Would £1,000 really get you some satisfaction?

It'll cost you a grand to get VIP seats for the Rolling Stones at the 02 arena - but maybe it's worth it to see the passing of a piece of modern history

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The Independent Online

Unless you are Tamara Ecclestone or Roman Abramovich, a thousand pounds is a lot of money. A grand amount, you may say, and there's quite a lot you can do with it.

You could, for instance, buy a three-bedroomed house in Middlesbrough. And it's what we're led to believe the average household spends on eating out for a year. But as of today, there are two other exciting ways you could spend your hard-earned cash: you could shout obscenities at a policeman in Downing Street, or you could stand in front of the stage at the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary concert next month. I know which one I'd prefer, but in case I am accused of inciting public disorder, I will keep that to myself.

Labour MPs have demanded that Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative Chief Whip and all-round unlovely guy, should forfeit £1,000 from his salary for using an obscenity at a police officer who refused to open the Downing Street gates for him. This sum, it appears, is the going rate for a breach of the peace. Under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, you can be fined between 50 and 125 per cent of your weekly income if you are convicted of a public order offence, so if you earn less than Mr Mitchell, you might have some change left after you've hurled a class-based epithet at a handy serving officer.

Probably not enough, however, to go and see the Stones, for which the cheapest seats at the O2 Arena are £106, and if you want to get close enough to see Mick Jagger's fillings, you'll have to buy a VIP hospitality package for £1,140 (inc VAT).

I have always thought the 02 Arena to be something of a soulless, corporate space, and of the events I have attended there, only Leonard Cohen was able to transcend the arena's vast impersonality, with its boxes full of investment bankers and their clients.

Maybe the Stones can do so too, but they haven't exactly strained to ensure the demotic nature of their audience. The first tranche of the 30,000 tickets went on sale yesterday exclusively to American Express card holders and those who have bought a full hospitality package. The tickets are then open to 02 subscribers, and finally, on Friday, they will go on sale to the general public.

Clearly, as the Stones are of pensionable age, we shouldn't begrudge them an opportunity to beef up their retirement funds. And surely this will be it, the final hurrah, the last gigs in a career that began before man had gone to the moon, never mind fallen to earth. Not fade away, if you like, but go out with a bigger bang.

After all, Mick Jagger recently celebrated his 69th birthday, and, as he himself said this week when asked whether he'd had any thoughts about the band's longevity in their early years, "it's a nightmare idea that you'd do anything for 50 years at that age".

I'm not a fan of the Stones, but maybe it actually is worth £1,000 to witness at close quarters the passing of a piece of modern history.