Quite possibly the worst news of the day is that The Rolling Stones are due to play a series of gigs in London and the U.S. The usual crap PR spiel tactics were used to make the news ‘exciting’: I was in the gym which was tuned to London’s XFM station when the presenter told us that he had some news to tell us about the Stones, but couldn’t do so yet – just stay tuned and he would reveal all by noon. The purpose of his schtick is, of course, to keep the listener tuned into XFM rather than any of the other London stations, but this ‘we’ve got some fabulous news to tell you about the Stones’ is so old hat, you can even get arrested for using it in some of the trendier parts of London.
The only fabulous news I want to hear is that Jagger – especially bloody Jagger, that multi-millionaire man-of-the-people pseudo Cockney art collecting twat whose one ambition for these past 20 years was to ‘get a knighthood’ - Richard and Wood have were all burnt alive in a car crash. Not Charlie Watts though, because he is rather more down-to-earth. Actually, Richards isn’t too bad, either, except that I have yet to see him interviewed where he makes even a modicum of sense. The guy seems so drug-addled that that when he is asked a question, he goes off-topic within about five seconds, starts some telling some incoherent, rambling anecdote but never finishes it because he ends up cackling like some village idiot when he recalls what made him laugh in the first place. And keep Ronnie Wood out of the car crash, too. He was in a band called Truth with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart which produced a cracking album. So, let’s recap: the only one of the Stones I should like burnt to cinders in the most brutal way is that arch-twat ‘Sir’ Mick Jagger.
When I was a kid, about 134 years ago, the usual pop marketing was to set up bands against each other: you liked one and not the other. Then it was The Beatles v The Stones. More recently is was Oasis v Blur. It’s all horribly phoney, I know, but kids always fall for it, and I fell for it. I was in The Beatles camp, although I also liked the Stones music. The Stones were also marketed as ‘bad boys’, another schtick which also goes down well. The equivalent for females is marketing someone as a ‘slut’, someone some girls can identify themselves with. The ‘bad boys’ image was, we now know, wholly bogus, but that wasn’t the point. The tabloids played along, of course, because that’s the name of the game. As for the music, The Stones weren’t half bad in the early days, but as far as I am concerned their last decent record was several centuries ago – Exile On Main Street. After that there were a couple of singles but like all bands – or rather like almost all bands – they went off the ball in a big, big way.
While writing the above, I have been asking myself why I am so obviously so, so pissed off with them and the ‘exciting’ news of new gigs. I think I know: they are a tragic embarrassment. The truth is that whitey rock and pop stars age very badly – bloody ‘Sir’ Paul McCartney dyes his sodding hair, for God’s sake – but they still soldier on in the delusion that they can still cut it with the young ones. The point is they can’t. Rock, pop, call it what you will was dealt a death blow when it began to be regarded as ‘art’. But it’s not fucking ‘art’: it’s fucking rock, funk, soul, R&B, pop, lover’s rock, grunge. What it isn’t is ‘art’.
The other night I was listening to Radio 4’s poncey 7.15pm arts show Front Row and they had bloody Muse on, waffling on about themselves and their new album and their ‘inspiration’ and the relevance of lyrics. Muse: three delightfully nice middle-class chaps from Teignmouth in Devon you wouldn’t at all be upset to see your daughter marrying. Along those lines one of the
Don’t get me wrong: rock stars, pop stars, call them what you will, can do what they bloody hell they like – but don’t tell us about it. Collect Meissen porcelain, set up a string of garden centres (Jethro Tull’s mainman Ian Anderson has a string of fish farms), join the bloody Women’s Institute, do what the fuck you like – but DON’T let us know. We DON’T want to know. Even at 86 I don’t want to know.
As for the Stones, every pic of the band taken I the past 30 years embarrasses me; these guys are pushing 70 for God’s sake and look it. With the possible exception of Charlie Watts I can honestly say I’ve seen healthier corpses. (For the record I’ve only seen on corpse, but let’s not allow a detail like that to spoil a tirade.) Look at the pic I’ve dug out: can you really take that gang of pensioners seriously as ‘the best rock n’ roll band in the world’. If the answer’s yes, you are officially banned from reading this blog.