Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Morning At The Church Of The Batshit Crazy

That's the giant tree that split apart last year, its gashes and huge splinters a stark reminder of the event. The part of the tree which is left though, still stands strong and true, it's branches still a beautiful part of the moss-draped canopy in my back yard.

It is an almost perfect day here in Lloyd. I slept wonderfully well with no air conditioning, Maurice curled up, resting against me all night long. I say I slept well and I did except for the part where I woke up and realized that the vague feelings of stomach upset I'd had all day, increasing into the evening had come to fruition. Let me just say that I am now ready for my colonoscopy and there was no vomiting. 
I think I may have the very lightest form of whatever bug Lily had. Of course, it could just be the six hours I spent in the garden but I don't think so. I never felt fatigued or got exhausted. Tired, yes, hot and sweaty- oh my. But not heat-strokey by any means.

Well, la-di-dah, whatever it was or is, I plan on taking it pretty easy today. One thing I want to do is to watch that film, "Stones in Exile" again. It was a beautiful little film and the director, Stephen Kijack, was obviously making a love letter. It is the story of how the Stones made their album, Exile on Mainstreet, after being virtually kicked out of England. Due to manager rip-offs, incredibly high (93%) taxes by the English government, and of course, the continual harassment and arrests by the British police, the Stones were indeed exiled to France, desperately needing to make a new album. 
They ended up making that album, not in a studio, but in the basement of the house which Keith and Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his son Marlon, rented, a 19th-century Cote d' Azur mansion called Nellcote. 

Ah, I won't go into all of it but let us just say that it was an amazing time for all involved and Keith goes into a lot of detail in his autobiography. Everyone was doing drugs, all of the drugs. And yet, as an article in the Guardian from 2002 says, "In places, Exile on Mainstreet does indeed sound, in the best possible way, like an album made by a bunch of drunks and junkies who were somehow firing on all engines."

The film did not really delve too deeply into the dank basement of grit although those things weren't completely glossed over, either. And speaking of dank basements,

Upstairs may have been beautiful and huge and stately

but the basement was hot and so humid that guitars constantly went out of tune and it must have been almost unbearable at times. As Keith said, "Upstairs it was fantastic- Like Versailles- But downstairs, it was like Dante's inferno."

(Bobby Keys who still plays with the Stones.)

Something that really struck me about the film was how much it reminded me of certain aspects of the music scene in Tallahassee at about the same time. Of course, on a much less intense scale, but I remember musicians whose houses were the center of operation, where people came and went and yes, did drugs but  let me be clear- to this day I've never seen heroin in my life- and there were kids running around everywhere and food being made and eaten all the time and at the very center and core and heart of it all, was the music. Always. It was a tribal time. An incredibly creative time. Songs were being written, musicians sat in large or small circles playing, children danced in fancy costumes of their own making, I was often in the kitchen, cooking and baking, we all did our part somehow. 

One of the things about the film which was highly disappointing to me was the very absence of Gram Parsons who played a huge role in Keith Richards' life and in the songs that were written and recorded at Nellcote. I'm not sure why this omission occurs unless it is because Mick Jagger had a lot to do with the film. Keith, in his autobiography, says flat plain out that Mick was jealous of the bond between Keith and Gram which was a most intense one.

They shared everything from a deep love of similar music to heroin. Quite frankly, to me, the songs on Exile on Mainstreet sound far more Richards and Parsons than they do Jagger. 

Here's one called "Loving Cup."

If you know the music of Gram Parsons, I think you'll agree.

I love that video and also this one which is of a song called "Happy" which Richards definitely wrote.

The contrast between Mick's preening made-up face, his tight little swinging, swishing ass and Keith's missing teeth says it all.

At one part in the film, Keith says something like, "I just wanted to raise my family and make music." I think the whole fame part confused and baffled and frustrated him except for the way it made it possible for him to play the sort of music he wanted with the people he wanted.

From the Guardian article:

"Mick needs to know what he's going to do tomorrow," says Richards, his voice slurring into a laugh. "Me, I'm just happy to wake up and see who's hanging around. Mick's rock, I'm roll."

Well, that's enough. I realize I'm a freaking Richards disciple. Oh well. It could be worse. I could be one of those people who is obsessed with Sarah Palin or FSU football or the Nazis.
But no, I'm just a woman who lives in Lloyd, Florida and who has grandchildren and who has always loved music which has, at times, literally saved her life and for whom Keith Richards is some sort of totem who represents survival via music and love despite all odds.

Here's another picture from my yard this morning.

Beauty Berry. 

I guess this has been my Sunday devotional. 

Amen, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. All black and white photos of the Stones and Nellcote by Dominique Tarle whose photos from that time period are amazing. You should check them out.

P.P.S. Don't get me wrong. I love Mick Jagger too. 


  1. God, I'm glad I found your blog. Your musings and ramblings and thoughts are simply poetry.

  2. It seems that I have underestimated you when it comes to Keith Richards. I knew you were a fan, but damn girl! You know stuff about him like I know about Elvis (the singer, not the rooster). I fell in love with him when I was eight, then found out when our new neighbors moved in that the Mom had gone to school with him in Tupelo! I actually saw what he signed in her junior high year book! Like you and your Keith, I loved Elvis, faults and all. I'm glad you got to watch your movie (at least twice).

  3. Marty- Yo. I'm glad too.

    Catrina- It's so funny. I couldn't give a rat's ass about Elvis because he never rang my bell at all. I do appreciate his place in the American history of blues-to-Rock but as Keith might have said, He rocked but he didn't roll. In my mind, at least. I was captured early by the English rock bands and yes, they were doing the same thing Elvis was- taking African American music and turning it into popular music. But at least they gave credit. To me, Elvis always acted as if he invented it which was an obvious lie.

  4. I have not seen this movie! It sounds interesting. I gotta check it out. I know so little about the Stones but I feel like I should know more. I DID read a fascinating biography of Gram Parsons a couple of years ago -- since we were both Havenites at one time or another it makes sense we'd be interested in him!


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