Showing posts with label rolling stones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rolling stones. Show all posts

Friday, 17 September 2010

Roll It

Not bad for a man named Lewis

   Posthumously speaking, Brian Jones is my favourite Stone; the butterfly to Charlie Watts' beetle (and this also takes into account Keef's splendid purple suit); never a grown-up, always a child. Where Watts today is precise, sharp and structured in his appearance to the point that he may as well be armoured, Jones' flamboyance at its peak suggested that a mere brush with his chimerical finery would result in a psychotropic trip

   And those caught up in his personal whirlwind must have suspected the come downs would be as debilitating as they were scandalous

   Brian is perhaps the quintessential Rock Polymath of Doom, since, as it is sometimes seen, with great ability comes great disaster. He was charismatic, popular, sexually overactive and indulged in a great many interests; one could see the self-destructive predisposition a mile off. He was a rebel within a band of rebels and a quintessential outside-insider, a feeling to which I can sometimes relate

   He was also a Peacock sans pareil, with a mid-to-late 1960s wardrobe  practically custom built to outrage the sensibilities of the most conservative echelons of sartorialism and stir the loins of the girls and women who flocked to the itinerant father of five and his bandmates.  With finery to source from the likes of Mr. Fish, Hung On You, I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, and Granny Takes A Trip, Brian had little difficulty in establishing himself as a leader of the psychedelic plumage set

   Bandmate Bill Wyman later summed him up as thus:
There were two Brians... one was introverted, shy, sensitive, deep-thinking... the other was a preening peacock, gregarious, artistic, desperately needing assurance from his peers... he pushed every friendship to the limit and way beyond
   Of course, even without the motivation of court appearances to moderate his excesses, he was perfectly capable of affecting a more reputable presentation when the occasion arose; indeed, the earlier days of The Rolling Stones - interesting enough to serve as a reference for Stefano Pilati's Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche collection in Fall 2008 - feature a more relatively sober Brian, with he and his bandmates more attuned to the calmer attire of the earlier 1960s. I like to think that he was good at that, also:

   But don't think that I cannot appreciate the contrast; the immediacy of Brian's psyched out latter period may attract more attention, but these different modes instantly resonate with me, used as I am to modifying my appearance when social engagements call for it. That, by the by, is a choice I make - it's rather an interesting exercise in adaptability where I'm concerned

   Nevertheless, the Dandy In The Sky look that Brian made his own has such a compelling F-U grace to it that it rarely fails to inspire.After all, peacocks rarely exist to be 100% replicated; it is their ideas that are to be admired or reviled, absorbed or discarded. For all the white men who can be found fretting about their suitability for a wider palette of clothing colours, there's Brian's blithe mixing and matching; a riotous visual patchwork of glee for dressing up that doesn't occur to most fellows even once in a lifetime. Where concerns persist over the use of odd striped trousers, Brian went to tour sporting a dark jacket and corresponding tie (3rd photograph from the top), confidently displaying the desaturated version of his own adventurous glamour. When I need an interesting guide or 5 to donning neckscarves and other silken accoutrements, I have over a dozen pictures of Brian to show me how it's done

   Certainly, he looked like the sort of fellow one might proffer to a hippy at a Dead concert to lick, but I enjoy that. I draw the line at his blazer suit and the fondness for python skin boots he shared with Keith Richards (though I suppose that he had to share a few tastes at least with The Glimmer Twins), but with such a bombast, there's usually a line that must be drawn somewhere

   Let us put it this way - he is not the Lapo Elkann of the 1960s - for a start, Lapo's binges seem to have had a more all-encompassing deleterious effect on his own creativity than Brian's did his. At least Brian had the good grace to keep it consistent

   Mick Jagger, appropriately, wore one of Mr. Fish's shirt dresses when performing at The Rolling Stones' free concert in Hyde Park, two days after Brian joined The 27 Club upon his death on 3rd July 1969. Having dedicated the performances to the founder who eventually became isolated from his peers, the band's frontman took a moment to play orator in memory of his one-time friend:

   Brian, as it is famously known, was ultimately discovered dead at the bottom of his own swimming pool at his Cotchford Farm home in West Sussex. It bears noting that in later years, the tiles from the pool were individually sold for around $210 per 6-inch tiles, courtesy of his own Fan Club

   Such as it was, Brian earned a place in checkered history. And popular culture and rock 'n' roll were certainly the more interesting for having had him there to develop their milieus in a most uncommon manner

   Roll with it

Further reading:

And a pictorial to close out proceedings: