Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle ,Washington and died on September 18, 1970 in the London Borough of Kennsington in the heart of London from reputedly a drugs overdose.
Jane Austen was born in Steventon Hampshire on the 16th December 1775 – and died in Winchester on the 18th July 1817 reputdly from a disease called Addisons disease a problem with the immune system, which causes it to attack the outer layer of the adrenal gland (the adrenal cortex), disrupting production of steroid hormones aldosterone and cortisol causing a break down of the immune system. Not an unsimilar affect to Hendrix’s overdose. In both cases their bodies stopped. . One hundred and sixty nine years separated their births. That fact would have bothered neither of these two geniuses if they had ever met.
They both spent time in London and enjoyed the metropolis and this might appear at first their only connection. However, Hendrix had a great respect and affinity with the 18th century especially in the person of the German Composer, who emigrated to England ,George Frederick Handel, who also, like Hendrix,, came to London for fame and fortune. Hendrix loved The Messiah and Handels Water Music. Hendrix was a gatherer of all sorts of music which he then assimilated through his own creative mind into new and exciting compositions. He did it with the Beatles Sergeant Peppers anthem and also the sacred, Star Spangled Banner which he reinvented in his own style at the Woodstock Festival and gave it meaning to a new generation. Then of course there was all his own original compositions made about life’s many ,”Experiences.”
In comparing Jane Austens compositons with those of Jimi Hendrix,Cross Town Traffic has connections with Austen’s Northangar Abbey, The Gods Made Love, is comparable to the love of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Hendrix wrote Little Miss Strange and of course Austen had a few strange ladies portrayed in her novels, Fanny Price and Emma Woodhouse for two. Hendrix was concerned with money matters, homes and relationships just as Austen was. There are many ideas and themes shared by the two. In many cases the same sentiments have been expressed by both.
So one day, let us say, Jimi Hendrix was walking along The Strand towards The Royal Courts of Justice. The reason, let me reassure you, a mere matter of a minor smoking misdemeanour. Who should be advancing towards him from the other direction but Miss Jane Austen herself on the way to pay her tea bill at Twinings, also on The Strand.
JH. Hey is that you Jane? Did I ever tell you, I love Dylan, man?
JA No Mr Hendrix I do not recall you ever telling me about that gentleman Mr Dylan.
JH. I only met him once, Dylan that is,. back at the Kettle of Fish on MacDougal Street in New York.
JA Ah New York, named after that most delightful of Yorkshire cities. Such a shame it is no longer within the power of this realm.
JH Yeh cool, man, whatever. Peace to all men.I met Dylan before I went to England do you dig that sis. I think both of us were pretty drunk at the time. No, no, I don’t mean you were drunk I mean Dylan was, drunk at the time. Hey, hows things with you? Where are you hanging out now girl? What you doin in London Jane?
JA It is so delightful to see you again Mr Hendrix. I am here visiting my brother Henry, who live s a few hundred yards from this very spot, in Henrietta Street. However, ordinarily,I am living with my mother, such a nuisance but that is by the by and my sister inlaw in Southampton along with my best friend Martha. Martha is such a problem. She chases after vicars you know. There is a Dr Mant in Southampton she just will not leave alone whatever I say to her and no matter how much I implore her. I tell her it will all end in tears.
JH. Check that sis, hee hee hee. It’s the other way with me girl. I’m the one chasin the chicks round here. You dig!! But hey Jane Hennrietta Street, Its so cool. All those tourists and street musicians. I get inspiration for my song writing in places like that. Real cool man.
JA We hope to visit the theatre while we are here. I know Kean is performing in Lear.By the way,I do like your miltary attire Mr Hendrix. I didn't know you were a military person. You quite remind me of my dear brothers . They look smart too in their Royal Naval uniforms.If I recall we met at The Marquee Club in Soho last was it not? A gentleman most proficient on the guitar was playing, a rather strident number if I remember, called White Room. Mr Eric Clapton I think. He certainly played a virtuoso performance displaying much passion.I could feel my cheeks quite blush at all the energy he manifested in his bodily movements. His suggestion of a white room with black curtains has quite influenced us all in Castle Square as to our choice of décor. My ears didn't stop ringing for days.
JH.Long as I got blacked out windows too. I need head space Jane. Time to think. Time to create man. I live next where that dude Handel lived. He was some musician.You, ever checked out his stuff?
JA Yes, I have heard Mr Handesl Messaih performed in St Pauls Cathedral. A most exhilarating experience. I sang so heartily with the chorus. I don’t like to complain but I must say, Mr Hendrix, our house in Southampton is such a bother. Our garden is putting in order by a man who bears a remarkably good character, has a very fine complexion, and asks something less than the first.(Who was, in your parlance Mr Hendrix, not a cool cat ) The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of a better kind, therefore, and at my own particular desire he procures us some syringas. I could not do without a syringa, for the sake of Cowper's line. We talk also of a laburnum. The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.
JH Hey Jane but that sounds cool . The way I’d like to live, because like I want to get up in the morning and just roll over in my bed into an indoor swimming pool and then swim to the breakfast table, come up for air and get maybe a drink of orange juice or something like that. Then just flop over from the chair into the swimming pool, swim into the bathroom and go on and shave and whatever.
JA A swimming pool? I don’t think I have ever heard of one of those. It sounds very interesting.Is it like the baths in Bath? As far as the inside of our house goes the alterations and improvements within doors, advance very properly, and the offices will be made very convenient indeed. Our dressing table is constructing on the spot, out of a large kitchen table belonging to the house, for doing which we have the permission of Mr. Husket, Lord Lansdown's painter -- domestic painter, I should call him, for he lives in the castle. Domestic chaplains have given way to this more necessary office, and I suppose whenever the walls want no touching up he is employed about my lady's face.
JH. Hey Jane I love you’re your wit and charm.. I could do with a bit of that in my songwriting. Hee Hee you didn’t mean that when you said,the painter was doing things to my lady’s face, now did you Jane?
JA I most certainly did Mr Hendrix. I meant every word..
May I ask, how is your latest musical endeavour proceeding Mr Hendrix? I must come and hear you when you next perform. I enjoyed the conflagration you started when you set your guitar alight last time I was at The Bag o Nails club, I think you told me it was called that. All that consternation and screaming. I wish we had balls like that back in Southampton and in Bath. It was all so, humerous and enlightening. Such fun.
JH I’m writng a number called Little Miss Strange.Its goin on my new album Electric Ladyland..
JA Oh Mr Hendrix I do like that title. Electric Ladyland. All my novels have ladys in them who wish to acquire lands. I am not sure I understand the term electric though. You must tell me some time over a ,joint. That, is, what you called that stick of twisted paper with brown leaves all scrunched up inside, that I smoked with you? I really thought you were going to set me alight like you set your guitar alight. However, it did made me feel so good. I felt quite giddy and skittish. I went home afterwards and wrote a scene in my novel, Northangar Abbey, where Catherine Moorland, who is staying in the Abbey, begins to imagine all sorts of terrible things. I don’t think I could have created that scene without the profound influences that seemed to overcome my whole being smoking that joint. What an unusual name, joint.
JH I’ve just remembered. I’m looking for pretty girls to appear on the album cover of Electric Ladyland. Jane. Would you like to pose?
JA Oh Mr Hendrix, pose, I do not pose.But thank you anyway. I shall look forward to seeing the cover though. It is a great delight to have met you once again. I do hope we shall meet again soon. Perhaps, as I said, at another of your concerts. Next time do refrain from smashing your guitar into the stage. You did look so aggressive and I know you are not at all like that.Such a sweet man.. I could almost write you into one of my novels.. Now do keep the flaming guitar though. That is so jolly and of course heart-warming and the excitement it causes is so great. I really must go now.I have to get to Twinings before he closes.
JH I dig that Jane.
Oh, my mind is so mixed up, goin' round 'n' round_
Must there be all these colors without names,
My heart burns with feelin' but
Oh! but my mind is cold and reeling.
Is this love, baby
or is it confusion?
JA Oh Mr Hendrix, you are a one. I must go Mr Hendrix, Goodbye.
And so our two geniuses part. One to pay a fine for drugs possession and the other to pay a bill for tea,
As Jane crosses the road to Twinings door she mutters in a distracted sort of way.
JA Born Under A Bad Sign,
Been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn't for bad luck
Wouldn't have no luck at all
Oh my goodness. Now where did that come from? It just popped into my head.I must tell Mr Hendrix about it next time I see him.
The Official Jimi Hendrix website: http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/home
Guitar World Jimi Hendrix's Final Interview from September 11, 1970
Rolling Stone 1969 Sheila Weller interview with Jimi Hendrix
Jane Austens letters Collected and Edited by Deirdre Le Faye
Emma by Jane Austen (Penguin Classics)
Northangar Abbey by Jane Austen (Penguin Classics)
Mansfield park by Jane Austen (Penguin Classics)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Penguin Classics)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (Penguin Classics)
Sense and Sensibillity by Jane Austen (Penguin classics)