David Lister: So there was a price to pay for free love after all – right, Keith?

The Week in Arts

Share
Related Topics

Much fun has been had with Keith Richards's slights on his Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Jagger, in particular his revelation that Jagger's manhood is rather smaller than rock'n'roll myth would have it. The Richards/Jagger tension will be a feature of the guitarist's soon-to-be published memoir, and he has talked about it in an interview about the book.

Jagger has not responded, but the former Mrs Jagger, perhaps feeling wounded by proxy at comments about Mick's manhood, took up the cudgels on his behalf. Jerry Hall told the world that Keith had always been jealous of Mick. It's easy to forget with all the sniping going on that we are talking about two soon-to-be septuagenarians here, not a couple of teenagers having a tiff. Perhaps the secret of eternal youth that rock legends try to capture lies in keeping the adolescent sniping going right into their dotage.

But behind the tale of the fraught yet enduring friendship between Jagger and Richards is a greater truth that Richards has unwittingly laid bare.

He hints that the friendship suffered its harshest blow when he suspected in 1969 that Jagger was having an affair with his Sixties partner Anita Pallenberg. Richards then had a liaison with Jagger's girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, out of revenge. In his forthcoming book, Richards paints Pallenberg, with whom he had three children, as a key love of his life. Writing about her alleged affair with Jagger, he relates, almost poignantly, how he waited for Pallenberg to come home one night fearing she had gone off with his best friend. He sat all night listening for the sound of her car, but it and she did not come back.

Wait a minute, though. Wasn't this the era of free love, sexual liberation, anything goes and we're all friends afterwards? This was the Sixties, when communes (that long-forgotten word) were in vogue, and when shared partners were a middle-class aspiration – in theory, at least. It was the rock stars of the day who were at the pinnacle of this lifestyle, and who gave out the message as often as they could that it was a life not just full of thrills, but part of a much-needed political revolution to break the patriarchy and downright boredom of conventional relationships and the nuclear family.

Well, now it appears that this was a bit of a fib. Even for the biggest rock'n'roll rebel of them all, it was a case of desperately waiting for the sound of his partner's car, followed by bitter hurt, pain and that emotion which was meant to have been formally abolished somewhere around 1967 – sexual jealousy. That jealousy was followed in Richards's case by sexual revenge and a friendship that never completely recovered.

Keith Richards may have written a more important social history than he intended.

Why are the Mobos still running?

On the subject of the Rolling Stones, they should, of course, have won an award this week. The Mobos, which took place on Wednesday, are for music of black origin, and there is no disputing that Keith Richards and the rest of the band were hugely influenced by the black blues musicians in America. Come to that, many white bands and solo artists are influenced by black music. You could even argue that all of them are, as the architects of rock'n'roll, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and the like were black. You could also argue that these awards are utterly nonsensical for that very reason.

I would argue exactly that. I would add that the Mobos are patronising and not a little divisive in making colour an issue in music, what I hope is the most colour-blind of art forms. All in all, isn't it time to scrap these unnecessary awards?

End of an era for arts funding

When George Osborne in his spending review speech said that arts organisations should be cut by 15 per cent, it seemed to most of the country a fairly incongruous remark. Indeed, as many organisations were expecting a 30 per cent cut, it almost seemed like good news. So why is the arts establishment muttering furiously about the Chancellor?

It is because, for better or worse, England operates an arm's-length principle in which the Arts Council decides what arts organisations get, and the Government never but never interferes. The Government can say what the global sum to the Arts Council is, but it cannot say what arts venues and companies should be awarded from that sum. Mr Osborne is cutting the Arts Council's overall grant by 30 per cent but telling it to pass on only 15 per cent cuts to frontline arts organisations. So he is deciding how much arts companies will get.

Was it a slip of the tongue by Mr Osborne? Or did he on Wednesday simply rip up an agreement that has been in place since the 1940s? It's a space worth watching.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior DBA (SQL Server, T-SQL, SSIS, SSAS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Senior Project Manager

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country's Independence Day in New Delhi, India  

With Modi talking tough and Sharif weak, the India-Pakistan love-in could never last

Andrew Buncombe
At the time of the investigation Patrick Foster published a statement on Twitter, denouncing the “unnecessarily heavy-handed police investigation”  

Long-term bail allows lazy police and prosecutors to leave cases to gather dust

Oliver Wright
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment