MARIANNE FAITHFULL: I have had this recurring dream that I am in a dark wooded forest with dripping trees and I am walking up a hill, like I am going into battle. I am a foot soldier walking in the midst of this scene.
ABE GURKO: What are you wearing?
MARIANNE: Foot soldier gear… armor. I’m actually not sure if I’m wearing armor, I think I’m wearing medieval clothes.
ABE: That’s kind of fabulous.
MARIANNE: Yes. And I am definitely going into battle, walking up this hill. It’s how I get through life.
ABE: Plodding up hill?
MARIANNE: Yeah. Don’t you?
ABE: I’m a plodder from way back.
MARIANNE: I’m always hauling myself up in full body armor in the rain, up this fucking hill. And I have my friends with me. I’m not alone.
ABE: At least you’re with people.
MARIANNE: Yeah, it’s a bloody war after all. But I am with people that I trust with my life.
ABE: Can you remember anyone in particular who’s with you?
MARIANNE: It could be you. We’re all under helmets! And it is dark and only lit by firelight, but they’re all my friends. It’s a small group.
MARIANNE: I am either going towards the battle and other times escaping it. I think it has a lot to do with my mother and father. Because of the Second World War, both of my parents were actually involved; my mother worked under cover in Austria helping Jewish families escape, and my father was a spy. I always felt like that– like I was just crawling out, even as a little child, from under the rubble. I do feel that life is a battle. That I cannot win.
ABE: What? I mean, anyone else would think that you have won. You do know that, right
MARIANNE: Oh, I know, I know.
ABE: I had the grossest dream last night that woke me up in a cold sweat.
MARIANNE: What was it?
ABE: I mean it is so gross; I can’t even talk about it.
MARIANNE: Oh, come on, man.
ABE: OK, so I am hosting a party for the fabulii and people were starting to arrive, so I quickly went to the bathroom, and whoever was in there last had made such a disgusting mess. I mean the grossest. I didn’t know what to do because if I went to find a staff person to clean it, I was afraid that people would see me leaving the bathroom and think it was my mess. I was so freaked out that I started cleaning it up by myself. And it was really gross. And I was cleaning up all this grossness. It woke me up in horror. I immediately googled “dreams with shit.”
MARIANNE: What did it say?
ABE: It said, “You are not alone, lots of people have dreams with feces which means that you are feeling out of control. Or you are having money issues.”
MARIANNE: I am sure everyone has that kind of dream in one form or another.
ABE: I guess. But it was really intense.
MARIANNE: I had a couple of wild dreams, really crazy dreams when I first got clean and sober in the late Eighties. One of my biggest worries was if I couldn’t drink—and I think everyone gets this—if you can’t drink, you won’t be able to write. If you can’t take the pain you won’t be able to create, that kind of thing. I was really worried about, it. One night I had a dream, in the early ages of sobriety, and this might sound really corny but I was in a beautiful garden and it was daylight, and these tall, seven foot, shining people, who one could call angels, but you don’t have to, but they were really special. They were rather pre-Raphaelite. They just looked very grand.
ABE: What were they wearing?
MARIANNE: They were dressed in a sort of flowy Roman style.
ABE: Like Madame Gres-ish?
MARIANNE: Yes, I guess you can say Madame Gres, but they were men, and wearing beautiful sandals, and they all had wreaths in their long hair.
ABE: That sounds hot.
MARIANNE: The two of them were holding a huge, beautifully bound leather book, and in it were all the songs that I had yet to write—and I wasn’t allowed to read it! They wouldn’t show me the actual words; they just showed me the book and quickly leafed through the pages. The titles were very alluring, but I couldn’t really read them. They kept turning the pages too quickly.
ABE: So they were like creative cock teasing you.
MARIANNE: I was very relieved because I could not write at that time after treatment. Anyway, they were right, and all of the great songs I was going to write from then till now, actually exist. They existed in that book. And I breathed a sigh of relief.
ABE: So they were your muses.
MARIANNE: They really were.
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