I'll Never Write My Memoirs (英語) ペーパーバック – 2016/6/16
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Born in 1948 into a family of ministers in Kingston, Jamaica, the statuesque and strikingly beautiful Grace Jones lived with her family in Syracuse, NY, before launching a career as a model in New York City. Gaining fame as the cover girl for such publications as Vogue and Elle, Jones's flamboyant look proved to be a hit on the New York City nightclub circuit and she became a darling of the disco scene, which led to a recording contract and a substantial following among gay men. With her sexually charged, outrageous live shows, Grace soon earned the title of 'Queen of the Gay Discos.' When she moved to Paris in 1970, the French fashion scene embraced her unusual, androgynous looks and, in addition to cover work, she dominated the runways of designers like Yves St. Laurent and befriended the likes of Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld. While there, she shared an apartment with Jerry Hall and Jessica Lange and became artist Jean-Paul Goude's muse - he also fathered her son Paulo. (Grace was married twice - to a producer and a bodyguard - and she dated Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren for four years.) But with the dawn of the '80s came a massive anti-disco movement across the U.S., leading to Grace Jones focusing on more new wave and experimental-based work, putting her 21/2 octave voice to good use. She is as known for her unique look as she is for her music and has influenced the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Annie Lennox. In the book, Grace takes us on a journey from her religious upbringing in Jamaica to her heyday in Paris and New York in the 70s and 80s, all the way to present-day London, where she is working on a new album.
Grace Jones is a model-singer-actress as beloved for her films and music as she is for her eccentric personal style. Born in Jamaica in 1948, Jones began her career modeling in New York City before landing her first record deal in 1977.
It has a strong start with her youth in Jamaica, and the strict, oppressive upbringing she experienced there. The writing in the first few chapters is fascinating, especially concerning the history of Spanish Town and just the history of Jamaica in general. These and the chapters toward the end are the most cohesive and easy to follow. Toward the middle, I had trouble staying interested, and it is NOT because Ms. Jones's life is boring. Far from it! But the lack of focus and scattershot storytelling makes for a sometimes confusing read. People are named once and then mentioned again several paragraphs later and you've already forgotten who they are. I suspect that this content was dictated and transcribed later, and the writer had difficulty maintaining Ms. Jones's vibrant speaking style with print.
The book is fascinating and definitely soul-baring. The high cost of staying true to one's artistic vision is unpacked but never lamented - Ms. Jones definitely wishes she had made a few different choices, but she has lived her life on her terms and no one else's, with all the triumphs and regrets that entails. However, Ms. Jones is so deeply entrenched in that artistic vision that translating it into ideas accessible to others creates a challenge, and I think therein lies the book's weakness.
Overall, I enjoyed this work. If you are interested in Grace Jones even a little, you should read this book. If you are interested in the life of an artist, or the history of Studio 54, or fashion or art, you should read this book. If you have little patience for artistic temperaments, then you should probably give it a pass.
Several places through this book caught me by surprise and had me laughing, there's a bit of wit here and there that's a joy to read. There are some things you may not want to read, such as Grace's sulky reaction to Duran Duran winning an award over her filmed show, and then not being invited to the after awards party. Why would either of those matter, if she is truly as above-it-all and blase as her persona suggests? But that's part of the charm of this book which is Jones as she is, without worries over whether she will offend this reader or that celebrity. She learned an important lesson in signing autographs from Andy Warhol, and I think that's a good summary of the book with the life that one should live.
Most of us spend our whole lives trying not to offend anyone, to conform to not be noticed, and to finish our lives not having made any impact or mark at all. Read this memoir and discover that there is another way to view life, as a delight to surprise yourself and others. Grace Jones could have spent her life in a small village in Jamaica. She followed her bliss and the world is better for it.