The two greatest Rolling Stones were at loggerheads last night after the one who is about to become a knight of the realm came under attack from the one who prefers a night on the tiles.
Keith Richards said that he "went fucking berserk" when he heard that Mick Jagger had decided to accept the "fucking paltry honour" of a knighthood and claimed that such behaviour was "not what the Stones are about".
The stinging rebuke, in an interview with the magazine Uncut, is unlikely to break one of rock's longest-lasting friendships but showed that there is no chance of Richards mellowing as he approaches his 60th birthday later this month.
Richards told the magazine: "I thought it was ludicrous to take one of those gongs from the Establishment ... It's not what the Stones is about, is it?" The guitarist added: "I don't want to step out on stage with someone wearing a fucking coronet and sporting the old ermine. I told Mick, 'It's a fucking paltry honour'." Richards said Jagger had defended himself by saying he was under pressure from Tony Blair but added: "Like that's an excuse. Like you can't turn down anything. Like it doesn't depend upon how you feel about it."
The outburst is the latest in a series of attacks on the honours system and follows a decision last week by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah to reject an MBE.
Jagger said Richards' commitment to band loyalty was "endearing" and occasionally "over and beyond reason". But he added that the pair's friendship was "amazingly long-lived, although I still don't really pretend to understand it".