I never really got into The Stones as a teenager. I’m not sure why. I loved the Beatles, I loved Led Zeppelin, I loved Jimi Hendrix, but they were all long gone by the time I got into them. Even Frank Zappa died just after I got his “Hot Rats” album.
Jeez. I hope I’m not some sort of jinx.
Mainly because if I am a jinx, I’ll have to start listening to Coldplay. Self-sacrifice on my part. But for a better, slightly less whiny world.
Anyway, the problem with the Stones was… They were still alive. Whilst I found their sixties contemporaries recorded at the height of their youthful cool and innovation, The Stones were rock dinosaurs who had dodged the musical asteroid. They were what fat, balding, middle-aged men thought of as ‘proper music’. I was no more likely to emulate Mick Jagger as a teenager than I was to start dressing as Jeremy Clarkson and reviewing cars.
But I did go and see The Stones once in my late twenties when I was old enough and fat enough to appreciate them a bit more. (Still had hair though.) It was at Twickenham Stadium as part of their last “Bigger Bang” tour. And, to be fair, they were utterly amazing.
Keith Richards had recently fallen out of a tree whilst mucking about on some tropical island. So I thought it would be funny to take along an inflatable palm tree and wave it at him. But this was one of those rare occasions where I didn’t have one to hand. I must have left it in my other coat. Still, the idea was funny in itself, I thought.
When I got there, I found loads of other people actually had inflatable palm trees and were merrily waving them around. So I was pleased the joke got done. Even if it did point out my lack of originality.
Unlike Jagger, or Clarkson, Keith Richards IS cool. Even Johnny Depp wants to emulate him. (The two highlights of the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film are the bit with “Keef” in it and the bit where Johnny Depp wiggles his fingers at the end.) Everyone loves Keef (Possible sitcom pitch?) I have been reading his autobiography, “Life”. It’s bloody good, full of his passion for music as well as the expected tales of debauchery.
The only problem is, reading it makes my own “life” feel incredibly boring. Keith gets absorbed in music at a young age, starts the Rolling Stones and has a lifelong passion for the blues. He travels the world, has a wealth of experiences, meets far-out exciting people, imbibes a shit-load of drugs and booze and all the while is learning more about his craft, experimenting with open guitar tuning on five strings, refining his songwriting. His music is his work is his joy is his reward is his passion is his work.
I, on the other hand, have a digestive biscuit.
I’ve not travelled the world. I’ve travelled to Leicester Highlight to do an open spot. I’ve never really experienced anything much. And whilst I have met some people, the more far out and exciting they were, the keener I was to slowly and quietly back away from them.
In fact, now I think about it, whilst I envy the work and the creativity, I don’t necessarily envy Keef’s lifestyle. The travel bit might be nice. But essentially, I am a fairly bookish and reserved. I would rather read about someone filling a bath with Dom Perignon than do it… It seems unnecessarily frivolous.
I suppose it’s boring of me to think that you don’t necessarily add anything to an idea by making it real: “The conceptual inflatable palm tree is better than the corporeal inflatable palm tree.” And I got rather maudlin, thinking I should be living on the edge! (One of my favourite Bill Hicks bits is about Keef going beyond the edge. “I’m going over the edge, everybody! Goodnight!” …and finding himself on a ledge. “There’s a ledge beyond the edge! Throw down my guitar. I got a tune…”) Keef’s exciting way of life was much better than mine.
But then about two thirds of the way through the book… Keef turns boring! He hits the tediously repetitive, “I got off drugs, then I slipped back on to drugs, then I got off drugs, then I slipped back on to drugs” bit that all rock n roll biographies seem to have to include before the inevitable redemptive “I’ve learnt my lesson now” ending. Slash, Anthony Kiedis, Jimmy Page… they all have them. I think book publishers must ask them to become junkies just to plump the book up by a third.
So I may not be rock n roll… but at least I’m not an addict! I can sit here quite peacefully, read my book and eat a biscuit.
And another biscuit. And another biscuit.
Okay, no more biscuits.
Oh no! I actually ate a biscuit. It’s the stress of all this rock n roll reading. But that’s it.
Oh no! I accidentally ate another biscuit! I just needed one more hit. Just. One. Hit. No more now.
And at this time of writing I haven’t touched a biscuit since. I feel very serene and spiritual and Zen and stuff. Peace be with you.
NOTE: Shortly after the release of this blog, Jim Holland ate a biscuit