CULTURE

Marianne Faithfull: Happy at last

She was a pop star by the age of 17, a mother at 18, Mick Jagger?s girl at 19 and a homeless heroin addict in London?s Soho by her 30s.

She is now 64, living in Paris, though her son, a writer and journalist, insists on trying to persuade her to move back to London.

Faithfull is not a fan of interviews. Ours was scheduled for 5 p.m. on May 20. We ended up talking for 20 minutes. During our conversation she noted that while in Athens for a concert at the Lycabettus Theater on Tuesday, June 7, she will not be visiting the city sites like the rest of the band members. ?I have a lot of promo to do,? she said.

So what brings you to Greece this time round?

I?m on tour promoting my new album. I have a fantastic band accompanying me. And I have come up with a terrific show.

?Horses and High Heels? is the name of the album. Are you always satisfied with your albums when you leave the studio?

Yes and no. You always spot things which could have been better. But I can say that I am pleased with this album.

There?s a joyful song, finally, in this album. Does that mean that you are happy at last?

I am happy. It?s been a while now. It?s something which was meant to happen. It was time.

What?s different now?

The crisis issue doesn?t concern me very much. I?m sorry to see all that is going on in the world, but on a personal level I have no investments at the bank and I didn?t buy houses. We are making less money that we used to before everything came tumbling down, but I?m managing. I?m not rich, but I?m not that poor either. I love my friends, my band, I love being on tour. I have no complaints.

One of the songs on the album is about eternity and death. You also faced a health issue. Is there some kind of paradox in this case?

Death and eternity go together. You have to go through death to reach eternity. There is no other way of looking at life.

What cities are you drawn to nowadays? You spend a lot of time between Paris and Dublin.

I enjoy being in Paris. I also have a small place in Ireland which I call home. I work very hard. I spend a lot of time away. I learned to enjoy life on the road. I didn?t like it in the past. It?s a tough job but I do like it. Musicians love being at home. Because that?s the only place where you can be yourself. When you?re on the road you just pretend to be someone else.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph you mentioned that your mission these days is life. Can you explain this?

It?s the only way to describe how I feel. It?s easier to write about pain and loss than joy and happiness. That?s reality. I went through a lot of difficult moments in order to be able to relax and enjoy the present; to be able to live my life now.

You also penned a new autobiography. It?s not something I expected to see. What did you leave out?

I hope it was a good idea. I wasn?t sure of it myself. But I felt liberated. Above all, because I got rid of all my past feelings. Not all of them at once. It took a while.

Heaven and hell coexist on earth. Is that how you see things?

I read William Blake and that?s how I got the idea of eternity. But it also reflects my own experience as well. We might go through awful periods, through hell, and not be affected at all. If that?s how you see things. If we see things this way everything seems different.

Has your relationship with journalists improved at all?

I despise journalists. Not all of them of course, there are some decent people. But it?s incredible how much trash I?ve read about myself throughout the years. It?s true that a lot of people don?t like me. But then again I do not exist for everyone to like me.