Thursday, August 28, 2003
It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
Walking home last night, I passed someone I presumed to be a beggar. He certainly looked the part. Dishevelled appearance, glaring manic eyes, and a haircut you should be shot at dawn for; he was reeking of booze even cheaper than the stuff I'd been drinking, and wearing a scruffy parka covered with the kind of stains you don't ask your mum to wash out. Around his neck he'd hung a placard on which he'd scrawled the words "Have You Got A Stones Ticket?"
With tickets for their current world tour flogging for hundreds of quid, Rolling Stones tickets would make beggars out of us all, so I admired his cheek. (Word of advice: cheek/ honesty works with me every time. Ask me for the price of a cuppa tea, guv, and I'll come over all sneery and Kenneth Williams with you. Be up-front and demand a few quid for a couple of Special Brews, and you might just get lucky, matey.)
It was only when I saw the police cordon, the flashing cameras, and the queues of similarly-dressed people waiting outside the 2,000-capacity London Astoria, that I realised Mick Jagger had got over his nasty little cold and was playing there tonight, as a warm-up to the Stones' upcoming Wembley Arena gigs. And the man with the placard was no down-at-heel unfortunate but a bona fide rock 'n' roll fan.
Good on the Stones for playing such a comparatively small venue slap-bang in the middle of the West End. But do they know the Astoria is also the home to G.A.Y and Camp Attack, a couple of notoriously naff gay nights, distinguished by dipsy queens with no dress sense dancing even worse than me, and whose stage regularly plays host to wannabe popstars, faded 70s icons, and put-to-seed rock-star has-beens trying just one more come-back?
You know, maybe Mick and the lads are in on the joke, after all.