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Youth and Young Manhood Part 2

Joe Ambrose recalls a trip to Slane Castle to see the Rolling Stones

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by Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: July, 2008
The sun blazed down on us while Jagger did a sharp, robust, yet delicate version of Waiting For a Friend

At dawn a flotilla of earth movers and trucks descended on the spot where all the food concessions were located and erected a wall of small trees in front of us so that Their Satanic Majesties couldn't see the burger, pizza slices, or hot dog joints when, that evening, they pranced and played.

They came onstage while Take the A Train by Duke Ellington blared across the river valley. Jagger went up above the crowd in a cherry picker. I was down the front surrounded by the sexiest of kids. The sun blazed down on us while Jagger did a sharp, robust, yet delicate version of Waiting For a Friend, They were still a working band then, as opposed to being mythological gods. By the time I got back to the hot dog stall Stan was doing the figures and organising the dismantling of our enterprise.

I haven't seen Stan since 1984. I did a Google on him last year and found, in his name, a planning application to build three houses on land his mother used to own in that drain of a Leinster town he comes from.

I later got to know exceptionally well people who, strangers to me then, can't have been far away from me in that crowd.

Denis Desmond is the biggest music promoter in Ireland. Corvin inherited his father's farm. He now has a genteel intelligent seventeen year old son who takes after Aunt Mary's side of the family. Aunt Mary, in her eighties, presides over a busy and grand farmhouse on the stud farm her husband inherited long before he died suddenly one day while out walking his land. I stay with her whenever I can visit Ireland. The Rolling Stones...

Postscript: The Stones played at Slane again exactly 25 years after their first show there. In the intervening years I saw them live many times, most significantly in front of about 1000 people at London's Astoria. At first I thought I would go see them at Slane again but then I decided that I wouldn't. I didn't go because now I'd prefer to see them in more intimate surroundings and also because I firmly believe that you should never look back. Even at the beautiful vista which is Slane Castle or at the tarnished tawdry but relentlessly attractive charm of the Rolling Stones

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Joe Ambrose
Literary Editor

Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.

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