Tag Archive: Mick Jagger


AMORTALITY by Catherine Mayer (Vermilion, 2011)

“What a drag it is getting old”.

Mick Jagger wrote these words when he was still in his early 20s. It’s a line from ‘Mother’s Little Helper’, the first track on The Rolling Stones’ 1966 album Aftermath.

Far from being the usual affirmation of the ‘sex,drugs and Rock’n’Roll’ lifestyle, this atypical Stones song addresses the plight of stressed housewives who turn to prescribed drugs to calm their nerves. Jagger adopts a mockney accent in an attempt to convince us of his sincerity but it all sounds very mannered and false.

If Jagger still finds aging a drag he hides it fairly well. Now in his mid-70s he’s still performing concerts and impregnating young women with abandon. He is living proof of what Catherine Mayer calls ‘amortals’; those who refuse to ‘act their age’ and live as if it were impossible to die.

With improved healthcare, it’s not just the  wealthy who are living longer with plenty of energy left to burn. Mayer observes that “there is no such thing as age appropriate behavior anymore” and refers to the growth of this ageless living as a “grey tsunami”. Fast approaching 60 and having run my first full marathon last year, I feel that I’m an active member of this tidal wave of ‘amortals’ but found the book disappointing.

It was conceived as “a guide to an uncharted phenomenon” and in the opening chapters the author is at pains to reassure us that it is not intended as a polemic. However, by the end, she gives up any pretense of objectivity when she challenges institutionalized ageism, stating : “I hope readers will take from this book inspiration to push for change, on a personal level and as consumers and voters”. So much for not being polemical! Continue reading


GIMME DANGER directed by Jim Jarmusch (USA, 2016)

220px-gimme_danger“Things have been tough without the dum dum boys” sang Iggy Pop as a tribute to the original Stooges on his 1977 comeback album The Idiot, a collaboration with David Bowie that helped ensure that “the world’s forgotten boy” will not only be remembered but also elevated him to the status of one of rock’s great innovators and survivors.

This is a movie about The Stooges and a fan’s tribute to Iggy’s role in the iconoclastic band from Detroit.

Now fast approaching 70, Iggy still looks in remarkably rude health and is still performing bare-chested to show off his incredibly muscular physique. Despite many years of various addictions and regular self abuse he is living proof that,contrary to conventional wisdom, the drugs do sometimes work. Continue reading


I’m currently on a Sci-Fi roll which drew me to the 1977  movie , Demon Seed,  based on a novel by Dean Koontz and directed by Donald Cammell.

The central paradox of the story is the dehumanization of the scientist, Dr. Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) in direct contrast with the humanization of a recently invented supercomputer.

All of human knowledge is stored on Proteus IV  with the initial idea that its vast intellect will benefit mankind. The financiers and corporations see its potential in less altruistic terms. They want to exploit its knowledge to start mining for precious metals in the ocean. Proteus refuses to comply stating that it will not assist in the rape of the earth.

The machine has been programmed to think but what the boffins don’t foresee is that this will lead to it to making choices based on ethics and reason. Seeing that the plug is about to be pulled to end its ‘life’ in the box, Proteus takes over the computerised security and domestic service in the home of Harris’s estranged wife Susan (Julie Christie).  It devises a cunning plan to insert a synthetic sperm into her womb so she will give birth to the computer in human form. Continue reading

Concluding my list of the fifty greatest British Cult Movies with my top ten of the most groundbreaking, mind expanding or just plain weird films. If I have left out, or down graded, your personal favourite feel free to comment or, better still, make your own list.

10. TRAINSPOTTING Danny Boyle (1996)

Irvine Welch’s superb novel was in sure hands for the transition to the big screen There’s a first rate cast which Boyle directs with real energy and dark humour to show the ups and downs of heroin addiction. Great music too, including Iggy’s Lust For Life and Underworld’s Born Slippy. The screenplay by John Hodge begins with one of the great ‘fuck the system’ monologues:
“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.  Choose your future. Choose life”.

9. JUBILEE Derek Jarman (1977)
JubileeMade before the first wave of British punk had played itself out this movie is, like the music that inspired it, crude and anarchic. Don’t even begin to look for any plot as this is impressionistic, instinctive cinema that sets its own rules. Adam Ant appears before he became a dandy highwayman and Jordan as punk ‘anti-historian’ Amyl Nitrite. Continue reading


Life by Keith Richards (with James Fox)

life_by_keith_richardsGhost writer James Fox has admitted that it was a tough gig to get Keith Richards to stay still and focused long enough to tell his life story. Organising his rambling and random memories into a coherent narrative must have been a mammoth task.

There’s a fair bit of padding in these 500+  pages but Fox has done a pretty good job in showing what makes Richards tick and helping to explain how he has managed to survive the junkie lifestyle of scoring, tripping and going through “more cold turkeys than there are freezers”.

There are a few lapses such when Luc Godard is clunkily introduced as “the great French cinematic innovator” but there’s no mistaking Keef as the author of the vitriolic put down of  Brian Jones as a “rotting attachment”. Similarly, only Richards could have described his guitar technique as “a mangling and a dangling and a tangling thing”.

Richards puts his survival down to the fact that he is good at reading his own body and for following a principle of only using the finest cocaine and purest heroine, refusing what he calls “Mexican shoe scrapings”.

While, ultimately he’s unambiguous in stating that  “the life of a junkie is not recommended to anyone”, the chances of him being used in a ‘just say no’ anti-drugs campaign is remote. Continue reading

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