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      culture i-D Staff 14 June 2017

      ​remembering the iconic anita pallenberg

      With the sad news of Anita Pallenberg's passing, we look back to a conversation she had in i-D's Supernatural Issue, back in 1998, with her partner-in-crime Marianne Faithfull. A model, actress and muse, Anita was admired by many, and embodied the swinging 60s. From her influence on The Rolling Stones, to her role in the controversial and highly-acclaimed Performance, her legacy certainly won't be forgotten.

      How do you feel about the renaissance of public interest in you both over recent months?
      M: I think it's quite charming and that's why I agreed to do this.

      You seem to have been thrown together as friends through circumstance. Do you think that you are similar or is it just that you've just shared many experiences?
      M: I have a feeling we might have chosen each other anyway. In fact. we were chosen by men to be their partners because they were always busy recording. We were together because we weren't busy (laughs).
      A: We hung out a lot so we got busy dressing up, getting stoned. talking and having a wonderful time. But I'm not so sure they chose us. I think we chose them!
      M: Anita's theory is that we chose them as our pupils. We were their teachers and they had to learn. We put them through the University of Life.
      A: I don't think that any man chooses the woman, she always does the choosing. It's in the genes and the biological make up. The time clock and all that shit. I really believe that.
      M: My choices in men have never been that great. But it's such an enduring friendship that it's obviously been more than just circumstance. If it had been, when those relationships were over it would have been, 'Bye bye, baby. See ya!" What I see is our little friends -- like little Kate (Moss) and little Meg (Matthews) and all those girls -- seeing that they still find it so fascinating that we love each other so much. It must sort of cheer them up and mean something. I don't know what -- just that friendship does last.

      You must have shared many experiences?
      M: We certainly did -- and not just the Rolling Stones either.
      A: Other men as well (laughs).
      M: No, no, no, we won't go into that (laughs) -- I just thought you ought to know that. No, not just men; clothes, drugs, men, cars, servants, houses, friends, the lot.

      The film Performance in which Anita starred has become a cult classic and people see it as a window into the type of lifestyle you had in the 60s. Did it really reflect your life?
      A: No, not really.
      M: That's what annoys me. people think that. I mean, if you could see Anita when she gets in at four in the morning, eating a bowl of Frosties.
      A: Certainly not what we were doing in Performance.

      So it was a caricature?
      A: It was much more about Donald Cammell's (Performance's director) life than ours.
      M: Donald's fantasy of Anita's life -- which wasn't necessarily true.
      A: But it wasn't so far removed from reality in that I wrote most of the lines myself. Our lives are a bit like that. but one things for sure; I would never have taken a man like that into my house and asked for rent (laughs).

      "At the time, we were not considered icons. These days you hear the news that one of the Spice Girls is engaged on TV. There was not this kind of media bombardment" - Anita

      Marianne, your autobiography is obviously more true to life.
      M: Well, some of it is and some of it was bullshit. I did what I could but I'll never be happy with it because I'm a perfectionist. There were some brilliant chapters and some that I simply can't bear to read because they make me cringe. That's part of the gap between the reality and the myth. I find the reality more fascinating than the corny stuff. But it wasn't commercial. It was never going to sell as many copies as OJ Simpson Fucks His Wife. So I didn't sell out completely.

      You're so strongly associated with the 60s. Is this a millstone?
      M: No. I always say that it was a really special time. It wasn't an illusion. Sorry, but it's true. I had a fantastic time and I'm really glad that I was alive right then.

      How does 90s London compare with the London of the 60s?
      M: Well. I'm not around a lot because I live in Dublin but I do see similarities and the magic ingredient is being young and ready for anything. If you have a talent it helps, but it's not necessary.

      You seem to spend a lot of time with the younger generation. Do you think girts like Kate and Naomi are the modem day equivalents to yourselves in terms of being icons?
      A: At the time, we were not considered icons. These days you hear the news that one of the Spice Girls is engaged on TV. We didn't get anything like that. There was not this kind of media bombardment. We were on our own and then there was the aftermath. It all came later. At the time. I felt pretty much on my own really.

      How clothes obsessed are you Anita? You studied at Central Saint Martins quite recently and you're both always spotted at shows.
      M: We love clothes.
      A: For me, it's a passion. For Marianne, she's more of a label freak.
      M: I buy the designer stuff but Anita's more of an original.
      A: I like secondhand shopping.
      M: Which is actually much harder to do. (Turns to Anita) I saw you going out to that i-D party last night. Did you see her?
      A: Yes. Did you like my hat?
      M: Not just the hat, the whole thing. She put it together in a second. It would have taken me a day.

      Where do you shop?
      M: I have friends that give me clothes.
      A: When I feel the compulsion coming on. I hunt around secondhand shops and if I don't find anything, I'll go to Office to buy a pair of shoes and get rid of the compulsion.
      M: Oh. come on madame! You do occasionally score the most charming Rifat Ozbek.
      A: Yes but secondhand! (laughs).

      What were the main clothes shops for you in the 60s?
      A: Granny Takes a Trip on Kings Road. Hung on You. Mr Freedom and Biba. Although you had to look like Twiggy.
      M: I always thought the sales staff there were very rude there.
      A: So we'd just walk out with the clothes.
      M: Well l didn't, because I was always getting told off by Mick for my clothes bills.

      You've almost got a new career as models. It seems every time I open a magazine there are pictures of you on the catwalk at some fashion show or with Kate Moss. Then there's the shoot you did with Bruce Weber for W?
      M: My favourite one is of Kate and me at the Versace thing. (Adopts cockney accent) Or 'Versase!' Ain't that how you say it love? (laughs) In the picture I'm holding up my hand and it looks as if it should say; 'Just say no'. I think they're a laugh those things.

      "I think they should legalise it all and everybody should be allowed to do what they want, but I personally wouldn't want to" - Marianne

      Finally, I'd like to ask you what you think of the 'heroin chic' lad. You've both suffered because of drugs during your life.
      M: I think the whole drug culture has been a complete disaster. It was a big disappointment to me. It's just not worth it. I think they should legalise it all and everybody should be allowed to do what they want, but I personally wouldn't want to.

      So you have regrets?
      M: I don't have regrets but I could have got a lot more done without them. It was a block and a handicap. I could have done my work better. I would be better at it now. I would be able to concentrate longer. I think heroin particularly is a big waste of time. I just don't believe in it. It was a con.
      A: I think that we had much better quality stuff in those days.
      M: People just end up washed out, burnt out has-beens. Which I do not really consider myself to be, but it was close.

      What were your motives? Was it an anaesthetic?
      M: Yes, I was feeling so much pain I couldn't bear it. 

      Anita, you seem a bit quiet on the subject.
      A: Well. I'm not so black and white. but if you're happy with yourself you wouldn't do it. It's like going down 20.000 feet in a submarine or bungee jumping or something. Why would anyone want to do that? It's a death wish.
      M: Don't ever be tempted, child. Consider we did it for you and it wasn't so great. 


      Text Kate Law

      Photography by Luke Foreman

      Styling by Guy Hipwell

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      Topics:culture, anita pallenberg, marianne faithfull, the rolling stones, model, muse, the supernatural issue

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