From aristocratic lineage to convent school, stardom to attempted suicide, junkie to punk, folk singer to torch chanteuse, Marianne Faithfull has seen her life flash by in banner headlines.
Author Mark Hodkinson says, “When I undertook the…book I did not properly grasp the magnitude of the life Marianne had lived. I was born after she released her first record, and my main cultural frame of reference was punk and new wave. I was a little dismissive of her generation. Much of the music was blues-based, which I saw as derivative and formulaic. I failed to recognise that, regardless of where the music originated, the concept of young people and pop music was so new – the recording process, the marketing, the idolatry, the travelling, the media enthrallment, and then the speedy acceptance of the format as a true and valid art form.
“Marianne was a pioneer, especially as a girl in a male-dominated world, and she was denied the shelter of falling within a group format. Was anyone at such a young age truly prepared for that kind of attention, that kind of test? If she, and many more, went a bit dotty or suffered various degrees of damage, who would be surprised?
“At times it can feel as if there is no cultural or historical figure of the last century, possibly longer, who is not ultimately interwoven with her story: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch to Jimmy Savile; William Burroughs to Will Self; Jim Morrison to Heinrich Himmler; Kate Moss to Francis Bacon; Christopher Walken to Cecil Beaton; Nick Cave to Robert Mitchum; Bob Dylan to Sid Vicious. That these disparate figures should be linked through merely one person seems absurd, but it is an absurd story, an absurd life.”
Researched through over 50 interviews with her family, former lovers and friends, As Years Go By reveals the truth behind the headlines, the person behind the profile. Updated and extensively revised by one of the UK’s most acclaimed writers, it is a candid, illuminating account of an endearing yet misunderstood artist.
Mark Hodkinson is an acclaimed journalist, author and broadcaster. He has written for The Times for many years, three as a columnist, and made several radio documentaries for BBC Radio 4. He owns the independent publishing house, Pomona Books.
Length: 376 pages
French rights available.