, outsiders, maverick people, other artists… people who were discriminated upon because of their sexual persuasion…. I just did the work. I continued and by the time I made the third record [Easter, 1978], I did ‘Because the Night’ with Bruce Springsteen as a love song to my boyfriend who became my husband. And certain people, certain people were saying.. ‘Oh, you’ve sold out, you’re going to have everybody hearing the song’. And I said, believe me, if I could write my own song, if I could write the hit of the world, where every single person in the world would be inspired by it, I would be thrilled by that. Not because it would make a lot of money, but if you could unify the world in a song… so I would just tell people to go fuck themselves. You’ve sold out… If you really claim to know me, or to know my work, you would know that that’s an absurd statement. I don’t desire to live, or to do my work, in a hole.

 

Source: Frank Stefanko.

 

AB: And there’s elitism behind that accusation, of ‘selling out’.

PS: It’s a backwards elitism. It’s like people not wanting Bob Dylan to go electric or something. It’s like people being wed to the Blue Period, and as soon as Picasso moved to Cubism, flipping out. You just have to keep going. And if some of your work connects to a great body of people, that’s wonderful. Other aspects of your work might be more obscure, but you know you just stand by it. And now, things are even stranger, you know, in terms of what might happen to one’s work now. One might work so hard on making a record and… people don’t make records anymore, they don’t buy CDS! I come from the record-buying public where people stood in line for hours to get a copy of Blonde on Blonde or the new Jimi Hendrix record, and now it’s supposed to be like, streamed, and I don’t even really understand what streaming is. It’s a different world. And that’s why you have to, like you were saying, cosset yourself in order to do your work, because it can make you crazy, the outcome. What’s going to happen to this body of work after I’m done? How is it going to translate in today’s present culture? And sometimes you have to be like William Blake, and understand that it’s not going to translate to today’s present culture.

AB: Is Blake a model you return to?

PS: Blake was a casualty of the Industrial Revolution. He had all of these gifts, he was a visionary and a song-writer and a poet and a master-printer, and he expected to make his living with his printing skills and then the giant Printing Press was invented. So he’s labouring away to make a hundred copies of Songs of Innocence and his friends come over and they’re like, ‘Bill! What are you doing? You can take this work to the big printing press, they’ll print out thousands, and you’ll make a shit-ton of money!’. And you know Blake couldn’t relate to that, because the whole point was that it was a manual process. So he died, in 1827, practically forgotten… in fact he was forgotten, for some time. No recognition at all in his lifetime. When he printed Songs of Innocence, he would hand out copies to his friends when they came over, and they would forget them and leave them on a chair or something. And since it goes for about a million, two million now, they might have thought about that differently for their ancestors. But he did his work. He was working on his deathbed. He did his work, he didn’t lose his visionary powers. He had to shield himself somewhat from the evolving technologies of his time, and you know, it cost him financially, in fame and fortune in his lifetime… but history has been kind to him, and now, he’s very much beloved. It brings me back to the idea that the artist has to seek, yes, to astonish others, but also himself. Continuously. It’s like an addiction. You write something, one poem, and you’re really happy. You know the story of Bartholomew’s 500 hats?

AB: No…

PS: It’s Dr Seuss. Bartholomew has to take his hat off to meet the king. So he takes it off and there’s a finer one underneath, and this happens 500 times and he’s about to be thrown out of a tower to his death for insulting the king and the king is following up the stairs, wanting to see this boy topple… and Bartholomew takes off the 499th hat and the 500th hat is so magnificent that the king has to have it. So he takes it off and gives it to the king and at last he’s bare-headed. But I always think of that in terms of the artist working. You do something and you have to do it again; do something better and even more astonishing and elevating, but, in the end, you still have to be prepared to give it away.

AB: This makes me think of the tension lots of artists face between wanting to perpetually surpass themselves, do better, ‘Fail better’ — and this very visceral desire to make something material, to complete something.

PS: To make your idea flesh. But the maddening thing about art is also that it is material. The good thing about writing is that it’s the least material… well, maybe singing, too, because you’re just singing out into the air. But with writing you just need your pen and your piece of paper or whatever your writing tool is, but when you go into the plastic arts, architecture, sculpture, it becomes very physical. Your house or your space or your atelier becomes literally littered with work. I often wonder what it would be like to be this ordinary person living life unfettered by a continual desire to turn something into something else. Or to go to the opera and just enjoy the opera without trying to rewrite it in your head. It seems to be one of the humorous downsides of having a creative mind. But probably no one had this affliction greater than Picasso. You know, Jacqueline, his wife, brings him this beautiful whole fish on a plate, and he flays it, and she’s laboured to make this beautiful fish dinner… and he looks at it this perfect fish skeleton because he’s flayed it so well, and he’s immediately inspired, and he goes to the pottery room, makes a plate, and presses the skeleton in it, and has this new work with this perfect outline. And then he goes back upstairs and his meal’s cold.

Then again, when I think of the greatest things I’ve ever seen, or the greatest works of art I’ve witnessed… they’re always the ones that have obliterated that impulse, that desire to respond and to rework. Like My Bloody ValentineBecause My Bloody Valentine are so loud, and so transporting, and so consuming, that you can’t even think. You have to just surrender. That was a true experience. I saw one production of Tristan and Isolde at La Scala in Milan, too, and it had Ian Storey the Welsh tenor, he played Tristan, and Waltraud Maier who was probably the greatest Isolde… It was the perfect storm of greatness, beauty, creation. I was so swept away that never for a moment did I stray.

AB: Whilst there is today more and more art for us to consume, it seems like this experience of true sensory rapture isn’t an everyday occurrence.

PS: No. But I think some people are more able to succumb than others. Personally, I’m such an observer that I find it hard because I always feel outside of everything. Probably because I work all the time.

AB: What about in the case of visual exhibitions, visual art? I wanted to ask about your recent exhibition of photographs alongside paintings by Vanessa Bell, which just closed in London at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

PS: I had donated some photographs to [Dulwich] some years ago, because I had done a performance at the farmhouse, at Charleston in East Sussex [where Bell lived and worked for many years alongside her partner Duncan Grant and sister Virginia Woolf] and I did a version of The Waves, cut it with some of my own work, basically to show how modern Woolf was. Because I found some of it was just so visceral and beautiful that I wanted to take a different tact. I read it out as if I was reading my own work. But you know, I don’t have an English accent and I thought: do I really attempt to read Virginia Woolf with my harsh New Jersey accent?! And then I tried it on my own and I felt very comfortable with the language. It felt familiar. In any case I did this performance and they allowed me to take a lot of photographs and I took a lot of photos of Monk House and how it related to Virginia and Vanessa. I took images of a lot of things, including their library; the pitted mirror that Virginia watched her mother die in because she couldn’t look directly at her so she looked through the mirror; Duncan Grant’s paintbrushes… and then they wanted to show them and they asked for some other photographs. At first I said, I don’t want to seem like I’m comparing myself to Vanessa Bell, but the curators wanted to display the works [Bell’s paintings and Smith’s photographs] together. I was pleased that they’d want to show them together.

AB: So you felt a kind of kinship with the family.

PS: I studied so much about [Bell] and all of them and the Bloomsbury group and Lytton Strachey… I felt like I knew them all, the children, the Bells and the Woolfs. And the pictures that I took — again, the same thing. My camera’s very limited, it’s a simple Polaroid camera with no tricks. It’s the kind of camera people used to take photos of their children at Christmas or at Easter to document their party dresses. And I can’t take close-ups, there’s only a certain range to this camera. So the pictures are somewhat modest, and they’re black and white in a very colourful world, but not long after I saw a whole photo-spread in some magazine of the same house and the same things done with the best cameras and I thought, my pictures are so obscure in comparison, but I’m happy with them. They’re intimate, and they come with an intimate knowledge of the subject.

But I struggle to take my pictures, they don’t come easily, unless I’m lucky. Sometimes I’m lucky, and something very idiosyncratic from the camera, some strange light, some strange light source that gives it a certain spirit or just that there’s a certain grain to the image that gives it a a kind of humility… but I like taking pictures. I’ve been taking pictures since the 60s. I don’t really have any technical skills. But I’ve known a lot about the history of photography since I was very young. I love nineteenth-century photography because I loved Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs when I was younger. I also really loved French portraiture, Nadar.

 

Source: Mark Seliger.

 

AB: I love what you say about even in photography there being some capacity for contingency. Some stain of the material. That counters the idea of photography being an act of violence, absolutely possessing it’s subject..seizing it and freezing it, and making it immobile. I’m getting a sense from you that photography has just as much this frailty of humanity.

PS: My goals taking photographs are simple. When Robert took photographs he wanted to be innovative, he wanted to break boundaries, he wanted to elevate photography as an art form. For me, I take photographs to see what I want to see.

AB: It’s like that principle, perhaps a better takeaway from the legacy of the creative writing workshop: write what you want to read.

PS: Exactly. You could say I’m the biggest self-entertainer, because my goal, first of all, is that I feel that it’s good. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t recognised. I don’t take photographs for accolades or attention. I take photographs because I’m compelled to take them, No.1, but also because they’re relics, or souvenirs, of a certain moment, of a certain place, of a certain piece of architecture or someone’s gravesite, a child’s face, but in terms of the final goal, perhaps it is to be over someone’s desk. To be what someone chooses to look at when they’re concentrating, or wanting to daydream… different disciplines you have different desires.

AB: What about in rock and roll?

PS: In terms of rock and roll, yes we wanted to do something different, we wanted to do something new, but our goals were perhaps more revolutionary. With photography I don’t feel that. I have no intention to shock or change the world. They’re offerings. I’m very privileged to travel a lot because when you have a tour with a rock and roll band you might visit 40 cities in 40 days. In these forty cities which I helped to design the course of myself I might have chosen some of them because I have a goal… I want to go to Yorkshire, I want to go to this part of Morocco because Jean Genet’s buried there, or I want to see a certain statue or a Brancusi… so I go and find them and photograph them. Because when you’re performing… the way I perform is not preservable, I’m a very in-the-moment kind of performer, a very flawed performer, but I stay in the moment with the audience. We’re not theatre, we don’t have any great visuals, we don’t have anything like that… but it’s about connection, it’s very social. But writing, and taking photographs, depends on solitude. So taking photographs on the road gives me an hour, a couple of hours of solitude within a very public forum. I slip away and go to the Montparnasse cemetery and visit Beckett, or visit the certain people that I want to visit. Sometimes I take a photograph, or there’s a certain piece of Bauhaus architecture, or I want to photograph the Guggenheim in Bilbao… so I go away and do that and feel a certain sense of accomplishment. Because I perform for others, I don’t really perform for myself. Taking photographs… I do it for myself. And if I do something that I think is particularly nice, I’ll print it, and I’ll offer it.

AB: So even if it begins as a solitary act, it ends up being this relational gesture.

PS: In performing, you have a great responsibility. Maybe to a hundred people, maybe to a thousand people. At Glastonbury, it could be to 100,000 people. But you have the same responsibility for the trajectory of the night, for the audience hopefully to have a transformative experience. That’s your responsibility, that’s your job. When I’m off photographing by myself, I don’t have any responsibility to anyone. I might have a vague responsibility to the subject… but it’s completely different. It’s very strange to me that a person like me should have these two sets of vocations… some being very public, and some being dependent on complete solitude.

AB: It’s rare, to have those two sides of the coin.

PS: I always imagined myself as a writer, but never a performer. The performing… seemed like some kind of natural evolution. I did not choose to be a performer, it really chose me, and thankfully, because of it, I got to travel the world, I met so many different people in my travels, I took all of these photographs and felt that our band or the work that we did had meaning to so many different people. But still, after all these years I think: how could it be that I could have two completely opposite sets of vocations? Because I’m not a very social person — I’m pretty much a loner. So it’s an interesting duality. No one is more baffled by it by myself.

AB: But it’s great that it continues to surprise you, that it’s not premeditated.

PS: Absolutely not premeditated. I would never have put myself through so schizophrenic a vocational existence! I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an artist, but coming from a lower middle class family and not having very high hopes of any elevated higher education, because I wasn’t a prodigy or academically gifted enough to get a scholarship, was hard. So what did I imagine for myself? I imagined that I might end up being a teacher. Because I felt that I could do that. I felt comfortable talking, I felt that I could teach a class on Moby Dick, I thought, or on art history… and that’s a kind of performance. It’s that element within me. I wasn’t disciplined enough to fulfil all of the necessary requirements to be a teacher because there’s so many tedious things one has to achieve in order to do so. I did go to a special teacher’s college for a while but I failed. I mean, I don’t know how to swim, so I failed swimming and square dancing, as well as aspects of higher biology and trigonometry. All I wanted was to teach art history.

AB: Square dancing was on the syllabus?

PS: And swimming. In any event, I never completed that course. But when I had to do student teaching, for instance, which was a requirement of the second year, I did great. I loved my students, I related to them… I was very young, I was only a teenager myself. But that I think that aspect of myself which wanted primarily to connect… I didn’t become a teacher, but that same thing, that kernel popped in a different way and I became a performer. That’s the only thing I can trace it to.

AB: It’s something about that transmission of knowledge and privileging communication.

PS: Yes, very similar goals. As a teacher you would hopefully create an atmosphere where people could learn and transcend and feel good about themselves. All the things you want people to feel as they leave the festival, or the concert hall.

AB: Yes. If people aren’t really buying CDs anymore then live music, performance, going to see live performances, seems to have boomed in the last twenty years.

PS: I still think that people are listening to music. It’s just that the way music is distributed and disseminated is different. When I was young, when records came out… you had to pay for them. The only music you got for free was if you heard a song you liked on the radio. If the song was obscure, or if there was an album you particularly liked… Blonde on Blonde, again, for example, you had to buy it because otherwise the only thing you were going to hear was ‘Rainy Day Women’, or, wait, that wasn’t Bob… In any case you had to buy the album, you loved the album, you listened to it over and over…

AB: You listened to it in the right order, too.

PS: Well, if you didn’t like the Ringo song you skipped over the Ringo song. In any case CDs were objects. It’s like when stories become books and they’re objects. Music became records in these wonderful record covers and they were objects to cherish… and today, a lot of it is abstract. You’re streaming it and there’s no art or there might be art but you have to download it separately… and again I’m not criticising it, because this is the times we’re living in and this is… you know, as T.S. Eliot said, each generation must translate for themselves. One can’t criticise how each generation chooses to form their culture. But one can help, or hopefully, help guide, or be a warner. Still one can speak. But in the end… I remember when I thought CDs were terrible. But now, I love my CDS. I have a little CD player and I love listening to them. But it took me twenty years to get used to the CDs and now no one’s taking my CDs away. Well nobody would want them probably. I don’t know.

AB: There is something about having a physical collection.

PS: You can look at them. You can hold them. You’re making a choice. I look at them and think, I want to hear this Maria Callas aria and I take my little box of Puccini arias and I play my aria that I want to hear. It’s more deliberate. Yes it’s changed and I can remember with great love having record albums and putting them on and waiting 18 minutes and then having to lift up the arm and turning it over, but at this point I don’t mourn that. I still know that I can listen to a Jimi Hendrix record on CD and love it but then somebody will have a record player and play it and you’ll get this pleasurable shiver of recognition and be like: That’s what it sounded like. But I try not to be too judgmental, because I was very judgmental. Even ten years ago, five years ago, very judgmental. And I don’t want to be in perpetual mourning for old forms. I can’t change any of that. But what I can just do is sit back and do my own thing. Go to Rockaway, look in my ragged garden, look at all my wildflowers. Put on Tristan and Isolde, real loud, and sit and listen to it. And then it doesn’t really matter how people are listening to their music. I know how I’m listening to mine.