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Monday, 15 August 2011

Keef


While on holiday I read Keith Richards' autobiography Life. I'd stayed away from it for ages- it seemed like such a middle aged, music Dad thing to read, but then saw it cheap and thought it might make a good holiday read. Which it did. The first three quarters are highly entertaining, despite Keith's sometimes questionable attitudes towards women, or at least his terminology. His recollections of Dartford in the fifties are almost proper social history and the story of the Stones through the sixties is gripping- their desire to be a genuine blues band and not a pop group, writing Satisfaction, touring, the Redlands drug bust, Altamont, Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, exile in France and beyond. His several pages explaining the five string open G tuning are brilliant. Really. It's funny how quickly the cream of the London sixties pop glitterati began mixing with the upper classes slumming it and the eurotrash (Prince so-and-so of such-a-place, Lord this-and-that). Some people barely feature- Bill Wyman for example hardly gets a mention, apart from when he joins, and that's only because he had an amplifier. His description of his heroin addiction through the seventies and repeated attempts to clean up seem honest. I don't know how much you can take at face value- he claims never to have thought about what to wear, which can't be true, seeing as there isn't a shabby picture of him before the mid-seventies (see above). There's a lot of brogaddacio, pirate/outlaw lifestyle justification, tales of rockstar hissy fits and minor acts of violence, and many pops at Mick Jagger, although he does give Mick his dues as well. The last quarter gets a bit tedious but all in all it's a good read, much better than it could've been. This is Monkey Man, a rocking, groovy,adrenaline fuelled, junkie rock song from 1969's Let It Bleed.

4 comments:

Artog said...

It was exactly how I imagined it was going to be - surprisingly down to earth a lot of the time but shot through with the occasional outlaw bollocks. Like you though I was taken aback by all the references to bitches. I just don't understand how he thinks that's okay.

davyh said...

That is a tip-top bit of reviewing SA - I don't think I need to read the book now, and I mean that as a compliment! (OK if I found it in a charity shop for 50p I might give it a punt).

swiss adam said...

I imagine in 6 months the charity shops will be awash with 'em.

davyh said...

Cool. I'll hang on a bit then ; )