Part of your world

28 Feb

Whenever I think of Keith Richards I think of Sleeping Beauty. Let me explain.

Aurora in repose ...

and Keith Richards in a stupor ... the resemblance is eerie

We went to the House of Mouse in Orlando a few years ago when my younger daughter was in kindergarten. The method of meeting costumed characters had changed since we used to take our older daughter to Disneyland in Anaheim. They weren’t strolling the grounds anymore; you had to meet them at appointed times in specific places scattered throughout the park. Big-headed characters like Goofy and Chip and Dale could be found at marked locations on the street–but if you wanted to meet a princess, you had to go to her place of business.

Ariel could be found in her grotto. She was winsomely charming, exclaiming with wild wonder once she learned we were from Michigan, “Is there snow there? I’ve always wanted to swim in snow!” The other princess superstars—Belle, Cinderella and Aurora, better known as Sleeping Beauty—were sheltered behind closed doors and curtains at the end of a hall at the back of Big Al’s Toy Barn. (The signs said we’d be in line for at least an hour; how convenient that we had to cool our heels in the largest toy store in the place.)

More than an hour and many dollars later, we were at the entrance at last. Once inside, as the princesses came into view, my kindergartener and (even) my middle school daughter suddenly were over the moon. As I fumbled with the camera, I watched the ladies do their magic. Just like their mermaid sister, they were graceful, gracious and completely genuine during their brief time with each child: answering questions, posing for pictures, bending down for hugs, waving goodbye. This all went beyond staying in character. Each exemplified all a princess should be in the eyes of a delighted little girl.

And speaking of being a delighted little girl, I recently finished Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life. It’s a great read, written in loopy prose that befits the man’s image as rock and roll’s least-likely-to be-still-be-alive living legend. He lays it all out there, swearing he remembers everything and happy to tell tales about himself and many others, particularly about his best mate and worst enemy, Mick Jagger. One of my many favorite quotes:

Mick never wants me to talk to his women. They end up crying on my shoulder because they’ve found out that he has once again philandered…. The tears that have been on this shoulder from Jerry Hall, from Bianca [Jagger], from Marianne [Faithfull], Chrissie Shrimpton … And they ask me what to do! How the hell do I know? I don’t f**k him!”

Part and parcel with the dishy celebrity-filled anecdotes are the lucid accounts of his many, many, many drug-fueled escapades which many times created great art and other times nearly landed him in jail. Throughout the tales of heroin and guns and rages and blackouts, he dutifully gives his “don’t try this at home, kids” disclaimers. But he’s unapologetic because it all added up to that ferocious, blues-drenched, inspirational music.

Like those Disney princesses, Keith respects the role he plays in people’s lives without a scrap of cynicism. (I’m sure he cashed his checks from Disney for Pirates of the Carribean without cynicism, too.) He lives a crazy, vastly lucrative and often illegal life pursing his love of performing music, which is a luxury very few people can afford. He honors the fact that his persona means so much:

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.

 Thanks, Keef. Now, here is an example of the raging Keith Richards … with a message for all us princesses out there:

See you on the flip side.

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One Response to “Part of your world”

  1. Philip February 28, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Well worth the wait. Really nicely written.

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