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Here’s something else UNCUT decided to cut hardee har HAR.

The following is my response to a request to submit my “3 favourite Stones tracks” for one of those sometimes enjoyable but mostly pointless 100 BEST Long Gone Train Lists… but OK they DO serve the vital function generally of keeping new & interesting music off of front covers in favour of jaded old hacks reliving that time Keef or Strummer or Bono nearly deigned to talk to them in passing at some late 70’s drink-up and setting in conservative gilt the LONG LONG AGO past glories of some embarrassing old crock or dreary old fakir no names no pack drill but imagine no repossession its easy if you cry & you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you just might get on your knees. . .


1) Moonlight Mile [Sticky Fingers]
I have this problem with The Stones: I've never found Jagger in the least bit convincing. I understand him (more's the pity - so pity me), I understand how he puts on whatever mask or accent or narrative tic it takes to seduce whoever it is he wants to seduce right this moment, or this month, or this aeon. ("Mick Jagger is a great bunch of guys" - who said that?). But I've never, for this reason alone, been able to like or love The Stones in and of themselves: I always feel degraded by giving in to Jagger's facile charm; I wake up the next morning and feel like a real skank. (He stops me from enjoying the roll, as much as I do the stone.) To me, Jagger ruins it, he's always in the way - the silly old roué-the croaky old goat-the primpy old pseudo queen-the 1-D diabolist - this month's “political” pose or pimpy pick-up persona always getting in the way of The Stones-as-blast. Consequently, the Stones have almost never led me into self-forgetting musical ECSTACY. For whacked-out white-boy carnality, gimme Timmy’s loving arms for shelter; for deeply druggy crack-up cul-de-sac lostness, gimme Sister Lovers or Tonight's The Night or Music For A New Society.
Two exceptions.
ONE: Jagger's masqued simulation of himself in Performance, channeling Robert Johnson through a white magick prism, darkly.
TWO: this track, which is just unutterably sublime on various immediate and intermediate levels - as drug song, as an air conditioned dance of seven semi acoustic veils, as sonically upholstered roadwerk - and where you can almost believe Jagger is capable of love, long distance love, real actual selfless love, and because the achy breaky line "I am just living, to be dying by your side" just cannot be gainsaid by any morbid Romantic worth his mercury and salt.

2. Ventilator Blues [Exile On Main Street>; hell, just about all of Exile]
Keith, on the other arm, has always convinced me (more's the pity, so call me Mister Pitiful) because I know all too well that junkie thing of how you seduce people upfront with your worst qualities - are they even worthy of the word ‘qualities’? - how anaesthetised emptiness becomes as a scurvy glamour (a bad, bad grammar) of consistent inconsistency. And it doesn't get any scurvier or more glamorous than Exile - the apotheosis of Strung Out as ultimate rock gnosis and Keith as hollow eyed Cupid snapping little syringes into the Riviera air. Ventilator Blues is like somebody telling you a joke whose punchline is your own imminent death. F-u-c-k, does it rock tho': Freud's death drive theory reconfigured as hog's maw killing flaw Chicago blooz.

3. Various / Various Artists
Does anyone think the Jagger Richard marriage has survived for any other reason than that they've had forty years of being able to fuck SO many other people on the side? So this one's for Jack Nitzsche, Jimmy Miller, Gram Parsons, Robert Frank, Marianne Faithfull, Kenneth Anger, Ry Cooder, Nic Roeg, Donald Cammell, Jean Luc Godard and anyone else who's been fucked or fucked over or used as some kind of cultural beard by The Stones ... and Martin Scorsese, for both Casino (“Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’”) and most of all for Johnny Boy's panic entrance to the shimmy of “Jumpin Jack Flash” in Mean Streets: the Stones as soundtrack to lives other than their own seems to work some higher kind of magic on me, somehow.

PS: I’ve subsequently changed my mind somewhat on some of this; but that’s a future article.


“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape
those those who dream only by night.”
Edgar Allen Poe



A more pleasant, reflective, USEful definition of CONSERVATIVE.


Did anybody watch Dying For Drugs on Sunday, a gruelling infuriating vital (for once) C4 documentary about (legal) drug corporations? Talk about barbarity. . .

To be followed up when I have more time, but for now can I just say that: the more I see, the more the burial of MARX seems utterly premature.

posted by Ian 4/30/2003 01:54:00 AM

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