‘Stones’, painting by Nick Ward (2011, 4xA4 card, water-colour, acrylic, urine, the co-operative mouthwash: freshmint, glitter, pastel)
I started ‘Stones’ during Brian Matthews’ weekly ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ BBC Radio 2 show on Saturday 8th January and finished it in the early hours of Monday 10th today!), in a Jackson Pollock-style frenzy with the black paint to the sounds of Bob Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs CD 2 (2008 – The Bootleg Series Vol. 8) and a in a state of absolute calm for the red, green, yellow and blue ‘egg’-centres – thinking of Tibetan prayer flags – having fallen asleep on a dose of ‘worldly concentration’ meditation (Tibetan: bsam gtan lezhi) enabling visualistion of the four levels of meditative absorbtion, the fruit of which – according to The Words of My Perfect Teacher (kunzang lama’I sheling) by Patrul Rinpoche (kindly on loan to me from High Lama Ato Rinpoche and his Cambridge-based Nezang meditation and study group –
you’ll get it back one of these days, guys!) – ‘the fruit of which is to be reborn in four kinds of god realm in the World of Form’. If you believe in that kind of thing.
I’m a regular listener to veteran BBC DJ Brian Matthew’s 60s show. Like a lot of people I’m intrigued by the decade I was born into (2.1.62) but have only fragmentary memories of.
As Nick Ward Scenarios fans don’t need telling I’m on a bit of a Keith Richard(s) – Bob Dylan trip right now so I was delighted that both of these towering artists were given outings on this week’s retrospectve.
search term: brian jones’s firebird 6.
It was Brian Jones who did the leg-work back in 1963 regarding getting the Stones a foothold in the industry (which meant only one thing – getting the attention of Brian Matthew who was fronting the BBC TV’s The Sunday Club in 1963, according to Philip Norman’s ‘The Stones’ (Pan Books, 2001).
It was Brian’s persistent missives (in well-turned (if slightly purple) prose) that finally landed the blues/R & B band trying to hold on to their pro-jazz drummer (big on Eel Pie Island) an audition with ‘your old mate’ Brian Matthew. Philip Norman takes up the story (The Stones’, p.74):
‘Before they set off, Brian shampooed and blow-dried his hair with a Beatle cut thicker and more eye-enveloping than the Beatles wore, ‘It shocked even us a bit,’ Keith says, ‘He looked like a Saint Bernard with hair all over his eyes. We told him he’d have to be careful or he’d bump into things’.
The audition took place under the eye of the show’s producer and of its compare, Brian Matthew. Both men based their musical judgement on the hidebound prejudices of a corporation which for years had banned even the phrase ‘Hot Jazz’ as being sexually suggestive. ‘We got a letter back from the producer in the end’ Bill Wyman says, ‘He said they liked us as a group but they couldn’t book us because ‘the singer sounds too coloured’’.
I’m wondering what Brian Matthew has to say about this rejection he was party to 48 years ago.
Speak out, Brian. Speak! Speak about those times…