Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Marianne Faithfull

Not long ago, our cable service was upgraded to allow us access to high-speed internet. Until then, we were only able to get wireless access through Clear, which has been pretty good but its variability in data transmission has made it impossible to use the Netflix streaming video.  I tried it once and the video would stop every few minutes. With the upgrade, we also got access to On Demand through Comcast cable.

Now THIS is great. We have access to the latest movies, but I don't use it. I can access tons of free movies, however, and the other day I watched a very interesting one, Irina Palm, starring Marianne Faithfull. All I remembered about her was what I remembered from my own youth, when she was with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. Her Wikipedia page gave me some very interesting information about her that I didn't know. This picture was taken in 2008 when she was performing in Istanbul. But first, a little information about that movie.

It was released in 2007, and Faithfull is in her early sixties and looks it. She's still a handsome woman, if now a little plump and middle-aged. From the Wikipedia link about the movie:
Irina Palm (2007) is a tragicomedy film starring Marianne Faithfull and Miki Manojilovic. It is a co-production of five countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Germany, and France). The film premiered to great acclaim at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival.
I downloaded it from On Demand because of her name, and I had never seen recent pictures of her or anything she had starred in, so it piqued my curiosity. The movie is about a middle-aged woman who can't get a job because of her age and lacks any kind of resume. She wants to earn enough money to send her desperately ill grandson to Australia for a special medical treatment. She wanders into a sex shop in Soho that advertised for a "hostess." Well, she finds out that she is expected to sit on one side of a "glory hole" where a man sticks his penis through a hole and she "wanks him off." In the movie you never see any male skin, but you know just what she's doing. (There's plenty of T&A of women, however.) She becomes very good at it, but she doesn't tell anyone (especially her son and daughter-in-law) how she earns enough money to send him for treatment.

Since she doesn't tell anybody where she got the money, the movie revolves around how it's revealed. I won't tell you that part, but there is a scene where she tells her women friends about it, because they just wouldn't stop trying to find out. In this delicious scene, Faithfull's acting carries the day. She tells them that she is now known as "the best right hand in London" and the queue to visit Irina Palm (her pseudonym at the shop) is always quite long.

Once I read the biography of Marianne, I was amazed to find out that she has been indigent more often than not during her life, and that her heavy drug use almost destroyed her. Today, however, she is trying to find some stability and is no longer drinking or using drugs. From Wikipedia:
Recent articles hint Faithfull is looking to retirement, in hopes money from Songs of Innocence and Experience will enable her to live in comfort. The 60-year-old said: "I’m not prepared to be 70 and absolutely broke. I realized last year that I have no safety net at all and I’m going to have to get one. So I need to change my attitude to life, which means I have to put away 10 per cent every year of my old age. I want to be in a position where I don’t have to work. I should have thought about this a long time ago but I didn’t."
She is still writing and performing, and from the information I've discovered about her latest work, I think I'll just head on over to iTunes and get her latest album, mentioned above. I am always fascinated by women who have been to Hell and back and are still going strong.


  1. Lucky she woke up and is turning her life around. My brother wasn't as lucky. He spent 10 years in prison, was a drug addict, and died of Hepatitis C 6 months after his release from prison. What a waste his life was.

  2. She's left it a bit late to starting putting money by....
    Interesting info on the lady though.
    Blessings, Star

  3. This is really different. The film sounds interesting, to say the least. I am always intrigued by strong women. You do know, don't you, that you fall into that category?

  4. I'm so jealous of your ability to get decent services! That's one of the downfalls in living in a small town at the end of the line!

  5. Sounds like a movie I would like. Wonder why it didn't get more publicity? I'm always fascinated by other people's lives and ways of living. Have always been a fan of biographies. Also why I love reading blogs about people's lives.

  6. Already have it queued from Netflix...thanks for the recommend. It sounds interesting. Now I'll be checking out Marianne's music. This reminded me of the new book Belinda Carlisle just wrote called Lips Unsealed...her take on the hell and back story. Great post.

  7. Just FYI, we have pretty fast (18 Mbps) and very reliable Internet service, but Netflix streams still choke sometimes. I think they need to beef up their servers because there are other streaming services, like Amazon, that have never choked on me, even when streaming movies in HD.

  8. Great post, Jan, about an icon of our era. I say, "good for her!"

  9. With all the new possibilities on your TV service you must be in 7th Heaven.

  10. Thanks for this DJan...I always wondered what happened to her...

  11. I still remember her from the Mick Jagger days and I always enjoyed her music. Thanks for the update. I will be checking out the movie and her latest music.

    We have had digital cable and broadband for quite a while, I can't imagine not having this kind of internet speed.

    I don't remember if I told you but my hubby took extra days off from work last weekend. We just hung out and finished up some chores around the house. I really didn't intend to be gone for so long.

  12. I remember when this came out in the movies while I was in Belgium... and I just couldn't get interested enough to go see it. In my defense there were a lot of good movies coming out around the same time, and unlike for you the name Marianne Faithful didn't mean anything to me! :p
    But you've peaked my curiousity and I'll have to check it out some time!


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