Jim and me

Jim Morrison_small

Jim Morrison died the year before I was even born, but for 40 years he has epitomised what I find desirable in a man. You know, sexy, a bit dangerous, can hold a wicked tune, and looks great in a pair of tight leathers. Unfortunately he is also dead. Actually writing that line makes it all the more clear why I remain single because all the men I fancy don’t usually last past 27.

I don’t remember when I fell in love with Jim. It wasn’t my older brother who introduced me to him. He only listened to the Sex Pistols and The Exploited. My older sister fancied A-ha and Abba and I too was known to listen to my fair-share of Duran Duran and Guns N’ Roses. It was the 80s in all fairness.

A bar I used to regularly visit when I was underage had a very cool band that played a lot of The Doors so maybe it was there that I first heard Light My Fire or People Are Strange. All I know is that by the time I was 21, Jim was the only man for me but unfortunately he’d also been dead for 22 years already.

For my 21st birthday, my two best friends bought me a huge framed poster of the image above, such was my love for Mr Morrison and everything decadent that he represented to my adolescent mind. Needless to say that within 12 months, by which time I was living in London, I soon embarked on a physical and societal metamorphosis that would ultimately change me forever.

I didn’t start playing in a band, or even learn the guitar, no I bought a pair of black leather pants from Camden Markets, got dreadlocks and more tattoos, and then submerged myself wholeheartedly and willingly into the London rave culture of the mid-1990s. The doors of perception were certainly opened in more ways than one.

Sometimes I would saunter clad in my leathers through the streets of London listening to Strange Days on my disc-man and almost feel like I was in one of the music videos the band may have shot if only Jim hadn’t met his untimely, heart-breaking demise.

Nearly 20 years on, my love for Jim has remained strong and true. In fact it’s by far my longest-ever relationship┬Ł. Whether it’s because I still have a penchant for “bad boy yet poetic” types I’m really not too sure.

Over the years, I’ve met the occasional man who has met some but not all of Jim’s criteria. They might have been handsome like him or perhaps a bit broken and bruised. Maybe music was their thing or they sometimes liked wandering around half-naked on acid looking at the trees – actually that last attribute gets tiresome very quickly in my experience.

In the majority of cases, however, some of my pretend Jim’s have had relatively significant substance abuse problems in some form or another, which again seems quite sexy in theory. In reality it gets ugly rather rapidly especially when you are trying not to go to as many Whisky Bars as once you did because ultimately you don’t want to end up like Jim or Janis or Jimi.

And now more than 40 years after Jim’s death, founding member of The Doors Ray Manzarek died this week. He was 74. According to the Rolling Stone, he met Jim at UCLA but it was on Venice Beach in the summer of 1965 that The Doors was born. “And there it was!” Manzarek wrote in his 1998 biography, Light My Fire. “It dropped quite simply, quite innocently from his lips, but it changed our collective destinies.”

But that song, that man, and that moment changed many destinies, including my own. In fact, Jim and The Doors were an inspiration to me during a time when I was struggling to understand who I truly was and how to make the most of this unusual creative force within.

It was Jim’s belief in freedom – creatively, sexually and pretty much every other way humanly possible – which finally allowed me to break on through and accept that being different could be much more fun than being normal. When the music’s over, I’ll always be thankful to him for that.

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