Some workplaces, we’re led to believe, have a Fantasy Football League. Balans Soho Society has s similar thing only ours is a Fantasy Dinner Party Guests List. It’s horses for courses. The list does tend to change so often and so quickly, however, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. A name pops up one week and you think, ‘ooh, they’d be fun sitting next to so and so. I wonder how they’d get on with her..?’ and before we know it there’s a whole new list being worked on. There’s one name that remains constant, however, one person with whom we would love to break bread any day of the week – the extraordinary Marianne Faithful.
In 1964, looking, as she was described at the time, ‘like an angel with big tits’, the young Marianne attended a Rolling Stones party in London where she was spotted by their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. He was responsible for the beginning of her singing career, even though she would later complain she was used simply ‘as something you can make into something’. She had hit records – most notably with a Jagger/Richards song, ‘As Tears Go By’ and went on to make albums, act in movies and perhaps most famously, emerge from a drugs raid on Keith Richard’s house wearing nothing but a rabbit-fur rug and clutching a Mars Bar. Now there’s a story to tell your grandkids…
Sadly, her personal issues including heroin addiction, anorexia and alcoholism overshadowed her career somewhat although as a result of her persistent drug use and an especially severe bout of laryngitis her singing voice developed a deep ‘whiskey-soaked’ timbre that has helped convey the painfully raw emotion she expresses in her music. Having made the brilliant Grammy-nominated ‘Broken English’ in 1979 she has continued to make albums and act and she’s about to release her 21st album, ‘Negative Capability’ recorded with Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis and PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis. Younger artists wanting to work with her have long been attracted as much by her history as by her talent, something she appears to feel is totally unsurprising. ’I’ve got all the stories’ she says… We bet she has.