Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Day In The Life - One Family, The Beautiful People & The End Of The Sixties
Robert Greenfield
Da Capo

For such a tabloid titillating title, this, perhaps expectedly by it's brawny boasts, is an incredibly slight tale from behind the scenes, tethered to the subject's eventual acquaintance with The Stones around their Exile period. The author was in attendance at Keef's famously dissolute garden of delights and despair on the French coast in summer 1972 and regaled us with that in his Exile On Main St : A Season In Hell With The Rolling Stones book. This present trawl through the vapid wreckage of the ultra-privileged and proudly pointless appears to be summoned from a scrap of paper in an old forgotten chest-of-drawers, the last exhausted detail from notes and memory. Centred on the supposed star-crossed love of aristocratic heirs Tommy Weber and Susan 'Puss' Coriat (Puss, as in cat who got the cream) it starts by outlining the complex, but ultimately irrelevant, ancestry of the two ill-fated centre-stagers, in tedious though obviously much-enthralled manner (Weber's grandfather - 'A fabulous character of the first order' gushes Greenfield - mangles one of his 'four extraordinarily expensive' motors with a pesky lamppost only to angrily harumph that there shouldn't have been a lamppost there anyway. How dare they, the impertinent plebs) then narrates the schooling, growing up in rural English pastures with names like Chilton Foliat, and society soirees and engagements of the two til they meet, attempt domesticity (even the note about his sitting on the shitter dictating to his family doesn't come across as the quaint eccentricity surely intended), split up, go off the rails - one eventually favouring suicide following unfortunate doses of acid self-psychiatry, the other - Weber - who the author is clearly in several thousand throes of hero worship to, regarding him as a rulebreaker, risktaker, iconoclast and individual, as though he's an equal to a Keith of the Richards or Floyd genus - descending into unsavoury smack habits (one interesting anecdotal snippet is his on needle-nodding terms friendship with Spacemen 3 in Rugby!!) including taping a rather large amount of coke onto his seven year old son (oh, the Medium actor Jake Weber) to smuggle through customs and largely living in the garbage bags of his fall from grace as a fair number of those 'remarkable' families do, the remarkableness of being born into wealth and indulgence dissipating their spirit as much as that of a council estate crack-slag with seven starving kids and as many pipes to feed or a life-long labourer with a paltry, if any, pension. The text is also irritatingly littered with incidents or people being 'like from' followed by some classic literary reference, presumably to emphasise the author's rapturous theory that this is a story befitting Greek mythology, Romeo And Juliet, Waugh, Fitzgerald or some Victorian tragedy. There's nothing new or interesting about the sections when Weber hung out with The Stones, the account of the 'young policeman' who found Puss being in tearful hysterics at the death of the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen is just pitiful and it is really very difficult to elicit even the scarcest shred of sympathy for these spoilt aristocrats.
As far as tomes with links to The Stones go, this is probably below Spanish Tony Sanchez' I Was Keith Richards' Drug Dealer. 'A Rock'n'Roll Tender Is The Night' stated his sometime employers at Rolling Stone. A slender is the reason to write say the non-enjoyers. Diasppointing, to say the least.
Stu Gibson

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