I'm going to hang on to Keith Richards's autobiography, because sometimes I worry that I lead a boring life and wonder if I shouldn't try harder to have fun. When that happens, a quick flick through Keith's memoirs will remind me that I've never really wanted to live the life of anyone else, not even a Rolling Stone. Or especially. I haven't bought a Stones album since Sticky Fingers in 1971 and haven't deliberately listened to anything they recorded after Exile on Main Street a year later. I find Mick Jagger's dancing embarrassingly inept and can never remember Bill Wyman's name (I've just looked it up). I preferred the Stones to the Beatles, in the days when you had to make a choice, because they were disapproved of, and I liked 'Little Red Rooster' and 'Play with Fire' more than 'Ticket to Ride' and 'Yesterday' because they suited my temperament better. Couldn't have got through the 1960s without dancing to 'Satisfaction' and 'Get Off of My Cloud', but I'm quite surprised to be reminded that '2000 Light Years from Home' is the Stones, not Pink Floyd, though they were purple hazy times. The last time I found myself interested in the band was when I read that Richards had snorted his father's ashes, because I have a sneaking admiration for taking things to their conclusion. But really after the 1969 Hyde Park Free Concert (Mick's rather desirable white frock and all those hypocritical butterflies for the newly dead unlamented Brian), Richards's reiterative narrative of Stones songs, gigs and internal warfare in Life was all news to me, and not all of it riveting.
LRB 16 December 2010 | PDF Download