First published on telegraph.co.uk, by Rupert Hawksley 5:23PM GMT 02 Dec 2014
“Marianne Faithfull has opened up about her lengthy battles with drug addiction and admitted that she “would be dead” without heroin.
Speaking on Monday night at the V&A museum to promote a new book about her life, Marianne Faithfull: A Life on Record, the singer said: “I think if I hadn’t taken that heroin, I’d be dead. I would have killed myself. I think it protected me and saved me from a fate worse than death, actually. And I stand by that. Thank you, heroin. I’m not saying it’s a good idea. I was very lucky and it was a very risky thing to do.”
Faithfull, who described herself as a “psychological masochist”, explained that she had “tried to live my life according to William Burroughs’s rules”. Burroughs wrote the stylistically experimental novel Naked Lunch (published in 1959), which follows a heroin addict called William Lee. Later in her life, Faithfull confronted Burroughs about the book. “I said, ‘why did you do that?’ And he looked at me like I was crazy, which of course I was, and said, ‘first of all, it [my writing] is fiction and, secondly, it was never meant to be taken literally, and most importantly, it was never meant to be taken literally by you.”
The 67-year-old, who released her 20th solo album in September and is celebrating her 50th year in the music business, also revealed that Sister Morphine, which she wrote and recorded with Mick Jagger in 1968, was not, as was widely believed, a pro-drug song. “It’s not even a drug song,” Faithfull, who performed a one-off UK solo show at the Royal Festival Hall last month, said. “It’s a song about a man who has had a terrible accident, and is in hospital dying, and is calling for morphine. That’s all it’s about. “And it’s interesting because, when I broke my sacrum [in 2013], I actually did have to have morphine. I’d never had it in my life. No junkie ever wants morphine, it’s no fun. All it does is what it’s meant to do, which is take away the pain. But it was a horrible drug and it made me sick, it was awful. I wrote Sister Morphine because I thought it was a beautiful word. It’s just a horrible drug.” CLICK BELOW TO READ MORE>>>>>