Marianne – a survivor of the 60s

PA Photo/Handout
PA Photo/Handout

It could never be said that Marianne Faithfull isn’t a survivor.

The excesses of the Sixties, heroin addiction, homelessness, cancer and the broken back she sustained in 2013 haven’t been able to stop her. More recently, she fractured her hip during a holiday in Greece, and while that has slowed her down a little Faithfull carries on regardless, always putting her music first.

For her current hip ailment, she can’t take strong painkillers – an unfortunate by-product of her past dependencies - so instead, has to grin and –ear it in her Paris flat, with nothing more potent than paracetamol for comfort.

“I can’t even smoke,” she adds, “I gave up completely with the help of some nicotine patches, and now use nothing but an e-cigarette.” Other than a pretty heavy “salt habit”, Faithfull is virtually viceless. Still, it could be worse. She could be in London, answering journalists’ questions.

“I hate London,” she says. It’s a shame, given she’s one of the people most synonymous with the city in its swinging heyday. But then that’s presumably the reason she can’t stand the UK capital; all the baggage that comes with being there.

“I have happy memories of London, too,” she says. “My son lives there, my grandchildren are there, I’ve got friends there, but the press do torment me. To the point where if I’m writing a song and I have a memory of the Sixties that I want to include, I’ll leave it out and not use it. It’s more trouble than it’s worth.”

London is at the forefront of Faithfull’s mind at the moment, for a very specific reason. Her new album is called Give My Love To London. To mark its release, she’s embarking on a world tour, and later this year will release Marianne Faithfull: A Life On Record, a collection of photographs taken throughout her career.