People Watching: Edie Sedgwick

edie and andy On a recent flight I got to watch Factory Girl where Sienna Miller plays Edie. I have read interviews with David J of Bauhaus and with the authors of Girl On Fire a book about Edie. She had been on the periphery of my mental landscape for a long time — I think my first conscious recognition of her coming in the Cult song Edie (Ciao, Baby). She is held to be the inspiration for Dylan’s Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat, Just Like A Woman and even Like A Rolling Stone. And Femme Fatale by the Velvet Underground is for her too. The film, which was labelled by The Village Voice as “Edie for dummies” does a great job of showing someone who starts of as a shining star that the world seems to orbit around and her eventual fall from the firmament. The drugs break her, the treatment from Andy Warhol does her no favours, but perhaps it is the secret marriage of Dylan to Sara Lownds that did it. Who knows? It is sad that these figures, when their story is told, are always cast as someone who it was bound to happen to — that it was written in the stars for them. There is no reason why it had happen to Edie just as there are countless others who should have been spared early deaths. I don’t mean to harp on about it given what  wrote about the 27 club, something Edie missed by a year — she was 28 when she died, but it all seems so unnecessary. You look at her in the photos through the years of her height and her supposed fall and she seems vital, sure you might also perceive what you could call damage but there surely seems enough life there to carry her through. Framing people within this tragic arc that people like to see seems so lazy, so inviting of future tragedy. It is overly simplistic and you lose some of the humanity of the subject. I don’t think the film does that — I came out of it struck, not by the tragic end of Edie but by the great and vital personality that she must have been. If you want to say tragedy because she died it seems that there were other tragedy’s who went on living beyond her. She is iconic but I think she would have preferred not to have to die to do it. What do I know? Looking back through countless obfuscations of rumour that have built up over the years, but it is what I choose to believe. —————- Now playing: Swervedriver – Deep Seat via FoxyTunes

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