Books Are Banned This Week
A couple of weeks ago, I’d written that I don’t listen to music anymore. That music distracts me when I read.
And that’s true. I can’t have music playing in the background while I read or chat or do other things. (Pub evenings are the only exception and sometimes, at a pub, if I really like the music, I cut the conversation and just listen to the music. Which is rude, but what to do? And anyway, that only happens occasionally.)
But pub evenings aside, mostly, when I listen to music, I LISTEN to it. It has my full attention. So when I got to that stage in my career when time became precious and out-of-office activities had to be limited, I picked books over everything else and cut down music, movies and TV. Because I’d rather read than do anything else.
This week, however, I’m listening to music.
And it’s because of a book. Specifically, Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life, which I stole from my nephew while he was reading it, and loved so much that I finished all 613 pages of it in less than 24 hours. (Some of those less than 24 hours were spent asleep. The spirit was willing to continue reading all night, but alas, the flesh was weak and shut down at about 3.30 am.)
Keith Richards is one of the co-founders of the Rolling Stones, one of the first bands to permanently associate sex and drugs with rock n’ roll. They were BAD boys when the Beatles were shiny and clean. And in fact, I read in the book, their bad boy image was deliberately created as a counterpoint to the boy next door Beatles – not that the band members complained. The image suited them very well.
I’m not a HUGE fan of the Stones. In fact, I’ve never been a HUGE fan of any band, or not to the extent that I know every last thing about their music and their lives. But I love rock music. It whizzes through my blood and shakes me up and destroys my inhibitions and makes me abandon this burden of a sense of responsibility that I was born with and turns me restless and reckless (which is why I never go to pubs that play rock or to rock shows with people I don’t trust 100 per cent to be responsible for me since I know that however hard I try, I will not, can not, be responsible for myself if I allow myself to really listen to that music).
The Stones’ music makes me VERY irresponsible. So it was BRILLIANT to read about how this music was created, what went into it and how it all happened. And it was SO much fun to read all about the badness of the boys (because I’d be bad myself if I weren’t so responsible. Why am I so responsible? Why? Why? WHY????). I loved that unapologetic, casual shrug of a line in the book that went something like: ‘but I was a young, multimillionaire rock star’. It was so cool.
But the best part is how the book is written. Keith Richards had some help in the writing (a journalist who’d covered the Rolling Stones for years), but reading it, it felt as though I was sitting across from him, having a drink and listening to him tell me stories, while thrilling, blood stirring music WHIRRED through my body when he talked of Start Me Up and Satisfaction and Jumpin’ Jack Flash and… Oooooh!
This week, I’m not reading. I’m listening to the Rolling Stones.