Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keith Richards

Keith Richards with James Fox, Life (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010), p. 209.

There was the thing of course of Marianne. Hard day on acid, she had taken a bath upstairs, just finished, and I had this huge fur rug, made of pelts of some kind, rabbit, and she just wrapped herself up in that. I think she had a towel around her too and was lying back on the couch after a nice bath. How the Mars bar got into the story I don't know. There was one on the table -- there were a couple, because on acid suddenly you get sugar lack and you're munching away. And so she's stuck forever with the story of where the police found that Mars bar. And you have to say she wears it well. But how that connotation came about and how the press managed to make a Mars bar on a table and Marianne wrapped in a fur rug into a myth is a kind of classic. In fact, Marianne was quite chastely attired for once. Usually when first you said hi to Marianne you started talking to the cleavage. And she knew she was thrusting it. A naughty lady, bless her heart. She was more dressed in this fur bedspread than she'd been all day. So they had a woman police officer who took her upstairs and made her drop the rug. What else do you want to see? From there -- it shows you what's in people's minds -- the evening paper headlines are "Naked Girl at Stones Party." Info directly from the police. But the Mars bar as a dildo? That's rather a large leap. The weird thing about these myths is that they stick when they're so obviously false. Perhaps the idea is that it's so outlandish or crude or prurient that it can't have been invented.

Keith Richards with James Fox, Life (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010), p. 546.

Bert had died in 2002, but his memory was revived a few weeks before Doris died in a big press story generated by a journalist reporting that I'd claimed to have snorted some of my father's ashes along with a line of bump. There were headlines, editorials, there were op-eds on cannibalism, there was some of the old flavor of Street of Shame indignation at the Stones. John Humphrys on prime-time radio was heard to ask, "Do you think Keith Richards has gone too far this time?" What did he mean this time? There were also articles saying this is a perfectly normal thing, it goes back to ancient times, the ingestion of your ancestor. So there were two schools of thought. Old pro that I am, I said it was taken out of context. No denying, no admitting. "The truth of the matter" -- to read my memo to [his manager] Jane Rose when the story threatened to get out of hand -- "is that after having Dad's ashes in a black box for six years, because I really couldn't bring myself to scatter him to the winds, I finally planted a sturdy English oak to spread him around. And as I took the lid off the box, a fine spray of his ashes blew out onto the table. I couldn't just brush him off, so I wiped my finger over it and snorted the residue. Ashes to ashes, father to son. He is now growing oak trees and would love me for it."