WEIRDLAND: Happy Valentine's Day! A Rock & Roll Love Story

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! A Rock & Roll Love Story

With The Doors' knowledge, Jim Morrison prepared his departure to Paris. His mood was depressive after the Miami trial. At Jim's suggestion his girlfriend Pamela had flown to Paris on 14th February 1971, Saint Valentine's Day, to find an apartment for them. While looking, Pamela stayed at the Hôtel Georges V, which Jim had recommended. She made friends with the French model Elisabeth Lariviere and her American boyfriend, whom she had met in the Café de Flore. The couple offered to let her stay at their apartment in Rue Beautreillis.

Morrison stayed in Los Angeles until 10th March 1971. In a Rolling Stone interview a few days before his departure, Jim Morrison said: "I think we'll do a couple of albums and then everyone will probably get into their own thing independently." Frank Lisciandro, author of Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together said: "Jim's feeling at the time - and I remember this distinctly because we had more than one conversation about it - was that his days in Los Angeles were over. He had finished the commitment to Elektra Records and had finished the last album they owed them on the contract. Pamela was waiting for him in Paris and had established a home there. As a matter of fact we had closed the HWY Production office, and with this it was over for Jim in Los Angeles. He was leaving for good. He was through with this particular part of his career and his life."

Jim Morrison arrived in Paris on 11th March 1971, a month after Pamela. To begin with they lived at the Hotel Georges V in Avenue Georges V. Only a week later Jim and Pamela moved in at No. 17 Rue Beautreillis. He shaved off the long dark beard he had worn for almost six months. He hoped that people would not recognize him in Paris without his beard. In the sunny, quiet apartment in the Marais quarter he was very happy. He loved to walk down the Rue St. Antoine, or take expeditions across the Ile St. Louis. He found total peace and quiet in the close-by Place des Vosges, an elegant and inspiring square slightly reminiscent of Venice, Italy, and incidentally the square where Victor Hugo had once lived. Not a few of his later poems and essays were written here. Jim carried a scrap book with him at all times, in which he wrote or made sketches. 

Not even the press was informed of the fact that Jim Morrison was staying in Paris, and only a few people recognized him on the streets. In Paris he found the peace that he had longed for. He took long walks along the Rue de Rivoli and from there on to St. Germain des Pres and the area around the Place St. Michel. Jim and Pamela often got caught up in one of the numerous demonstrations by Parisian students, being mesmerized by the riots they kept on stumbling into. On 3rd April 1971 Jim, who was slightly drunk, was sitting in the L'Astroquet on Boulevard St. Germain, chatting with some Americans sitting at an adjacent table. Pamela who did not drink much, preferring a cocktail of drugs, complained about Jim's alcohol consumption. For the first time during his coughing fits he coughed up blood, so Pamela made him see an American doctor in Paris. On 9th April Jim and Pamela rented a car and drove down to the South of France, via Limoges to Toulouse, where Jim admired the pink-colored architecture. 

Jim and Pam had to move to L'Hotel at No. 13 Rue des Beaux Arts for a few days, because several friends had taken over the apartment in the Rue Beautreillis. Jim stayed on the second floor, in the room where Oscar Wilde died. He climbed around on the balcony railing of his room, and on the evening of 7th May, he fell onto the roof of one of the cars parked down in the street. A frightened Pamela hurried outside. Much to her dismay though, he immediately left to continue his drinking spree down the Rock'n'Roll Circus. Morrison was looking for a cinema in Paris where his film 'HWY' could be shown. He also talked again about buying an old church, and having it done up as an apartment, if it cost no more than $100,000. Speaking of The Doors, he said that he hadn't seen them for a long while and he felt really a bit too old to be a Rock'n'Roll singer at the age of 27. 

He was now working on the draft of a rock opera, an idea that had fascinated him since the early days at Venice Beach. He filled up his scrap books with poetry, mainly in the apartment in the Marais, but also in the shade of one of the cafes around the Place des Vosges. Many of the poems that were later posthumously published in 'Wilderness' and 'The American Night' were written here. The last time Hervé Muller met Morrison was on 11th June, Together with Alain Ronay they watched the theatre play 'Le Regard Du Sourd' at the Theatre de la Musique. As Pamela was annoyed by Alain's presence, she preferred to stay behind with Jean de Breteuil, whom Morrison did not like.

In mid June, Morrison went to see a doctor for the second time, because he had been coughing up blood again. The physician urgently advised him to stop smoking and drinking. He also had severe coughing fits. In the last week of June Jim wrote a letter to Bob Greene, which he received on 3rd July: "Paris is beautiful in the sun, an exciting town, built for human beings. Speaking to Bill Siddons a while back I told him of our desire to stay here indefinitely. Will that be possible? Could you write and give me an idea of how long we can stay on living at our present rate, a sort of financial statement in general? We have decided to turn Themis, Pamela's boutique over to Pamela's sister and her husband. Any luck on the credit cards? Please send us $3,000. Give our best to all, later, Jim."

On 26th June, Pamela invited Tere Tereba (Themis' fashion designer) to come to Rue Beautreillis for a visit. Tere visited them on the afternoon of the 27th June, and met a relaxed Jim. He showed her an almost finished manuscript, and went into raptures about the city of Paris. Pamela said that Jim wanted to become immortal, a status that could be easier achieved as a poet than as a rock star. For supper Tere suggested La Coupole, which Jim and Pamela hadn't discovered yet - Hemingway had also been a frequent patron. On their way to Boulevard du Montparnasse, Morrison mentioned that they had booked a flight to London to spend a few days with Michael McClure. At La Coupole, which reminded Jim of Ratner's from New York, he said that he had been offered the leading part in the film Catch My Soul, based on a play by Shakespeare. He was also supposed to play the part of a bear hunter, co-starring with Robert Mitchum, in Norman Mailer's film Why Are We in Vietnam.

"I'm turning down the play, and I don't think I'll do the movie because it will take up too much time when I could be writing." Later, he and Pamela went to a cinema near the metro station Pelletier, to watch the film Death Valley. They returned to the apartment at about 1.00 a.m., and Jim sat down at his desk to write. He replayed a few of the Super-8 films that he and Pamela had shot. Their Rock'n'Roll love story would soon come to an abrupt end. On 8 July 1971 Bill Siddons (The Doors' manager) announced: "I have just returned from Paris, where I attended the funeral of Jim Morrison, in a simple ceremony, with only a few friends present. Jim died peacefully - he had been in Paris since March with his wife Pam. I hope that Jim is remembered not only as a rock singer and poet, but also as a warm human being. He was the most human, most understanding person I've known. This wasn't always the Jim Morrison people read about - but it was the Jim Morrison I knew, and his close friends will remember." Tere Tereba said: "Pam Courson cared deeply for Jim and did want only the best for him. He always did what she said: he adored & trusted her so much! She was DOA, 3 years after Jim. What a horrible tragedy! They loved each other and had great plans for the future."

Pamela Courson was declared the sole heir of Morrison's testament (approximately $400,000). She would be sued for the return of a sum of $200,000 that Jim had been lend by The Doors' partnership contract. Max Fink also demanded a fee of $50,000 for Morrison's defense during the Miami trial. In addition, she was allowed a quarter of any future royalties of The Doors, from the record sales with Jim Morrison as singer. However, despite having told her friends of her plans of starting a new life in Colorado, she would be found dead of heroin overdose on the living room couch at her apartment of Los Angeles, on April 25, 1974.  —"The Death of Jim Morrison" (2012) by Bob Seymore 

"I thought Morrison's poetry was spectacular, Rimbaud-like poetry. All good poets, like Rimbaud or Baudelaire, love failure. I probably made Morrison more dangerous than he wanted to be. He wasn't that sex-driven as much as he was this image of sex. We tried to show the Holy and the Fool at the same time. I tried. People might say I didn’t get enough Holy. There was a Jesus quality about Jim. He gave of himself. The famous Miami concert in 1969 where he was arrested for exhibitionism and drunkenness certainly hit him hard. The audience went to see the Lizard King, a persona that Morrison had created for himself but that not was fundamentally him. Morrison was a brilliant actor. He didn’t want people to know him and prevented them from getting close. He got caught up in his own image. Perhaps I didn't capture the way Jim was, I don't know. I miss him very much. It was a beautiful experience for me."Oliver Stone. ‘The Road To Excess’ The Doors Movie Documentary.

"Oliver Stone had a lot of grudges and a lot of axes to grind. He didn’t like me, we didn’t get along. I read the script and I said this is not Jim Morrison. You got some of the 60s, you got the Doors music and some great rock n roll scenes but you’re not capturing Jim Morrison. You got him as a drunk and a druggie and a real weirdo. He’s much more intelligent and much more spiritual than you make him out to be and I am not going to have anything to do with it. I walked out on the whole production. He said ‘I’m the director, I’ve got 3 academy awards.’ I said ‘so what, I’ve got 8 gold records’." Ray Manzarek at the Alan Handelman Show (2002)

"Jim felt very strongly that he and Pamela had been destined to find each other, were meant to be linked together forever. It was partly this paradox that so intrigued Jim and attracted him to Pamela. This tiny, sweet, angelic morsel who loved him, supported him, played with him, and respected his art, when provoked, wouldn't hesitate to haul off and punch him in the face. It's Romeo and Juliet, it's Heloise and Abelard. It's Jim and Pam." —"Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison" (2010) by Patricia Butler


Anonymous said...

Hi Elena, remember me?! Sorry for posting this here. But I happened to come across the link below and I have to say: that woman has excellent taste..! Wow. Just gorgeous.
Hope you are doing fine and that everything is well in your little corner of the world.
All the best.

Elena said...

Hi, Ria, thanks for your visit, I am mildly happy these days, I guess! I am glad Kirsten has found love again, she is engaged to Jesse Plemons (her "Fargo" co-star), and I think they make a sweet couple. Have a great weekend, Ria! hugs, Elena