I'll Never Write My Memoirs By Grace Jones
'I am disco, but I am also dada.'
Although she would probably never accept the term, Grace Jones is something of a hero to me and I firmly believe that everybody should carry 'a little bit of Grace' around with them, in them, somewhere.
I'll Never Write My Memoirs (as told to journalist and Art of Noise founding member, Paul Morley) is remarkable for allowing the reader unprecedented access into the world of a woman who usually lets her art, her reputation - and the rumour mill - do the talking for her. Even more remarkable is the fact that despite all that the book does reveal, the spell of the mysterious, the strange, the other, remains unbroken. What one really learns is how much single-mindedness has gone into Grace Jones The Artist.
That's not to suggest the book isn't thorough or detailed (it is). However, like Jones herself, structurally it's a bit hard to pin down. This is irksome at first but, with hindsight, I can embrace this as an extension of Jones's modi operandi. There are short chapters (such as the tender 'Andy', about Andy Warhol) inserted between much longer segments that undulate and ruminate, tease and go around in circles before coming to fruition. She is never boring, always interested and for every delicious celebrity story (a quote for which one feels might have been stipulated in her book contract), there are deep interrogations of her artistic process, her personal philosophy and the respect for her collaborators.
Criss-crossing the dizzying journey of Jones's life the best word I can find to describe her 'entity'. After a slightly stiff first half she seems to find an easier rhythm in the latter chapters, and when she deals with Slave To The Rhythm and life after Island records, there is much more languid flow to her thoughts and reminisces. I preferred this Grace. There are many, many stories, as you would imagine, and they elicit a wide range of response in a reader, as one might expect. But no matter how many stellar collaborators she has worked with (Trevor Horn, Jean-Paul Goude, Issey Miyake, Nile Rodgers), how many fabulous people she's danced with, Grace Jones herself is the essential ingredient. There is no Grace Jones without Grace Jones.
At its heart, I'll Never Write My Memoirs is an ode to individuality, single-mindedness, and humanity.
I'll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones is published by Simon & Schuster.