VISUAL OF THE WEEK
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”, I imagine Virginia Woolf to be singing as we chance upon the latest hoarding at Fitzroy Place, the Candy Bros high-security detention centre for the obscenely rich. It tells us that Coldplay formed at the University of London. And on the right, as I’ve pointed out before, Dylan’s illustration is accompanied by the fact that he played The King and Queen in Foley Street on his first visit to London. Fitzroy Place is, apparently, Where Creativity Lives and that fact is illuminated by said hoardings. Chris looks strangely unmoved by this knowledge.
SOMETHING I LEARNED 1
Searching for a release date for Alex Gibney’s documentary on Scientology, Going Clear, (it’s just premiered on HBO) I came across this. You’ll need a strong stomach to watch, and an even stronger stomach to listen, but it’s worth it for the subtitles explaining the fate of Scientology’s 1990 top tier.
SOMETHING I LEARNED 2
A memory of the Rolling Stones live at Hyde Park, 5 July 1969 by co-promoter Andrew King in M magazine:
“It was the week Brian Jones had drowned. They’d already sacked him a month before and were rehearsing guitarist Mick Taylor. Mick and Keith thought someone might have a pop at them that day, so there were guns around. It was the first time I’d ever seen guns in the music biz. They were very worried.
During the course of that day a million people came and went. For me, the day kicked off at three in the morning and went on very late indeed. The butterflies were such a bloody hassle! Mick announced that he was going to read a poem by Shelley on the death of Keats, which he did quite extraordinarily badly, as if he’d never heard of a comma or full stop in his life. It was obviously Marianne’s idea – she was the literary one.
When he finished, all these butterflies were supposed to fly out, representing the soul of Brian Jones. It was my job to unleash them. The butterflies were bred at a farm in the West Country [and] came up by overnight train in cardboard boxes to Paddington Station. I remember the breed had been a thing of considerable consternation with the gardeners, because they didn’t want them to affect the park’s ecosystem. We were chuffed we’d managed to find the right species of butterfly – but it wasn’t plain sailing from there. I remember being down at Paddington Station at 4.30am to collect them, peeped into one of the boxes… and they all appeared to be dead! I panicked and called the butterfly farm, who told me they were just cold and asleep, and I had to warm them up to get them to fly.
So I took them backstage, but the only heating we had were two tiny electric fires students use to heat cans of baked beans. We started stacking up these butterfly boxes on the heaters and one of them caught fire. It was a real palaver. In the end, we managed to perk them up a bit and by the time of the gig a few butterflies did fly out as they were supposed to, but an awful lot just went plonk onto the stage. I’ll always remember Mick in that tutu, looking on somewhat aghast…
A QUOTE QUITE-LIKED
Lulu in a Q&A in the Guardian Weekend: If you could go back in time, where would you go?
“To the 60s, when I was 16, at the Marquee in Soho, and Eric Clapton asked what I was doing that night. I would give him a better answer.”
OH NO, NOT THAT AGAIN…
An excellently argued piece by US Esquire’s Andy Langer about the need for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to go dark for five years. “It needs a way out in years in which Seal, Primus, and Sublime or, worse yet, Counting Crows are looking for a way in.”
AND ON THE PLAYLIST THIS WEEK…
“All I Have to Do is Dream”, Keith Richards solo piano version, recorded at Longview Farm, North Brookfield, Mass, in late May 1981. As Keith works it out – playing piano like a guitar player – he inches towards Charlie Rich territory, and it’s strangely affecting.