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Queens of the Underground - The Rolling Stones

joe ambrose/marsha hunt rolling stones appreciation society.

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by Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: December, 2012
Above all I salute Mick Jagger... He invented the genre and he may take it to his grave with him.

Marsha Hunt, who was briefly Mick Jagger's lover and also the mother of his first child, is now 66 and selling a cache of letters that he wrote to her in 1969 when he was on location in Australia, making his Ned Kelly movie. She says she's broke and that, anyway, members of their generation are dropping dead or having strokes like nobody's business so she needs the money to look after her old age - and her French home where the electricity was recently cut off.

Truly, we have reached the Twilight of the Gods.

Ms. Hunt correctly points out that if her generation, perhaps the most fascinating one of the 20th Cenutry, wants to set the record straight, now might be its last chance to do so. And if we want to take a long hard look at The Rolling Stones, and gather together some aesthetic perspective on their achievement, now might be the time to do that too. While they're still active and even considering another of those world-conquering tours which are a brand of behaviour invented by them - along with so many other brands. Such as Rock Music.

So what do I think of the Rolling Stones today?

Do I wish they'd record an album of elegance and sleaziness which would redefine this sad old world we live in? I do.

Do I wish they'd tour without the corporate sponsorship, the naff stage sets, and the boring ticket-selling interviews in which nobody ever says anything interesting or personal or even funny? I do.

And do I wish they were much younger, more couragous, and less connected into the corporate right-wing media nexus which is, alas, at the core of their 21st Century activities? I really do.

But I'll put up with the the fact that none of that seems likely.

I'll settle for their extradordinary back catalog, their still-better myths and scandals, their marvellous consorts - the awesome artistic and cultural statement which is the surviving Stones standing there on the stage four-square, heads held high, delivering rock mythology at its cartoon finest.

Above all I salute Mick Jagger. For fifty years he has stewarded the Stones project, the performer who has played to the largest audiences for the longest time in the history of mankind. Heading towards 70, he still flogs a sexual product and, even on a bad day, he's a better rock singer than anybody else by a country mile. He invented the genre and he may take it to his grave with him.

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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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