Keeping it short, because I've essentially been sobbing since I got the news a few hours ago: Jim Marshall, beloved if slightly deranged friend and the greatest music photographer who ever lived or probably ever will, died in his sleep last night.
At some point, I will get it together and write him a full eulogy, because language and music are what I do. But for now, an anecdote about the irascible, grumpy, contentious little genius.
I was over at Jim's Castro flat last year, spending what was supposed to be a couple of hours with Jim, his assistant (and my friend and co-sufferer from MS) Amelia Davis, and Amelia's partner, Bonita Pasarelli. The couple of hours became a full day, and then progressed into a brilliant evening out, arguing fiercely about politics over pasta. Having recognised me from the early seventies (Jesus, he has an eye), he and Amelia headed off into some inner sanctum. When he came back, he dumped a thick stack of proof sheets from the Stones 1972 tour on the table, told me to pick out anything I wanted, and he'd print them for me ("ya hottie!") Keep in mind that a signed shot of Jim's would reasonably expect to begin at around $500 for a common shot; what he was offering me was my choice of shots no one else has, and now never will, hand-printed personally by him, and signed.
My choice was immediate. This shot of Nicky Hopkins hangs, framed, on the wall just to my right as I write. Whenever I need a Kinkaid inspiration, I turn my head; the shot is so vivid, I swear that when something Nicky played on comes on my iTunes, the image of Nicky turns its head slightly.
Jim died in his sleep in New York. He was 74. Amelia - who is head of MS friends and who, like me, suffers from Relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis - is in NYC, shooting a documentary about MS. And I would give a lot to selfishly be able to ease my own ache right now, and be there to help.
What's really killing me is that, sometime next month, I was going to surprise him by dropping over at his flat with an ARC of the third Kinkaid - he was a HUGE fan, and even rang Jason Fine at Rolling Stone to nag him about why he hadn't reviewed them. I was going to tell Jim to look at the dedication page. I was going to watch him be insanely pleased, turn bright red, and offer to take me out for a pork stew and pomegranate dinner.
And right now, my heart is breaking. Rest easy, Jim.
Damn it. DAMN IT.
Causes Deborah Grabien Supports
EMILY's List (early member), Amnesty International (member on two continents for thirty years), Animal Welfare causes (we rescue feral cats), NARAL and...