Pop Machine: Doors wide open

Jim Morrison lit his fire with fat and food

A freshly exhumed 1969 interview, indicates there was a time when Jim Morrison less resembled the sculpted image we have been fed through cover art, magazine shoots, posters, and etc. for decades.

Running four minutes and 18 seconds long, the Doors frontman’s interview with director/journalist Howard Smith has been treated with an animated video. It comes as part of a lost interview series from PBS called Blank on Blank.

(article continues after video)

Morrison kicks off the interview by asking Smith and an unidentified sit-in, “Are you hungry? … Maybe we could order out for some sandwiches or some chicken delight or something,” and, met with responses that are less than enabling than he might have preferred, goes on to point out how, “well, it’s lunchtime,” then going on to grill Smith and his partner to ensure they were being authentic in their turning down of his implications.

In what was undoubtedly an effort to mine some quotes out of the banter, Smith points out, “You’ve put on a lot of weight; are you eating a lot?”

Rather than indulging Smith’s articulation of what is now only a shadow of today’s gaze of skinny culture, Morrison lightly probes the fat-shaming culture of the western world, saying, “That’s something that really bothers me. What’s wrong with being fat?”

He goes on to say “fat is beautiful.”

Morrison gets talking about his college days and how he felt cheated out of his money if he didn’t eat big. He says that while attending school, he grew to be about 185 pounds.

“I felt like a large mammal. A big beast,” Morrison says. “When I’d move through the corridors or across the lawn, I just felt like I could knock anybody out of my way, you know. I was solid, man. It’s terrible to be thin and wispy because, you know, you could get knocked over by a strong wind or something. Fat is beautiful.”

When Smith asks Morrison how much he weighs, to the delight of body image warriors everywhere, Morrison responds, “I don’t know to tell you the truth, I guess somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 150.”

It appears the doors of perception were wider than we expected.

(article originally published by The Ontarion on April 4, 2013)

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About Tom Beedham

Tom Beedham is a Canadian writer and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. His work focuses on independent culture, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream, reporting on a spectrum of creatives that has ranged from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. In addition to contributing regular features to AUX, Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, he has appeared on Daily VICE, and frequently reviews concerts, festivals, and new album releases for Canadian arts and culture monthly Exclaim!. He is also a co-organizer and curator of the seasonal inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he oversees an online blog and print newspaper-style publication, printed for distribution at each instalment of the event. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, Ontario in the mid-2000s.

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