Dear Jim Morrison: The late great Door would have been 50 today. A self-confessed disciple explains why she just has to throw a party
Wednesday 08 December 1993
You would have been 50 years old today. That is, if you hadn't died in dubious circumstances in exile during the night of 3 July 1971. But now you are back to haunt another generation. This is why there will be a birthday party in your honour at my house this week.
When The Doors were the in thing, in 1967 or thereabouts, I was playing in the sand pit and had never heard of them. Most of the people I've invited weren't even born. So what's so special about Jim Morrison and The Doors that we go to pieces when Ray Manzarek's two-tone electric organ starts up?
A 22-year-old insurance salesman I met at an extraordinarily boring party thought his relationship with The Doors a little like a love affair - after a whole year of buying every single book, video, poetry collection and live album on the market, he has now settled into a more steady rhythm of just listening to The Doors once in a while, or, as he put it, 'when I need something'. He'll be at my party. So will a 45-year-old boarding-school matron who plays The Doors to 'retain my sanity after spending the whole day with people who function only on a strictly material level'.
A 12-year-old girl listens to you 'because it helps me with my poetry at school. I don't copy, but it always gives me a new outlook on things.'
And I play Doors tapes on an endless loop when I work and write, for company and for inspiration.
But there's nothing wrong with us. Others have a similar condition. Francis Ford Coppola chose the all-time Doors fan's hymn 'The End' for Apocalypse Now. Oliver Stone's movie about you - a labour of love, if nothing else - nets a few more disciples every time it's shown. In fact, The Doors sell more records today than they ever did. More than two million albums a year, world wide.
Which brings us back to the question - why?
The Doors' music is like any real work of art. It means to each individual exactly what he or she wants it to mean. If we want to rebel, it's all there for us. If we want to be lonely and miserable - you'll be there for us, and your own depth of loneliness and misery will bring us back to our senses. Sex? Then we listen to the band's live version of 'Gloria'. We can kill our parents, break down the fabric of society, discover the meaning of life, save the planet or love endlessly - and you, Jim, will be right by our side.
You were a brilliant man who was unhappy, and had the guts to ask us all for help. That's why I'm throwing the party.
Happy birthday, Jim. We still love you.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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