Did you watch the Stones at Glastonbury last night ? They were superb, of course, pumping out the old favourites – Satisfaction” , Brown Sugar, “ You can’t always get what you want”- and there was Mick ,dainty as a ballerina , clocking up the miles as he covered the huge stage. He looked as though he was dancing over hot coals. And Keef- bandana, pot belly- firing off those wonderful guitar riffs….
Me and the Stones go back a long way.Nearly fifty years as a matter of fact. I was a student at the time- just going into a student cafe- when I bumped into Mick on the way out.
“Sorry, mate” he said.
“ Don’t worry, mush, I replied.
I told you. Me and Mick. Real close.
Most people would say that last night was the very pinnacle of their career. But I wonder…were they a bit overshadowed by the size of it all …the lights, the pyrotechnics… ? Were they- and this is hard to say….trying a bit too hard ? If you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career, then the only way is down, and the Stones, let’s face it, are not in the full flush of youth. I believe their total ages add up to 278.
It wasn’t the end of the beginning. It was the beginning of the end.
There have been other pointers too. Last week I went to the 50th anniversary of my university. In many ways it was great. We wandered the grounds of a beautiful Elizabethan manor, sipping champagne, recognising people, remembering what it was like to be young and full of fizz in 1963. But when it came to toasting absentees, there were a lot of names to remember. Before I set out to the celebration, I had a phone call to say that a dear friend, the best man at my marriage, had been taken seriously ill.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being morbid, but I’m not being Pollyanna-ish either. I doubt the Stones will be back in Glastonbury in ten years time. Mick holding the mike in one hand and his Zimmerframe in the other ? Charlie Watts connected to the mains so that he can still drum ? I don’t think so.
And what about my generation, the 1963 crowd ? We have a lot more life behind us than
we have ahead.
As Mick said, “ You can’t always get what you want/ But if you try, you might find you get what you need.”
I’ll try for that.