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 Post subject: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:00 pm 
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Pg. 363-64 "New Musical Express drew up a top ten of rock stars most likely to die, and put me at number one. I’m also the Prince of Darkness, the world’s most elegantly wasted man and so on—these titles that have stuck to me were coined then and were good forever……I can't untie the threads of how much I played up to the part that was written for me. I mean the skull ring and the broken tooth and the kohl. Is it half and half? I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I'm still a goddamn junkie. It's thirty years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it. I think some of it is that there is so much pressure to be that person that you become it, maybe, to a certain point that you can bear. It's impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were.

There is something inside me that just wants to excite that thing in other people, because I now it's there in everybody. There's a demon in me, and there's a demon in everybody else. I get a uniquely ridiculous response--the skulls flow in by the truckload, sent by well wishers. People love that image. They imagined me, they made me, the folks out there created this folk hero. Bless their hearts. And I'll do the best I can to fulfill their needs. They're wishing me to do things that they can't. They've got to do this job, they've got this life, they're an insurance salesman but at the same time, inside of them is a raging Keith Richards. When you talk of a folk hero, they've written the script for you and you better fulfill it. And I did my best. It's no exaggeration that I was basically living like an outlaw. And I got into it! I knew that I was on everybody's list. All I had to do was recant and I'd be all right. But that was something I just couldn't do."



Comment on these passages. Do you think that the titles “Prince of Darkness” and “the number one most likely to die” were warranted? Is it impossible to not end up being a parody of what people thought you were?



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:20 pm 
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Not sure about the Prince of Darkness, I know he lived a twilight life but not quite sure where that one came from. The most elegantly wasted man was coined by a journalist called Nick Kent.
The other title I know Keith made a joke about it later but it wasn't very nice even if it was a possability. There is an interview on youtube where he and Mick are being interviewed by a Dutch Journalist in 1973 in Amsterdam and she brings it up and Mick says "thats not very nice", and Keith says "I'll let you know".
Not sure about the parody part but I think its hard to live down an image especially one thats so ingrained in peoples consciousness.
I guess I'm interested to know what people's perceptions of him were before if you weren't a fan. As a fan I think its quite a difficult one to answer.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:44 pm 
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I think he's highly charismatic, highly expressive and showed us what he wished to show. I also don't think he's the same person he was all those years ago, but he's right -- if it flashes in the mind, it sticks. I suppose he could change it all if he tried very, very hard. But he'd have to do a one eighty and work it all the time: cut his hair, stop wearing those thingies, clean up the old vocab.

To what end? Nothing wrong with being the Prince of Darkness. :bigwink:



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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:51 pm 
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fireflydances wrote:
I think he's highly charismatic, highly expressive and showed us what he wished to show. I also don't think he's the same person he was all those years ago, but he's right -- if it flashes in the mind, it sticks. I suppose he could change it all if he tried very, very hard. But he'd have to do a one eighty and work it all the time: cut his hair, stop wearing those thingies, clean up the old vocab.

To what end? Nothing wrong with being the Prince of Darkness. :bigwink:

:perplexed: Have you not seen recent pics of Keith? those thingies in his hair he hasn't worn since 2006, as for his hair its not been long since the 70's :lol: and he's allowed it to go its natural grey, guess you do have an image of him then :lol:

I know he tried to show some of the myths about him were untrue but I don't think he suceeded to well in the telling of the tales.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:18 pm 
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There is usually at least a grain of truth behind a public image. One of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much is because I got a sense of who he really is apart from the image. One good example is the coconut tree incident. When that was reported people sort of chuckled and nodded their heads, there goes Keith again. It shows how people do expect certain behavior because of the public image and perception. He has certainly played into the image just as other public people have and I agree with him when he says people live vicariously through him. I think he is one of the most original individuals on the planet.



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:28 pm 
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When I mentioned reading the book to DS2, the one who loaned me his Stones CDs to listen to, he got this knowing gleam in his eye and laughed a bit about the stories he has heard about Keith, kind of a dark knowledge of things his delicate Mom would be best not to know. :freaked: The legend lives on.
The image wasn't just something somebody dreamed up out of nowhere, much of it had seeds of truth. Did Keith foster it and play to it and embellish it? Possibly. I am sure to an extent the wild image sold tickets and records. Or maybe he truly was a drug-fueled maniac. It may be hard to decipher the exact truth because Keith was blacked out much of the time and even he doesn't remember a lot of it. I don't believe he survived because of the purity of the drugs, or because he very cleverly managed his doses, or any of that other rubbish he told us in the book.
I agree with firefly, he showed us what he wanted us to know. For whatever reason he wanted us to know a lot about his relationship with Anita and their drug use, he didn't seem to particularly care if we know much about his more conventional relationship with Patti for example. If Patti didn't want him to write about their marriage, which is a big portion of his life story, then he had to make a choice about whether the book should be written at all. Autobiography or memoir, while he is saying he doesn't want to be a parody of himself, in some ways he is still propagating the image.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:28 pm 
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You all make good points here. As you pointed out GG his image stays with him even though he changes. I think the celebrity thing lets so many photos of his life stay out there that its hard to not combine all the images when thinking of him. His reputation will stay no matter what he does now, it has been going on too long. He even admits that the devilish Keith is still there, its just buried a bit under the layers. I like him either way.



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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:06 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
There is usually at least a grain of truth behind a public image. One of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much is because I got a sense of who he really is apart from the image. One good example is the coconut tree incident. When that was reported people sort of chuckled and nodded their heads, there goes Keith again. It shows how people do expect certain behavior because of the public image and perception. He has certainly played into the image just as other public people have and I agree with him when he says people live vicariously through him. I think he is one of the most original individuals on the planet.

Yes, they did and made fun of him and even today after he has written that it wasn't a palm treee that he fell out of people still go on about it.
I remember an interview where the journalist was expecting a shambling drunken Keith Richards to come and talk to him only to be confronted with a very sober articulate man . He was pleasantly surprised and had a new found respect for Keith.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:33 pm 
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I had a certain idea of Keith, and I’m not sure who I got it from, but I know that they were friends of mine. And they were joking about him, saying something to the effect of they were surprised he was still alive after all of the heroin. I never really paid attention until I saw pics of him and Johnny together – probably back in 2004. I knew the name, knew he was a Stone and knew that Johnny took his inspiration from him for CJS. But that was about the sum total of my knowledge.

I made assumptions based on what my friends said, but was not as quick to criticize because I trust Johnny’s judgment. I also knew that Keith had made it to the other side.

In this process to learn more about Keith, I was very surprised to find out that his addiction was for such a short period (in the scheme of things) and that he conquered it. I also don’t see him as the Prince of Darkness at all. But as others have said, he has allowed us to peer into the life he wanted us to know about. And it’s based on memories that might be rather hazy.

And if I were to call anybody the Prince of Darkness, it would be Robert Plant. But, then that image is based on things I learned about him from another set of friends. And that, too, could be all hogwash.



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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:39 pm 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
:perplexed: Have you not seen recent pics of Keith? those thingies in his hair he hasn't worn since 2006, as for his hair its not been long since the 70's :lol: and he's allowed it to go its natural grey, guess you do have an image of him then :lol:

I know he tried to show some of the myths about him were untrue but I don't think he suceeded to well in the telling of the tales.


I guess I was thinking about the 2008 "Shine A Light" movie. Yes, I do know he has short hair most recently. I guess I was just trying to make a point without being as careful as I should.



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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:12 am 
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fireflydances wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:
:perplexed: Have you not seen recent pics of Keith? those thingies in his hair he hasn't worn since 2006, as for his hair its not been long since the 70's :lol: and he's allowed it to go its natural grey, guess you do have an image of him then :lol:

I know he tried to show some of the myths about him were untrue but I don't think he suceeded to well in the telling of the tales.


I guess I was thinking about the 2008 "Shine A Light" movie. Yes, I do know he has short hair most recently. I guess I was just trying to make a point without being as careful as I should.

:lol: which was made in 2006.



It interesting the image people have about him because back in the 70's when I was into Keith then I don't remember any of this mythology about him, the titles he was called . The only exception was the most elegantly wasted man or whatever becasue I had the book of tour photos from 1975 and I think one of them had that label.
In fact I'd never heard The Prince of Darkness label until Keith mentioned it in his book.
I think funnily enough that the image that has grown up, the mythology about him seems to have grown with his legendary status over the last 30 years or so when in fact he was almost living two lives. The conventional, traditional family man that took his kids to school and brownies, that collected an eclectic range of books and grew lemon trees in his garden and played music with the biggest band in the World and then this other side this mythological side. The wild pirate, the outlaw the one who parties hard that can't string a sentance together. Yet where did that all come from, I think mostly the press . As I said journalists would interview him and he was not like the image they expected even in the 70's he wasn't quite what they expected either. Keith was and still is very shy not good speaking in a room full of strangers (who does that remind you of?) And to some extent like Johnny who prefers to hide behind his characters , Keith has learnt to hide behind his myth.

As for what he has allowed us to know about in the book remember it was being also drawn out of him by James Fox. He shows us only what he wants us to see, well he shows us quite a bit I think, but then he wouldn't write about the endless days of boredom on tour or the day to day events of his life becasue no one can remember them that clearly anyway. I guess as its a memoir he just shows us snapshots things prompted by James Fox, sometimes he rambles as in an interview going from one place to another as some things come to him. But isn't this the case with all autobiographies we get to see only what the author wants us to see. I think Keith has been pretty open.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:24 am 
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Nebraska wrote:
Quote:
It may be hard to decipher the exact truth because Keith was blacked out much of the time and even he doesn't remember a lot of it. I don't believe he survived because of the purity of the drugs, or because he very cleverly managed his doses, or any of that other rubbish he told us in the book.

I'm assuming this is your opinion based on your experience with addiction as I don't I can't argue you with you and don't anyway want to, I just want to make a point.
Not sure why you think he was blacked out most of the time he doesn't say so and I have never heard that he was, after all most of the time he was working either on tour or an albums. I don't suppose many of us can remember back then except for brief glimpses or something that will come to mind so its not just becasue of his addiction that would make him not remember.
I don't think it matters whether you belive thats how he survivied its what he believes, you may put it down to junkie delusion, maybe thats true but he believed it back in 1977, its not just something he came up with for the book and to me it doesn't matter either all that matters to me is that he did survive and I can still enjoy what he does.

Sorry to pick on your comment Nebraska is just kind of bugged me.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:56 am 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
Nebraska wrote:
Quote:
It may be hard to decipher the exact truth because Keith was blacked out much of the time and even he doesn't remember a lot of it. I don't believe he survived because of the purity of the drugs, or because he very cleverly managed his doses, or any of that other rubbish he told us in the book.

I'm assuming this is your opinion based on your experience with addiction as I don't I can't argue you with you and don't anyway want to, I just want to make a point.
Not sure why you think he was blacked out most of the time he doesn't say so and I have never heard that he was, after all most of the time he was working either on tour or an albums. I don't suppose many of us can remember back then except for brief glimpses or something that will come to mind so its not just becasue of his addiction that would make him not remember.
I don't think it matters whether you belive thats how he survivied its what he believes, you may put it down to junkie delusion, maybe thats true but he believed it back in 1977, its not just something he came up with for the book and to me it doesn't matter either all that matters to me is that he did survive and I can still enjoy what he does.

Sorry to pick on your comment Nebraska is just kind of bugged me.

Page 329: Some of my most outrageous nights I can only believe actually happened because of corroborating evidence. No wonder I 'm famous for partying! The ultimate party, if it's any good, you can't remember it. You get these brief vignettes of what you did. "Oh, you don't remember shooting the gun? Pull up the carpet, look at those holes, man." I feel a bit of shame and embarrassment. "You can't remember that? When you got your d**k out, swinging from the chandelier, anybody up for grabs, wrap it in a five-pound note?" Nope, don't remember a thing about it. ... Some of the best stories about me relate to when I'm not actually there, or at least not consciously so. I am obviously operating, because I've had it corroborated by too many people, but I can reach a point, especially on cocaine after a few days,where I just crack, where I think I'm totally crashed out and asleep, but in actual fact I'm doing things that are quite outrageous.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:59 am 
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I know what you are trying to say there Nebraska but he still wasn't out of it for every second of every day he is just pointing out some occasions when he was.


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 Post subject: Re: Life Question #19 ~ Image
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:32 am 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
I know what you are trying to say there Nebraska but he still wasn't out of it for every second of every day he is just pointing out some occasions when he was.

As you say, the day to day work he did wasn't nearly as interesting as the wild behavior when he was under the influence, and those kinds of stories are where a lot of the image came from, how he earned the elegantly wasted title, and why it is remarkable he survived. And he has only second hand knowledge of a lot of it.
I wish he had shared some of the simple life of growing lemons and taking his girls to Brownies. Most of Life's readers won't do the extra research to know how he lives now. So in a way, by keeping the image alive he protects his privacy.


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