“When I was fifteen I salvaged a large oval mirror from an abandoned shed and set it against the wall of my room. I’d sit there for hours pressing my hand against the glass, trying desperately to assess who it was that was staring back. For a reference I taped two images to its surface. A still from Funny Face—Audrey Hepburn in black beatnik garb and white socks. Fashionwise, that was tops. And a Blue Period Picasso—a melancholy harlequin—angular, alien, not unlike myself.
It was 1962. A time when roles were rigidly assigned. The boys had Bond and Brando. They beat off to Bardot. The girls had the pale range of Doris Day to Sandra Dee. All through childhood I resisted the role of a confused skirt tagging the hero. Instead, I was searching for someone crossing the gender boundaries, someone both to be and to be with. I never wanted to be Wendy—I was more like Peter Pan. This was confusing stuff. (…)”
Patti Smith on the poets and pop stars who rescued her from teenage hell