Strange life of a doomed groupie

NICO’S STORY TOLD IN NEW BOOK

A German model known as Nico who was nearly six feet tall and had the baritone voice of a man bedded some of the biggest rock and movie stars of the 1960s.

“She acquired the reputation of a gothic Garbo or punk Dietrich, by turns mysterious and aloof,” writes Ian Thompson in The Guardian.

Nico had affairs and serious relationships with Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Andy Warhol, and French film star Alain Delon. She also is said to have had lesbian affairs with French actress Jeanne Moreau and fashion icon Coco Chanel.

After a glamorous, weird, heroin-addicted life, Nico died relatively unknown in 1988 after falling off a bicycle and hitting her head. She was 49.Nico bedded rock stars

Her story has been told in a new book ‘You Are Beautiful And You Are Alone: The Biography Of Nico’ by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike.

She was born Christa Päffgen in Cologne in 1938. Her father was killed in the war when she was four. The little girl and her mother struggled to survive in a small flat in Berlin as bombs exploded all around them.

In 1954 at the age of 16 she changed her name to Nico and moved to Paris to become a fashion model, appearing in such glossy mags as Vogue.

When she was 21 she met the Italian film director Federico Fellini who gave her a cameo role in his film ‘La Dolce Vita.’ Other small roles followed, during which Nico had affairs with Alain Delon, and a relationship with Jeanne Moreau.

In New York she hung out with Andy Warhol, who produced the debut album of Lou Reed’s band The Velvet Underground and worked her into the album as the lead vocalists on three tracks.

Nico bedded rock stars
Nico and Lou Reed

The album, ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico,’ was panned by critics because of its lurid lyrics on sadomasochism and drug abuse, but in later years it was regarded as one of the most influential rock albums ever.

Nico’s 1968 solo album ‘The Marble Index’ was praised for its “doom-laden, Germanic atmospherics and dirge-like harmonium playing.”

Nico spent the last years of her life in squalid flats in London and Manchester, venturing outside in a long black cape and biker boots.

“Her days were often spent in bed, shooting up, or trying to score drugs,” writes the book’s author, as reported by Tom Leonard in the Daily Mail.

Her death was as offbeat as her life. While on vacation on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, she fell off her bike and hit her head, and died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Her life was characterized by doom and gloom. A friend once described living in Nico’s house as like “living in a funeral parlour.”

Nico bedded rock stars


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Val Kilmer Forever

Documentary

‘Batman Forever’ star Val Kilmer has been documenting his life on video for the past 40 years and the result is so good it will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The festival opened July 6 and runs through July 17.

The film, simply titled ‘Val,’ was made from thousands of hours of footage that Kilmer shot himself, including 16mm home movies of his childhood and behind-the-scenes clips from his movies, including ‘Top Gun,’ ‘The Doors’ and ‘Batman Forever.’

The home movies were also shot by Kilmer’s younger brother Wesley, who had epilepsy. Wesley drowned in a jacuzzi in 1977 when he was 15.

His life story

“I have behaved poorly,” Kilmer says of his life. “I have behaved bravely, bizarrely to some. I see myself as a sensitive, intelligent human being but with the soul of a clown.”

That last sentence echoes the words of doomed rocker Jim Morrison who Kilmer played in ‘The Doors.’

Now 61, Kilmer continues his battle with throat cancer which he publicly admitted having in 2017 after trying to keep it quiet.

The documentary is described as “raw, wildly original and unflinching, revealing a life lived to extremes.”

’Val’ will open in theaters on July 23, and begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video on August 6.

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Fifty years ago, the fire went out

 

Jim Morrison collected works

“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.”

Jim Morrison collected works
Jim Morrison and Pam Courson

EVERYTHING HE EVER WROTE IN ONE BOOK

Before his death at the age of 27, the great ‘Light My Fire’ lyricist made notes on what he called ‘Plan for Book’ that he intended to be a collection of his lyrics, poetry and other writings.

A book fulfilling his plan was published last month under the title ‘The Collected Works of Jim Morrison: Poetry, Journals, Transcripts and Lyrics.’

The 600-page volume is the most comprehensive collection of his work ever compiled, including the contents of a Paris notebook he wrote in his last days.

Half the book contains previously unpublished material, including unrecorded lyrics, handwritten excerpts from two dozen recently discovered notebooks, scores of rare family photos and drawings, and ‘Wilderness: The Lost Writings Of Jim Morrison.’

Jim Morrison collected works

Jim Morison is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The bronze plaque bears the Greek inscription: ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, which translates as “True to his own spirit” or “According to his own demon.”


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