The Slap

Who Do You Think You Are? Marianne Faithfull review

Published by jamdog on 18th September, 2013.

 Who Do You Think You Are? Marianne Faithfull review

BBC One

Marianne Faithfull will forever be stigmatised in the public eye as the woman who sodomised Mick Taylor with a Curly Wurly during the infamous Redlands drug bust. Never mind that she had a glittering acting career incorporating such roles as Woman in Street in Screen Two’s Dreaming and Club Singer in George Sluizer’s Crimetime – the man in the street fixates on such puerile ephemera. Now all she gets is Olympic standard patronage from Mojo journalists who pretend to like Broken English. It’s inevitable that Who Do You Think You Are? would buttonhole her now when she’s broken and beat and not when she was one of the untouchable beautifuls who sang, banged, smoked and did what they liked as if they were from the North or somesuch.

Marianne Faithfull will forever be stigmatised in the public eye as the woman who sodomised Mick Taylor with a Curly Wurly during the infamous Redlands drug bust.

If you know your rock history you know she’s lived a little but what about those who came before her? Her crazy depressive alcoholic Austrian mother Eva whose substance abuse foreshadowed Marianne’s own slide into addiction, a woman who would tell her wild stories about being a dancer in Berlin, the Weimar Republic and their family’s aristocratic roots? Yeah, her.

A trip to Berlin turns up photos of Eva von Sacher-Masoch dancing in 1932 in bougie cabaret clubs – sophisticated, left-field, gender bending shockers. But being half-Jewish after Hitler’s ascension meant Berlin was suddenly a very different place for Eva. She fled with her parents back to Austria but when Hitler annexed the country in ‘38 he brought the war to them. Thoughtful of him.

A trip to Berlin turns up photos of Eva von Sacher-Masoch dancing in 1932 in bougie cabaret clubs – sophisticated, left-field, gender bending shockers.

She talks about how she absorbed the loathing of men her mother had from her rape by Red Army soldiers in 1945. Yeah, that’ll do it. Although she married British Army officer Robert Faithfull after the war they divorced when Marianne was 6. Persecuted in Berlin, raped in Vienna, divorced in Reading – Eva never had it easy.

Persecuted in Berlin, raped in Vienna, divorced in Reading – Eva never had it easy.

And yet she still came out slugging. She worked for the Austrian resistance like all the Sacher-Masoch clan. “The amount of bravery, courage and integrity they had is pretty awe-inspiring” says Marianne. She’s happy to have put some meat on the bones of her mother’s stories. Her family’s story is an impressive tale and so is hers in its own way. If you haven’t yet read her memoir Faithfull then do so. She’s an interesting old broad.

The verdict: “No use permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away…”

Marks out of 10: 7

Summary
Reviewer
James Donaghy
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Who Do You Think You Are? Marianne Faithfull
Author Rating
3

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