Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'roll




Talking of lovely ruined things, I've been plotting a few short story ideas and came across a bunch of reference material on Keith Richards last night. I have files like this stacked up in the basement. You know how I'm always banging on about how nothing is ever wasted as a writer? If something grabs your attention, jot a note, rip a photo out, because even if you can't use it now it will trigger a story at some point. If ever I'm stuck for a character or twist, I flick through all these files until something jumps out at me. Every image, every quote grabbed me at some point over the last ten years so this system is guaranteed to work each time. (In fact, next year I'm working on an exciting new web project with a brilliant team of designers that's going to develop this idea. More news of this in the new year).

There's something quite Dorian Grey about that Rolling Stone cover isn't there? In fact there's something quite miraculous about the man full stop - he must have the constitution of an ox. I've always loved the Stones but it wasn't until reading Marianne Faithful's bio that I realised quite why Richards is so compelling in a way that the others aren't (at least to me). She famously dated Mick (Mars bar anyone?), but Richards was her first great love. He was beautiful (if not quite Johnny Depp he was at least seriously attractive when young), brilliant, intelligent - and dangerous, he still epitomises Byronic rock star excess. A lot of the great rock partnerships are like marriages aren't they? So which way are you drawn - Mick or Keith? John or Paul? Actually trick question - I'm with George. I wonder why someone like Keith has survived when so many rock stars are hellbent on destruction - what do you think, luck or intelligence? Apparently he lives near here - if I ever see him when I'm walking the hound around West Wittering I'll ask him.

I've loved hearing your reactions to Michael, the pop star boyfriend in the first book. It's good that you all wanted to slap him - he's the bad habit that's hard to break, the beautiful disaster that your friends despair of. Who hasn't had at least one relationship like that? You know it's bad for you, but you just can't help yourself ... When I was writing him, I had pictures of another Keith (Urban) plastered on the wall. Urban is a talented musician, married to Nicole Kidman, and is a recovering alcoholic. He'd been in the news recently for going back into rehab shortly after the wedding, and he was the perfect prompt - a real life rock star battling his demons, fighting for his relationship to work.

It must be a difficult balance, moving between adulation and real life. Unlike my brother, I never became a musician or performer, but at some point I'm going to write that character inspired by Richards. It's an enduring, potent mix - sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, groupies, money. A friend at college was dating a musician - I remember driving round Trafalgar Square on the way to a lecture with about 20 awestruck girls crammed in her red Golf listening to the latest song he'd written her. She dated Mick Hucknall of Simply Red for a while after that - beautiful girl, great stories. It's one of those compelling fantasies isn't it? Being singled out by a rock star. I wonder what the reality is (I'm just thinking about dear Jo Wood and her recent troubles with Ronnie, or St Jerry Hall whose mantra 'lady in the drawing room, chef in the kitchen, whore in the bedroom' didn't stop Mick's antics). Would you want the reality - or is it one of those fantasies that's better off staying just that - a fantasy?

TODAY'S PROMPT: Can you remember what it was like to be obsessed by a group or singer? Do you think it's something we grow out of? Is 'fame the thirst of youth' as Byron said? Have you ever dreamt of being a performer - or have you ever met one (or dated one)? I read an interview with Stephen Fry recently where he was talking about fame. He said one of the most difficult questions he hates being asked is 'What's it like?' What do you think it is like - would you want it? Would you want to be as famous as Persil like Victoria Beckham - or be like Madonna 'I won't be happy until I'm as famous as God.' Or perhaps as Erma Bombeck cautioned: 'Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one, Helen Keller is the other'. Which would you want? Do you think there's something bizarre about the obsession with celebrity? What does instant fame do to you? X-factor, Pop Idol - young girls aspiring to be WAGs ... where's this all going? Why not take some time today and jot down a few ideas about celebrity and fame - or start your own 'inspiration' files. You never know when they will come in handy.

23 comments:

scarlet-blue said...

Ah, this is about trying to tame a wild one, the Keith Richard's type. It's a challenge that's why it's such an attractive prospect. No good ever comes out of it....
Fame, I imagine, can drive a person insane.
Sx

P.S OU Advanced Creative Writing course. I've been adapting one of my short stories into a short 15 min film. It's not good...! And it was very hard. But it is finished!!!!

Rowena said...

Uhm, Can I have Johnny Depp. I didn't like him when he was a young pop idol, but I love him now.

As for rockstars. I grew up with one. My sister. Even when she wasn't in a band, she was still a rock star. And when she got older, she was legitimately labeled something like The Punk Queen of the East Village. Fine, she's not nor has she ever been famous, but that doesn't stop her from being a rock star.

I've had moments when I wanted to perform, too, but I pretty much avoided stepping on the Sis's toes. Moving into art instead of voice. Writing instead of acting. But then, it's also a personality thing. I'd rather be behind the lens than in the photo, directing instead of starring. This is how people are grown, don't you think. Our talents and skills dovetailing together?

But still, I have an inner diva. Sometimes for Halloween, I dress up as a rock star. But usually I'm a witch or a gypsy... which is another fantasy.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Scarlet - well done! Are you going to produce it? RE wild ones, yes it's the challenge ... amazing highs, amazing lows, every time it's going to be different, but is it? no. Maybe this is why so many rock gods wear leopardskin ;)

Rowena - I'm sorry we'll have to share him (and I think Vanessa Paradis might have a thing or two to say). My sister-in-law met him (sighs wistfully ...) and he is just as interesting and gorgeous as he seems ... Long may the inner diva live (I have a closet of leather trousers which haven't seen the light of day for ages, but either I'll be a rebel granny or my daughter can have them :) x

scarlet-blue said...

Erm.. I don't think Hollywood will be making any offers for my script anytime soon! I may do an adaptation of a certain dwarf saga though... Ah, Rowena the gypsy, now that rings a bell...
I will be catching up with Burning Lines this evening when I'm sitting by the fire with a scotch and coke admiring my new door...
Sx

Gorilla Bananas said...

Tony Ferrino is the performer I respect. Look at this clip of him putting Mick Hucknall (the ginger-haired clownish upstart) in his place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iK46lrXAys

mapelba said...

I'd rather have George. And I suppose Keith over Mick. Keith seems smarter in the way that I like. As for dating the bad boy? Well, I got involved with some jerks, but I don't think they qualified as great adventures or rock stars or anything other than just jerks.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Scarlet - oh yes, it has to be done ... I'm thinking Adam & Joe style wobbly sets. I'd make it a double with the recent developments over there ...

Mr B - a class act! The man's a genius.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Marta - ha! plenty of them out there. Amazing how much you learn about yourself as a result though ...

Donn Coppens said...

Keif is living proof of Life After Death...although having wholesale blood tranfusions prolly didn't hurt.

Even if you don't particularily condone his lifestyle of being elegantly wasted, one cannot help but be appreciative of his authenticity.
Keif didn't sell out.

When you are young and in the throes of adolescence, hitching y'er cart to an artist and dissecting their cosmology is a welcome relief from acquiescing to the gnawing pressures of the hornymones flooding your cranium.

Once you make it to adulthood you soon realise how vapid our Cult Of Celebrity is and even the Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius that we listened to over and over and over become little more than the empty clanging cymbals of Corinthianic fame.

I can distinctly remember gleening every nuance of Bowie's lyrics...searching each musical morsel for the true meaning of my own deafening silence trapped in the vastness of a bleak, uncaring, universe.

Now I just likes 'em is all.

Kate Lord Brown said...

It's a relief isn't it Mr Coppens, to lighten up and take yourself (and them) a little less seriously? You do sense he's the real deal ... authenticity is terribly attractive.

JES said...

Always felt an affinity for George myself, although I share a birthday (NOT year, thankyouverymuch) with Paul. Actually, now that I think about it, an affinity for just about any bass player, in just about any band. Whatever that means!

The Missus and I have had endless conversations about the appeal of the Bad Boy. (This is safe territory for us, because I could probably be described as no worse than the Puckish But Moody Boy.) It seems related to the appeal of walking close to cliffs, hanging upside-down in rollercoasters, cave diving, and such.

We also had a recent conversation about a, umm, well, a guy we once knew -- a very talented writer, who seems to have jumped to conclusions and equated talent with success and celebrity. His Web site (which she has seen, I haven't) sounds like the script for a reality-TV show in which he stars, and frolics with many approximately equally unknown starlets. It is to cringe.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Oh go on JES we're curious now ... where's the link?! The Missus is obviously a very sensible lady - Moody Puck vs Bad Boy wins. This current lust for 'slebrity' is a curious thing. Why would anyone want it? The designer of the new site asked me the other day whether I wanted to be famous through the books and I said no - just successful. Success without fame? Possible? I mean Salinger is famous but reclusive ... maybe you need to be famous brand name (but not a 'sleb' ... please) to sell books. Don't know.

Scintilla said...

Lol -That Keith Richards and Johnny Depp look like 'before' and 'after' shots. They look vaguely similar to each other - hope that time won't takes it's toll on Johnny the way it did on Keith!

Kate Lord Brown said...

Hello Scintilla! I know ... I think they are close friends as well aren't they? Let's hope Vanessa helps Johnny age beautifully!

Vodka Mom said...

I totally LOVED the monkees. I know, but i have to admit it. I loved MIckey Dolenze for YEARS. Then, a few years ago, i saw an interview he did with some entertainment show and he had virtually no teeth. jesus. That was gross.

Natasha said...

I have SO missed Kate's place...hello...I've been in another world and so happy to have landed back here....how's it going??

I used to LOVE Duran Duran - well they were one of many but that was the first concert I went into....I couldn't decide if I wanted John Taylor or Simon Lebon and U2...oh Larry Mullen Jr....oh I went through so many "I love him" band member phases....it hasn't happened in awhile but I still remember the feelings...fun...well, now it's film and totally Johnny Depp...adore him ....oh there is more....I went out with a guy in a band in college and it was great while we were together but when we broke up it wasn;t great...he wrote a song about it and that was the first time I thought...I could live a happy life without that kind of attention....a little success would be nice...

So nice to be back will be catching up with Burning Lines tomorrow - man I've missed it!

wheelsonthebus said...

Zero interest in being a rock star or dating one. Zero.

Now, a famous writer? Well, that's a different story.

Kate Lord Brown said...

VodkaMom - no teeth? Ack what a disappointment. I had Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) plastered on my wall ... he now advertises sofas in the UK (sigh)

Hello Natasha - glad to have you back! Perhaps we should retitle this blog the Johnny Depp Fan Club ...

Wheels - there's your resolution for 2009!

JES said...

Kate: ...where's the link?!

I'll never tell. Thought about giving you some key information that would let you find it on your own (in all your *cough* free time, y'know). But I suspect that guy is probably just one of thousands -- the specifics of his situation don't really matter. (Note (mal)adroit sidestep.)

(Natasha: YES -- Burning Lines needs you! The story's gone rather amok since you had Sister Margaret slapping the bejeezus out of Joe... Not-quite-up-to-date complete story is here, for convenience.)

PI said...

He certainly was the good looking one. Now he's like decadence on legs but he's still my favourite.
I also keep files on people or subjects that interest me.
Fame doesn't interest me;I'd loath the lack of privacy and when I was a model in the fifties it was exhausting having to look immaculate all the time. In those days you had to and it gave me migraines. However I do hope for recognition as a writer and if a bit of fame is involved - tant pis!

Kate Lord Brown said...

Hello PI - 'decadence on legs' LOL. Have you blogged about your modelling? Must be some amazing stories (I imagine it was exhausting ... no Uggs and jeans in those days :)

PI said...

Yes Kate. I started nearly three years ago in January and my blog was a memoir of my life up to being reunited with MTL after a gap of 30 years - interspersed with chit chat. I am in the process of making it into a book which I hope to finish over Christmas. Then comes the difficult bit:)

Kate Lord Brown said...

How exciting Pat! I'll have to go back to the beginning of PI and catch up the story so far ...

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