A Review

The Life And Times Of

Andrew Loog Oldham

Of The Rolling Stones

by

R.E. Prindle

Oldham, Andrew Loog: Stoned, 2001, Vintage

Oldham, Andrew Loog: 2Stoned, 2003, Vintage

Oldham, Andrew Log: Stone Free, 2012, Escargot Books

Oldham, Andrew Loog: Rolling Stoned, 2013, Because Entertainment

 

-1-

Who Is Andrew Loog Oldham

Andrew In The Day

Andrew In The Day

For those who know this introduction will be superfluous, but for those who don’t know this essay will be an introduction to a man who through his exploitation of the Rolling Stones was an important influence on that memorable Sixties decade. Perhaps moreso than is commonly thought.

Out on the consuming edge of the record industry in those days the name Andrew Loog Oldham seemed to be displayed as prominently on the record covers as The Rolling Stones themselves. In the early days Andrew Loog Oldham might be known before Mick or Keith and certainly the other members of the band. Yet Oldham wasn’t in the band so who was he? And then records were issued bearing the name The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. Where did he get that name Loog anyway? And just as suddenly the name Andrew Loog Oldham disappeared but the Stones remained. Who was this guy anyway?

In those days when information could be gathered, if at all, at the proverbial snail’s pace, things have changed today when I can make a few clicks and see Andrew moving and hear him speaking; actually see his fabulous style of dressing as he described it. In addition he has written two thousand pages describing himself more or less in full. Now we can know who Andrew Loog Oldham is and what his relationship to the Rolling Stones was.

Andrew’s, we’ll take a familiar approach throughout, great tragedy is that his fated life opportunity showed up too early. He was only nineteen in 1963 when the opportunity that few ever get a chance to grasp showed up on his front doorstep, so to speak. That was the appearance of the London music group The Rolling Stones. In order to come into his inheritance as he was under twenty-one and couldn’t legally act in his own name, Andrew had to find a surrogate to act in his stead. Chance provided an old reprobate by the name of Eric Easton. Eric was a plodder who had served as an organist at the resort town of Blackpool while representing two or three nondescript acts of which one was the redoubtable Mrs. Miller. While not a household name at the present time Mrs. Miller whose act consisted of being an amusingly terrible singer, had her moment in the spotlight both in England and the US. She did have records released and they did sell no matter how modestly.

Easton was slow on the uptake not realizing the cultural shift that was taking place with the arrival of the Beatles and would have been incapable of managing the Stones without Andrew’s grasp of the changing cultural situation of the Sixties. However he was not too slow to understand money in the bank of which he made off with a fortune or two much to the chagrin of both Andrew and the Rolling Stones.

Andrew’s four volumes are records of his vicissitudes being a young Lancelot reaching for the Grail. Andrew was green, he was. In ordinary times he would have been cleaned and discarded never to be heard of again but these were the Sixties and not normal times. Even in failure the times conspired to make Andrew comfortable by luxury standards, perhaps even rich, but not filthy rich. The marvelous Sixties did that for so many people most of them undeserving. By undeserving I mean takers with nothing to offer.

Well, this isn’t a tale about justice but one of the Sixties in which the whole concept of justice disappeared like the vapor from a nuclear plant. As an extra special gift of the times to Andrew he is today still alive and kicking having passed the seventh decade barrier at 71 years of age. The good didn’t necessarily die young just the unlucky. Andy is lucky.

He can be seen introducing his third book, Stone Free, at his Face Book site for those interested. Always the fashion plate he is a dapper impression of his hero Phil Spector, pointy nose and all. His hair is becomingly combed back on the sides making for a very presentable 71 year old young at heart gentleman. He wears a mint green light jacket and shirt, something of a cross between a butch femme and an effete hommy, but altogether passable. He projects a pleasant aura indicating little brain damage from his very legendary drug use. A look at him shows how Alex, the chief Droog of A Clockwork Orange may have looked as he made the passage from rough youth to a more dignified mature, the word ‘old’ does not apply to one like Andrew, or I might vainly say, myself.

-II-

Andrew Finds That Life Has It Hazards

Andrew: Is He Experienced?

Andrew: Is He Experienced?

I don’t really envy the English kids that came along after my birth year of 1938. The war years were tough enough but then the long years of national poverty after 1945 must have been grating. I can’t imagine a life without candy that the lads and lasses had to endure for nine long years. In my paradise in the US candy bars in those days at a nickel were monstrous. I couldn’t eat a whole one at one sitting. Stuffed at less than a half. Andrew must have known hardship and suffered horribly.

The war babies, mostly from ’42 and ’43 can have no memory of the war but the long ten years of rationed everything gave a cast to their psyches. When the war babies grew up and became rockers they laid out long tables of delicacies and then ignored them letting them go to waste. The pain was forgotten but lived on in the subconscious. Andrew was conceived in ’43 and popped out in ’44. Tragic for Andy, he should have born in ’42 and been 21 in ’63.

His was a special case. In a country in which the majority of men were US soldiers, normality had flown out the door in ’43; his mother not unnaturally took up with one. It was a tough time. Andrew’s father, Andrew Loog, was a soldier from Texas. He had a wife and son back there. As a younger man I applied my moral training to people in Andrew Loog’s situation and condemned them but now hopefully wiser and certainly older I understand. As a soldier in an active war Andrew Loog could die at any time so why not a little happiness? Perhaps he cringed at violating his peacetime morals. In any event as a member of a bomber crew he didn’t even make it across the Channel just after impregnating Andrew’s mother with his future self. Big Andy hoped he’d dodge the bullets but as it didn’t happen at least it resolved what would have been a difficult emotional situation.

Big Andy hadn’t married Little Andy’s mother so that made little Andy the bastard son of a bigamous father. Having been in the orphanage myself being a bastard means nothing to me. But society is unkind to bastards and orphans. Having read all four of Little Andy’s reminiscences more than once it seems clear that his bastardy left its mark on Andy. He had stormy relationship with his mother, perhaps beating her frequently while in his late teens. She said he did but he says he can’t remember doing it while it would have been wholly outside his character, however, he definitely admits booting her out of a moving car while she was pregnant. Those temper tantrums he had!

Possibly Andrew blames his mother for bringing him into the world as a bastard. He shouldn’t, better a bastard than not at all. Now, Andy discusses this from different angles constantly in his memoirs so my purpose here is to try to put his mind at ease.

The war had a devastating effect on social life especially in England which was merely a staging area for US forces in those years. Churchill was merely a stooge of Roosevelt’s.   Just as in WWI a million or English men died or were incapacitated meaning that just that many women were condemned to spinsterhood or whatever. Oh, I know that the dyke Gloria Steinem said a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle but Steinem was an unnatural woman. Andrew’s mother wasn’t.

As she gave Andy his father’s full name, that is Andrew Loog, I’m guessing that given the times and circumstances she really loved the guy so she named what surely must have been her darling Andrew, Loog, tacking on her name Oldham. Maybe I’m sentimental, but coming from the orphanage, I find that touching.

Now, Celia Oldham, for that was her name, was a Jewish girl. Andrew Loog I’m guessing from his name was probably of Dutch ancestry. Probably a Protestant but possibly a Sephardic Jew. Andy may know but I don’t.

So, here Celia Oldham is post-war with the little tyke, Andy, and no husband or father for his child. There is a massive shortage of men after the GIs clear out so while Celia is attractive the mating pool is small. Celia did the next best thing and probably with Andy in mind did it well; she became the mistress of a wealthy man while including Andy in the equation. Not only was he wealthy he was a decent man who maintained her and Andy as a second family. No kidding. He kept them in relative style while putting Andy through the public schools. (Public is private in England.)

What more could a single mother with no prospects do? Perhaps Andrew’s schoolmates were typical louts and ragged him continuously for being a bastard. I know that in the orphanage during and after was hell on wheels but that was the hand that was dealt and I had to play it; four deuces, trey high. Could have been worse. I’m not saying my psychology wasn’t affected and as Andy tells it his sure as hell was.

My point is that life being what it is he should be grateful for a loving mother who made the very best of a bad situation.

-III-

Lost In The Ozone Without A Parachute

Andrew In Midpassage

Andrew In Midpassage

As noted Celia Oldham was Jewish and while Andrew says that the religion didn’t play a big part in their lives nevertheless the mother is the culture bearer. The culture she passed on to Andrew must have been Jewish.

Judaism is an identitarian faith. To be Jewish is to separate oneself from the ‘gentiles’, from all others, the rest of mankind. As the US Zionist Samuel Untermyer was to proclaim on nationwide radio in opposition to Hitler’s claim that the Germans were the master race: We, the Jews, are the aristocrats of the earth. In other words, Drop this master race crap because you ain’t it.

Thus in a country nominally English, as Andrew describes his youth it was lived in an entirely Jewish community. As he describes it he associated with no one who wasn’t Jewish. Like the Jewish Bob Dylan he is always surrounded by Jews. As he set out to find his way in life he chose the record business as his métier. I think Andrew wanted to be where it was happening and as his antennae flickered about sensing for that taste of honey he perceived that his future lay in records. The entire music business if not the entertainment business was in the control of his fellow Jews.

Andy took his sense of reality from movies. There are a couple influential films he refers to frequently. One is the American film The Sweet Smell Of Success which however is about two Jews, the one based on the newspaper columnist Walter Winchell and the other his sidekick and the other is the British film Espresso Bongo. Naturally I obtained both movies and have checked them out. Also naturally at this age and distance I do not see them through nineteen year old eyes.

In Sweet Smell Andrew concentrates on the character Sidney Falco played by Tony Curtis. Andy identifies with Falco as a hustler in US terms and a Wide Boy in English terms. Thus Andrew identifies himself as a Wide Boy. Falco was an unsavory character, a stooge of his boss J.J. Hunsecker played by the repulsive Burt Lancaster. Curtis played the role well. One laments Andrew’s fascination with the character.

Espresso Bongo is a pretty decent rock film. It takes place I believe at the actual legendary 2i coffee house in which English rock was centered. The film puts you back in the day. The star is Andy’s all time hero Laurence Harvey who also turns in a stellar role. Harvey has that downtrodden hang dog look that carried David Janssen through the US The Fugitive TV series so well. As I lived in a constant depression until I was forty I knew the look and it suited me well. I identified with both Janssen and Harvey. Harvey was one of my favorite actors too. Depression and Laurence Harvey go together

In Espresso Bongo Harvey plays a role of a hapless manager of a singer who gets away from him much as Andrew himself would let the Stones slip away from him.

All the managers were Jewish and all exploited their ‘boys.’ Perhaps the most famous of these, what the English amusingly call manipulators, was Larry Parnes. As England emerged from rationing in the fifties and the rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed by the bombing of WWII created a sort of false prosperity those young people who survived the bombing and rationing were coming of age. The war had caused a generational break. Young England began creating an England in their own image. They rejected the pre-war England of their elders. It was a world they never made. Of course neither had their elders.

Parnes sensing the direction began creating an image of recording stars to gratify youthful yearnings, especially of young girls. He found god looking boys giving them great stage names such Georgie Fame, Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Vince Eager and my favorite, Lance Fortune. There can be but little question that he exploited, not to say cheated, his ‘boys.’ Parnes was both Jewish and homosexual, a killer combination that dominated the industry.

For instance this about Vince Eager from the Widipedia entry for Larry Parnes

Vince Eager began to wonder why he had never received any record royalties. ‘You’re not entitled to any.’ Larry Parnes told him. ‘But it says in my contract that I am.’ Eager protested. ‘It also says I have power of attorney over you, and I’ve decided you’re not getting any.’ Parnes replied.

Parnes was of course both Jewish and homosexual. As he had many of these performers on salary he was cleaning up. Of course he had merely plucked them off the streets and set them up designing their acts, teaching them stage presence, choosing repertoires etc., they may have been little more than employees. However they did have ‘contracts’ although as the above quote indicates they were more than one sided making the contractees little more than slaves

The whole record scene was exploitative and homosexual. When London’s leading criminals horned in on the record scene, the Kray brothers, Reg and Ron they were Jewish and homosexual while their older brother Charlie who was straight with no police record managed the business end of the record racket.

As Andrew was coming up through the years this was the situation he perceived. While he couldn’t have broken into the Parnes style star system once the Beatles hit and the emphasis switched to groups an opening appeared. Parnes who had his star system going disdained the group thing leaving that open so that the Beatles manager Brian Epstein slid through the opening developing his group and star roster dislodging Parnes.

The market had expanded exponentially since the fifties when Parnes developed his system. Andrew, then, aquiver with the possibilities had his eye out for the new Beatles. He was told about the group working in Richmond called The Rollin’ Stones. He went, he saw, he signed.

-IV-

A Clockwork Orange

As Andrew freely acknowledges by his late teens he was experiencing mental problems so I am merely discussing what he has disclosed. He says he was suffering from manic depression. Probably so, but he must also have blended in a little schizophrenia. The stresses of his childhood were taking possession of his mind. I know whereof I speak. This combined with his disastrous choices of role models that would be joined in 1962 by his reading of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange issued that year made him something of a phenom. Burgess, there’s another sicko.

A Clockwork Orange Boy, there was a Satanic book if there ever was one. The book took a certain mentality by storm, organized it and gave it expression. Its history is intimately connected with Jagger and Richards.

As influential in its limited sphere as the book was, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 movie was perhaps the most destructive Satanic movie ever produced. It set the tone for the years that followed. The movie just tore a certain type of mind apart; Alexes by the dozen, nay, hundreds, thousands moved roved out every night after it was shown, snatching girls off the street. Clockwork was seconded by the movie The Collector that appeared about the same time. The book of Clockwork was less powerful but would still influence Andrew and through him Jagger and Richards. The other Stones led separate lives not involved with Mick, Keith and Andrew’s antics.

The Mad Andy Warhol

The Mad Andy Warhol

So Andrew’s brain is in a complete turmoil as he tries to find his way through the maze of life. Influenced by the real Larry Parnes and the fictional Johnny Jackson for a modus operandus he went in search of an act to manage and found his way to The Rolling Stones. Having discovered his mother lode, having a clear vision of what to do he was stymied by being only nineteen in shark infested waters without a cage.

Short of twenty-one he had to team up with a shark. As he was renting an office from an inoffensive appearing shark, Eric Easton, he convinced Eric to essentially through himself represent the Stones. Eric may have been a pretty sincere stodge but he was no fool when it came to his self-interest. He may have been close to a bottom feeder but that didn’t mean he hadn’t learned most of the tricks of the Great Whites. The ins and outs of contracts presented no problems to him while dizzy Andy and the naïve Mick and Keith probably hadn’t considered the existence of contracts. Give them a pen and dotted line under their name and they would sign. But, really, it was never a fair fight.

As Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw is alleged by Woody Guthrie to have said: Some will rob you with a six gun; some will use a fountain pen. Oh boy! Those contracts. The advantages are all on the side of the contractors; contractees beware. As Larry Parnes said: I’ve also got your Power Of Attorney and I say you don’t get anything. Revoking a Power Of Attorney is simple but how many amateurs think of it.

 

But legally contracts don’t really matter unless money is involved. There wouldn’t be a lot of money for a few years but when there was Andrew and the Stones not unsurprisingly got the bum’s rush.

Andrew’s brain was a regular pinwheel especially as in addition to his youth and mental condition he imbibed drugs freely. If your brain’s not already a mess drugs will certainly paint it black.

Even though Andrew chose poor role models he got the drift of what had to be done to make stars of random stones. Very few performers, they only become artists after success, know how to get from point A to point B and beyond. That’s where the manager, if he’s any good, comes in; he recognizes the possibilities of the raw talent and nurses them through the actual birth process. Believe me: this is worth a lot.

It is somewhat like Larry Parnes.   He sensed what the teen public wanted and rather than wait for it to come to him, he created it from the rawest material and then took more than the lion’s share or the benefits. But then, he also inadvertently gave his ‘boys’ lives. There were actual careers awaiting them after Parnes had scraped off the cream.

The question then is were the Stones too talented to fail? I don’t think so. Not without Andrew to shape them and point the direction anyway. Andrew couldn’t sing or play but he could turn dross into gold not too much differently than what Larry Parnes had done with his ‘boys.’ The Stones were the evidence.

The key to the Stones’ success was when they learned to write songs. Would they have learned to write songs if Andrew hadn’t literally forced them into it? I would answer with a clear cut negative. The Stones playing nothing but crappy old Chicago blues and would have sank without a trace. In that sense Brian Jones insistence on playing ‘pure’ R&B would have led to dismal failure. But then, maybe that is what Brian wanted.

Let me point out here that in the US all this crappy old blues stuff was unlistened to but by a very small minority. Nor would the stuff ever have gained popularity without the English influence. Even today very few listen to that junk. ‘I woke up this morning, lordy, lordy…’

While Mick, Keith and Brian were boggling their minds concentrating on the ‘music’ Andrew realized that teen age girls (the Parnes influence again) weren’t going to get too enthused about grizzled old Negroes complaining about how their mama wouldn’t drop down. Does anyone think sprightly young teenagers looking for a good time are going to wallow in anybody else’s misery? Not likely.

So Andrew directed his ‘boys’ toward a more pop sound alienating the ever insistent ‘purist’ Brain from Mick and Keith. Bill and Charlie were pretty much just boys in the band.

Thus faced with the overwhelming competition of the Beatles, the lovable Mop Tops, Andrew made the fatal choice of turning Mick and Keith into his criminal Droogs, taking the low road and leaving the high road to the Beatles. Alex in A Clockwork Orange called the members of his gang Droogs. In a sense Andrew tried to make the Stones Andrew and the Droogs.

All very well but as Andrew got a little money his brain went from a pinwheel on a stick to real fireworks where pinwheels shoot flames. His brain was really in a whirl. He was passing out at parties.   He became self-absorbed. He became interested in other projects that took his time, setting the Stones more or less adrift. His protégé Mick was no fool while being a quick learner. Why, Mick said to himself after becoming successful should I pay all these dufuses for what I can do myself. He couldn’t of course do it himself but it seemed like it at the time. He slammed the door in Andrew’s face.

-V-

Where’s Strength And Wisdom When You Need It?

Andrew: The Story Of His Life

Andrew: The Story Of His Life

The four years Andrew was with the Stones could have been a couple three or four lifetimes for the changes Andrew was forced through. Success is rightly called the bitch goddess. You’ll never know until you’ve said hello. The time from when he and Eric Easton signed the Stones to the time Andrew sold the Stones out to that Devil In Disguise Allen Klein nearly destroyed Andy. Allen Klein wasn’t in that much of a disguise either.

The trajectory of Andy’s career was so rapid it was hard to follow. It wasn’t so much that he bit off more than he could chew as that he tried to chew without biting it off. First things first, Andrew.

Anthony Burgess: Droogmaster General

Anthony Burgess: Droogmaster General

Obsessed with A Clockwork Orange he moved in with Mick and Keith where he gave them lessons in Droogism. Both were apt pupils. This is difficult to follow but his brain captured and sensing what seems to have been the book’s importance Andrew approached Burgess to buy the movie rights. Burgess told him the rights had already been sold but he wouldn’t tell Andy to whom.

It turns out that the rights had been sold to David Bailey the fashion photographer who had made Mick his ‘mate’ and possibly bought the rights jointly with Mick. If so, one wonders where Mick got the money. Sometime in 1963 the pair split with their rights to New York City to interest Andy Warhol in a film project. This also is rather remarkable because Andy was not yet that prominent while he hadn’t made any kind of stir with his puerile movies as yet. Somehow the rights passed to Warhol and finally to whoever acquired them to make Kubrick’s movie.

Warhol did make a film based on the book although the connection seems tenuous while not being worth watching. More importantly Alex and his Droogs had a profound effect on members of Warhol’s group. The group left Warhol’s atelier, the Factory, at night on their predations a la Alex and his Droogs. I believe Bob Dylan is referring to them in this lyric from his 1965 song Desolation Row:

Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew

Come out and roundup everyone that knows more than they do

Then they bring them to the [F]actory were the heart attack machine

Is strapped across their shoulders…

For some reason both Oldham and Bailey thought Mick was the perfect Alex while the Stones could be the Droogs. It didn’t work out but Mick and Warhol bonded like superglue. They would be very close friends until Andy died in 1987 when Mick flew to Pittsburgh for the funeral. Not only did the Stones practice Black and Blue at Warhol’s Montauk compound but Andy did two or three covers for them most notably Sticky Fingers. As a result of Mick and Warhol’s friendship the Stones always had the key to Greenwich Village.

So Andrew lost out on his bid for A Clockwork Orange. But then his brain racing a mile a minute and wanting to be a record magnate he founded Immediate Records. Not one for details Immediate stretched him pretty thin. I know we’re talking ancient history here, or at least ancient technology, so the reader will have to let go of the present to imagine the impact of Immediate Records on the cognoscenti of the time. I modestly include myself in that number.

Andrew was on the far edge of flamboyant; his ideal Larry Harvey who he met about this time thought him arch camp so Andy in his eye makeup and fey manners must have cut a startling figure. A lot of people thought he was queer and not just ambiguous. The Immediate label was an astounding pink, almost fluorescent seemingly confirming homosexual tendencies. It got your attention but in those days you almost had to apologize for buying a record with such a label. His covers were all good, in a class with the best and perhaps…. He signed and produced a lot of very good groups. The label’s production values may have prevented him from having any smashes, at least I don’t remember any.

I’m sure few will remember the Nice or even have heard of them but the first Nice was a pretty good record while the members went on to greater things. The sound wasn’t as immediate as it could have been. I worked it in my store but couldn’t get anywhere with it.

In those days British imports were all the rage on the West Coast while US records were despised. When I first went to England in the early seventies I was astounded to find the fans waiting for American pressings because they were thought better. Oh, I said, how strange. What makes them better? In so many words they said production values. In still other words they thought they had more immediacy. So Andy’s Immediate records lacked immediacy. I thought they were great anyway and they were always the first of the new releases I auditioned.

But, the devil is in the details, and Andrew wasn’t much on details so he went broke although he did hang in there until 1970. Not a bad record for an independent.   He doesn’t tell us what happened to the masters but they must have been worth something.

By that time Andy was not only deep into drugs he was legendary. In Stoned and 2Stoned he has some great descriptions of being out of it if you like that sort of thing. His first two books were based on the oral biography method of Jean Stein’s biography of Edie Sedgwick called Edie. In that book acquaintances were interviewed and then cut and pasted to form a continuous narrative. Knocked out by ‘Edie’ Andrew did the same with the exception that he commented on the interviewees’ comments.

Rolling Stoned begins in a straight autobiographical style then begins to wander and meander. Andrew is always a good read but unless you want to read three different four hundred page books covering the same ground with variations I would recommend his most recent, Rolling Stoned, or perhaps 2Stoned. Still, I don’t mind…

A Review:

Allen Klein

The Man Who Bailed Out The Beatles

Made The Rolling Stones

And Transformed Rock And Roll

 

Goodman, Fred:  Allen Klein, The Man Who Bailed…etc., 2015, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Loewenstein, Prince Rupert:   A Prince Among Stones, 2013, Bloomsbury

Oldham, Andrew Loog:  Stoned, 2000, 2001 Vintage Edition

Oldham, Andrew Loog:  2Stoned, 2002, 2003 Vintage Edition

Oldham, Andrew Loog:  Stone Free, 2012, Escargot Books

 

Allen Klein:  A Real Orphanage Face

Allen Klein: A Real Orphanage Face

I anticipated what I hoped would be a revealing account of the infamous Allen Klein.  I have been sorely disappointed by this hagiography.  Bailed out the Beatles, made the Stones and transformed rock and roll?  Whew!  Where’s his statue so I can reverence it.  Since Allen died in 2009, his son, Jody, has shaken up his father’s empire.  Jody has dipped into the archives to let out the two Stones’ movies Charley Is My Darling and Rock and Roll Circus to his credit.  They can now be seen and appreciated.  He probably has done much else that I am not aware of but would undoubtedly approve.

Fred Goodman’s white wash of Allen is disappointing.  Jody did call Fred and offer him the job so this must be a work of hire.  Perhaps Jody wanted a hagiography of sorts which is what he got or perhaps Fred was so daunted by the job he swallowed his teeth.  Having accepted the assignment Jody led Fred out to the warehouse and showed him several pallets of documents.  That would make me shiver too.

 

When Rupert Loewenstein accepted Jagger and the Stones as clients after the Stones rejected Allen he spent two or three years studying all their contracts and documents which were voluminous although not several pallets.  And he did it without pay.

Something tells me that Fred never touched those pallets.  If he didn’t study the documents one thing is certain:  he read the three books of the Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham carefully.  It was Oldham who sold the Stones to Klein.  Apparently none of these people understood the nature of intellectual properties because, if we are to believe, none of them realized that the developing rock catalogs would be worth anything down the road.  Even Oldham who is billed as prescient let the Stones’ masters that belonged to him as the producer go to Klein for less than a peanut.

The president of Decca Records, Edward Lewis, sensing the Oldham was having difficulties offered to buy the masters for 800K, K as in thousands, much less than even a million that would be a low ball.  Oldham didn’t want to sell to Decca but needing money offered to them to Klein for 750K.  The biggest bastard in the valley snapped them up.  They have since proved to be worth tens and tens of millions of dollars over the years.  Of course, Andrew would have had to wait and his blood was running too hot for that.

A few years later when he realized the masters might be worth a billion or more he has spent his life begging Allen for a larger settlement.

Andrew Oldham’s three books are Stoned, 2Stoned and Stone Free.  They make good reading although 2Stoned is a rehash and expanded version of Stoned.  There is a French condensation of both books into one but the translation is laughable as Andrew was much too colloquial for French.  Fun to have though if you get a thrill out of mere possession.  I’m not exactly guilty but I don’t object.  It’s there on my shelf.

While Fred gives an overly long synopsis of Andrew’s life, probably because he needed a little filler and certainly didn’t have what It took to tackle those pallets, Andrew tells his own life better.  Fred seems to have based his researches on Andrew’s brief life of Allen as contained in Stone Free.  Stone Free might be sub-titled Brief Lives of the Notable Rockers.  A great collection and grand background.  Fred follows Klein’s Life closely.

Fred’s book was obviously written after Rupert’s: A Prince Among Stones. Published in 2013 but Fred shows no evidence of having read it and he didn’t use it.  To read Fred’s account Allen was a greater prince than Rupert even though the facts as we know them read differently.

Allen who was Jewish, was born in 1931 in the city of Newark, New Jersey, a city that has produced several notable Jews including the novelist Philip Roth.  Allen’s mother died when he was only a few months old so he never knew her.  He briefly lived with his maternal Jewish grandmother but his paternal grandmother objected because his mother’s parents weren’t Jewish enough.  His father unable to care for Allen and his sisters placed them in an orphanage.  This fact explains much about Allen’s adult attitudes.  I was in an orphanage but a municipal orphanage rather than a religious one.  Jewish orphanages seem to have been rather cushy places.  The groupie Catherine James lived in one that appears to have been a ‘country club.’   Allen’s Newark orphanage (often called Children’s Homes) had only thirty inmates and let me tell you that removes a lot of stress.

Mine had a hundred twenty or thirty most of which were bigger bastards then Allen could have been.  The Catholic orphanage down the street that we visited as a group every so often was as close to hell on earth that any kid would want to get.  Still orphans are pariahs in the community so I’m sure Allen’s small place left an indelible impression on him.

When he grew up and entered the record business, notable for the quality of its bastards, Allen billed himself as the biggest bastard in the valley.  He was undoubtedly at war with everyone including himself.

Once in the record business he saw the easy marks and they were English.  The American record people were uncommonly intense bastards while the British were mannerly bastards so someone like Allen, the biggest bastard, pretty much reversed the British Invasion traveling to England and scooping up some impressive bands and artists.  I mean, Mickie Most!  He was already a legend to anyone who read the record covers.

He cut his teeth on Sam Cooke as the first artist he bilked- that is robbed.  Somehow he managed to steal Cooke’s face, that is his whole musical career and hence life, lock, stock and barrel.  Sam Cooke died under mysterious circumstances.  As might be expected Fred clears Allen of any suspicions accepting the story that a hooker he was with did the deed.  Well, maybe, she caught with his pants around his ankles unable to maneuver properly; on the other hand Andrew Oldham who is fairly reliable at calling spades spades says that Cooke was badly beaten and the hooker couldn’t have done that.  That doesn’t implicate Allen necessarily, him being in the record business.  Sam certainly knew a few bastards, may have been one himself, who could make Allen look like a crass beginner.

Nevertheless Allen got all the goodies bar none and for perpetuity.  After having viewed Cooke’s body he was satisfied the hooker did it.  Those intellectual properties just keep on paying and paying.  Poor Sam.  Allen probably could have stopped there but the biggest bastard wanted the biggest bands- the Stones and the Beatles and he did realize that orphan’s dream.

Allen had the typical manager’s attitude toward his clients’ money, pp. 57-58

Theatrical producer, Lawrence Myers, a British business manager and an accountant by training, met Klein several months before Cooke’s death and credited Allen with altering the course of his own career.  “Allen taught me something without which I wouldn’t have the lifestyle I do today,” said Myers.  “Don’t take twenty percent of an artist’s income- give them eighty percent of yours.  The difference between Allen and I is that I actually told them what was going to happen.  And Allen certainly didn’t.  They found out sometime later.”

Obviously being a ‘business manager’ was a license to steal.  If Allen gave all his artists 80% of 20% son Jody has inherited well.  As a ‘business manager’ all checks were collected by Allen and once in his pocket were the devil to get out.  However after all was said and done, after taxes, fees, expenses and commissions there wasn’t that much left over to be divided five ways.  Even if the manager was honest, and few are, he, as an individual was taking a minimum of one fifth.  In the case or Colonel Parker and Tony Defries nearly all.  There wasn’t that much left over to be divided five ways.

Consider:  The tax rate in England for ordinary income was 90%.  That means that after all expenses were deducted, perhaps fifty percent or more out of a million, a half million at best might be left over.  Ninety percent of half million is four hundred fifty thousand dollars leaving fifty thousand dollars to be split five ways.  That is at most ten thousand dollars each.  While the Stones minds were confused because they were earning millions and getting peanuts.  Didn’t compute in their minds.

So while from 1963 to 1968 if the group earned ten million dollars and that’s a lot of money they were only entitled to a mere good living in after tax dollars.  Not flush at all.  At the time I don’t think the Stones realized that.

Without knowing the exact amount of money Klein was handling perhaps the Stones were making unreasonable demands for cash.  For Klein it was a stroke of good luck when the drug addled Andrew sold him the Stones masters from 1963-71 for what to him was pocket change.  Those masters are the basis of what Klein made from the Stones.  And it was a legitimate purchase.  They have no complaints against Klein on that score as Andrew owned the rights and could sell them to who he chose.

Nevertheless Klein did not deal openly with Jagger and the group so Jagger, by far the businessman of the group, began to look for help elsewhere.  A Hippie about town he knew named Chrissie Gibbs had a passing acquaintance with the investment banker Rupert Loewenstein, introduced him to Jagger, then he inexplicably agreed to represent an uncouth rock group of whom he says he had never heard.  This is even more remarkable in that the Stones had been arrested and convicted on drug charges in 1967 the year before the staid and respectable Rupert took them on.  It was on the front pages with pictures.

Reminded of William Rees-Moggs editorial in the London Times that Rupert had read, he writes in his memoirs that, oh yes, he did remember that but endorsed the conviction entirely.  He still agreed to represent them.  What do you think of that?

Analyzing a mountain of paperwork Rupert probably came to the conclusion that the Stones’ past was a lost cause and only the future earnings counted.  The only hope for big money lay in performing.  As the way touring was conducted at the time was less than cost effective Rupert had to reinvent it.  He had to eliminate as much of the thieving and inefficiency as possible.  This is actually pretty strange.

Why he felt equal to this with absolutely no guarantees is beyond me; according to his memoirs at this time the Stones were not only broke but in debt to the Inland Revenue for more than they could ever hope to pay as matters stood.  Well, OK, Rupert was super prescient.   You have no idea how criminal the record business is or was at the time.  Think about leopards.  The business is a shadow of itself today since the internet recreated the single while destroying the LP market.

Rupert was lucky in that Jagger was essentially a performance artist who would make Yoko Oko turn several shades of green.  But that is part of the Stones’ story.

Rupert and Klein got into a twenty year legal battle that as the saying goes made the lawyers rich.

Rupert And Keith

Rupert And Keith

However as the Stones left Klein’s stable Allen’s dream of managing the Beatles, at least three of them, came true.  Allen got John, Ringo and George while Lee Eastman got McCartney.

Once Klein got the money it was very difficult to get it out of him although he took a sort of paternal interest in the artists.  Of course if you are robbing them it is only proper to give then an allowance now and then.  Fred goes out of his way to demonstrate, or at least claim, Klein’s honesty, white washing him entirely although as one evidence of dishonesty Klein actually went to jail for a couple of months for failure to report income.

In the record business in order to get their records exposure, companies have to allow for so many demonstration albums- promos or demos as they were called.  I owned a small chain of stores back in the day so I would be given sets of albums of a new release for in store play.  The promo men had boxes of copies for all the radio stations and other uses.  As should be obvious there is a certain play in there to sell demos.

George Harrison, a client of Klein’s put together the charity play, The Concert For Bangladesh.  That was a charity release, box set of three records, for relief of the starving of Bangladesh.  Any of them starving at the time of the concert were dead by the any money reached Bangladesh.  Klein’s deal was that he pressed the records and packaged them, obviously he had the masters, sending the completed copies to the companies for distribution.  He then pressed, according to Andrew in Stone Free, literally truckloads of copies that he disposed of as promos.  Now these were sixty foot semis were talking about.

The things that happened in the record business is incredible.  When the Kiss solo albums were released Neil Bogart of Casablanca seriously overestimated the demand pressing up two million copies of each in advance.  Supposedly two truckloads, 200,000 copies, where hi-jacked on I-5 on their way North.  As unbelievable as it may sound it was suggested that I was the responsible party.  I’m sure those copies were insured.

It was not a crime for Allen to sell the records but, unfortunately, he failed to report the income and that is an IRS offense.  Bad, bad.

Andrew These Days

Andrew These Days

Andrew offers this take on the situation, Stone Free p. 360:

Allen’s karma finally caught up with him in 1979 when he was convicted on charges of US Federal tax evasion.  Klein had sold literally truckloads of albums that were accounted for on the books as “promos” (albums distributed free of charge for radio stations and press for which the label is not obligated to pay artist royalties.  His actual felony was pocketing the income from those sales without reporting it to the Internal Revenue service.  But Let’s tote up who Klein screwed in the affair, his country, which was entitled to tax him; the Beatles, both collectively and individually…UNICEF…and thousands of starving childre

Perhaps this was a sensitive issue for Jody because Fred carefully steps around the issue claiming a penny ante sharing between himself and his hapless promotion man.  The jail sentence says something else.

Actually it got Klein into more hot water than two months for a tax dodging charge. By the time of Bangladesh Klein was one of the most hated men in records by fans.  His reputation was just terrible.  Calling him a mere crook wouldn’t begin to cover what the fans thought.

A.J. At Work

A.J. At Work

A.J. Weberman got wind of the scam.  For those who don’t know, Alan J. Weberman was the first ‘garbologist.’  He was so interested in what Bob Dylan was doing he used to collect his garbage from the cans set out on the sidewalks of New York and sort through it carefully.  He was trying to prove Dylan was a heroin addict among other things.  So, he was a self-styled policeman of the industry.

Having got wind of the sale of the promos, he not only arranged picketing of Klein’s office but actually invaded it.  By the time he got through, Klein’s battered reputation was beyond repair.  Fred avoids all that even though a great story.

Allen also failed to back Harrison in his lawsuit over his supposed plagiarizing the song He’s So Fine with his song My Sweet Lord.

Andrew Oldham handles that story well in his biography of Allen in Stone Free p. 361:

Quote:

A falling out with Lennon followed (John would vent many of his feelings towards Klein in his song “Steel and Glass”).  but the ultimate betrayal came when Allen sued his own former client, Harrison for copyright infringement.  To Allen, this was probably as simple as getting the attention of an artist he felt was off the reservation- a counter-insurgency- if you will.  Like so many songs before it, George’s “My Sweet Lord” was patently based on the spiritual “Oh Happy Day”, a song long in the public domain and hence not subject to copyright.  Unfortunately, another song derived from “Oh Happy Day”, the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine’ was protected, prompting the publisher, Bright Tunes, to launch proceedings against Harrison.

Klein, naturally, was enraged, and happily assisted Harrison in preparing his defense.  But as his relationship with the former Beatles crumbled, Klein looked for ways of bringing George back in line.  He took himself out and purchased Bright Tunes for himself- and kept the lawsuit alive.  A degree of justice prevailed as the Judge slammed Klein for switching sides…

Unquote.

That’s a perfect example of the record business.  If Harrison had employed the same solution, buying Bright Tunes, Klein would have howled foul.  Artists are supposed to function with a different morality.  That’s the record business.

The thing is there are no original songs, every song is derived from another or several. I don’t know why the Courts accept the suits.  There is no way the Judges can make an informed decision unless they happen to be musicologists.

As Fred obviously read Andrew as above and had other information or could get it from his employer Jody, there is no reason to shield Allen’s terrible reputation.  The guy was totally unscrupulous.  Probably better than his counterpart Morris Levy of Roulette or Tony Defries who managed David Bowie or the king of con men himself, Colonel Parker who robbed the King himself- Elvis.

To conclude:  I can only recommend the book to the dedicated Stones or Beatles enthusiast.  There is no depth or breadth to the book.  Allen’s roster of clients, most of whom are still living do not seen to have been interviewed by Fred.  He doesn’t even seem to have talked to Andrew who knew and was intimate with Allen the longest.  Heck, Fred didn’t even bother to interview his own employer, Jody Klein.

I mean Jody must have had something to say about his father.  Even the pictures ae somewhat limited.  Fred could have gotten a picture of the orphanage that created the ‘biggest bastard in the valley.’  Allen’s whole career can be placed in the context of his life in the orphanage.  Four years old to nine, whew!- the most formative years of a boy’s life.

I was in from eight to ten and that was bad enough.  You learn a lot about bastards in the orphanage so when Allen Klein bills himself as the biggest bastard in the valley he is saying a little more than something.

Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter 7

We skipped a light fandango
Turned Cartwheels across the floor
I was feeling kind of seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
And so it was that later
As the Miller told his tale
She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a white shade of pale.
–Procol Harum

Marianne A Few Years Back

Marianne A Few Years Back

Now in 1968 both Mick and Marianne’s life were rolling by while both were teetering on the edge. Shortly after Godard’s filming of Sympathy For The Devil in June Mick was signed by Donald Cammell for the lead role in his film Performance. The invitation to star didn’t come from nowhere. There are many links from Mick and his friends to Cammell. Cammell was already known to the Stones having met them in 1965 at the time of the Paris Olympia shows. He was naturally first attracted to Brian Jones but then found some kind of love for Mick. Over the subsequent years he formed many projects that he offered to Mick. As Mick’s asking price was a million or more the projects did not pan out.

Not only did Cammell know the Stones but his live in the Parisian model Deborah Dixon had had a menage a trois with Anita Pallenberg. She had moved on to Brian Jones, passing on to Keith with whom she was living when the movie was shot. She had also viewed and/or worked on the script with Cammell a year previously so she knew that she was playing opposite Mick in advance. She then, was well aware of what the movie entailed.

In addition Cammell knew Robert Fraser and Chris Gibbs while being involved with the American

Donald Cammell

Donald Cammell

Satanist Kenneth Anger. Anger was himself a disciple of the arch Satanist of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley. Cammel’s father had known Crowley reasonably well while Cammell himself had at least seen Crowley live. His father even wrote a biography of Crowley, so let’s just say that the sex magic of Crowley and his Golden Dawn played a prominent role during the filming.

Mick would have brought his knowledge of The Master And Margarita to the proceedings. He may have persuaded Cammell to read the book or perhaps as a Satanist Cammell had already read it.

Marianne who had become pregnant perhaps in January or February was sent to Ireland during the filming so as to be out of the way for the sex stuff where she became distraught. She was giving herself and was being given a psychological beating that was disappointing all her expectations leading her into a deep depression. This was furthered along when she had a miscarriage at eight months losing the child. I would imagine the miscarriage was the result of the stresses Mick had placed on her by sending her away along with his sexual misconduct. It may have been her own subconscious rejection of Mick that caused her to subconsciously refuse to have his baby.

Thus as 1968 drew to a close as the Stones recorded their Satanic Majesties Request album Marianne was trying to recover from her miscarriage and put her life in order. She probably ought to have left Mick at the time but as she tacitly admits in an interview video on You Tube the reason that she went with Mick was because her own royalties were dropping and she had gotten used to the money. Mick was a source untapped. I think that this is an underlying cause of her anguish. Nineteen sixty-nine would be a traumatic year for all concerned.

2.

What To Do About Brian?

Marianne was a sentimental girl who formed sincere attachments to the people of her world. Thus Brian was not just someone on the scene but one might say a part of Marianne’s life. She cared for him. As we all know Brian Jones was the actual founder of the Rolling Stones. He named them and gave them their original musical direction. He held them together during the early stages. Naturally he considered himself their leader. He was actually a much more charismatic figure than Mick. While Mick was wiggling around all eyes were on Brian. There was just something about him.

This aroused Mick’s jealousy who once stated that the lead singer was supposed to be the center of attention. Mick also had the most powerful personality so that while he may not have been the leader he made himself the director. And then he and Keith shifted the direction of the music. While never a fan of the Stones I found myself reviewing the albums when I began writing of the group. My original opinion was only confirmed.

It became immediately apparent that Oldham’s first recordings done necessarily on the cheap were not good recordings, four track on primitive and worn equipment. While Brian and the Stones thought they were doing a good job imitating American Negro rhythm and blues it’s actually not even close. Mick makes a terrible imitation of a Negro blues shouter while its painfully obvious that the music doesn’t come close to the original. It’s so far off that it might as well be an original genre while being very close to a garage band.

Perhaps Mick who thought it impossible for an English band to pass themselves off as authentic was right to change the direction of the band to Negro influenced Rock and Roll. Brian was probably too close to his aspirations to know how far from the mark they were.

The original tunes are somewhat better but the inspiration for those soon ran dray so that by the 1966 and ‘67 albums Aftermath and Between The Buttons the band was quickly approaching the rocks. The West Coast fans were disappointed by both albums and, quite frankly, they’re not listenable today. As the albums veered toward English music hall Brian was quite right in thinking that they had abandoned his original intent. The 1968 Their Satanic Majesties Request, intended to be psychedelic in imitation of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s wandered off to a musical somewhere although one can sense the transition from the Old Stones to the New Stones of Beggar’s Banquet.

The cover of Satanic Majesties must have really sickened Brian as it had the boys dressed up in some sort of magician’s getup. A long way from Negro rhythm and blues.

Mick by Andy

Mick by Andy

Mick’s conception of the band judging from the current situation was always himself, Keith and Charlie. Bill Wyman, the bass player, being several years older was always an awkward fit. Mick marginalized him as much as he could until Wyman finally gave up terminating his role in 1993. So, was Brian forced out? Of course.

Andrew Oldham who promoted the Stones to a prominence far beyond their then abilities was the first that Mick pushed away in 1967. As a parting present Oldham turned them over to the American Jewish pirate, Allen Klein. As Oldham owned the masters to the Stones catalog he sold it lock stock and barrel to Klein who then legitimately owned them much to Mick’s chagrin.

As Brian was being marginalized by Mick, losing control of the band and its direction his behavior became erratic while he also sunk in the haze of drug addiction. It became obvious to the casual viewer of him on stage that his days must be numbered. On the Ed Sullivan show in the US he could barely stand on his feet but everyone was watching him placed back in the shadows by Mick.

Mick and Keith continued their petty harassments until Brian became a shambles of himself. After the Redlands bust the police turned their attention to Brian who hadn’t the emotional resources to bear the burden. It then in June of 1969 that Mick and Keith advised him that he was no longer in the band.

Brian either drowned in his swimming pool on the night of 7 July or was drowned. There is controversy over his death that may never be conclusively resolved.

Marianne, who by 1969 was not in a healthy sate of mind, was herself sinking into drug addiction, actually becoming a heroin addict, watched these proceedings. She was shocked by Brian’s death. And this came on top of her other woes. But life goes on. It is always painful when death removes a loved one from the building but painful or not the sun does not stand still in the sky nor do the bills stop coming in. Life goes on without missing a beat and you better had too.

So, Mick had movie offers coming in. Both he and Marianne as reigning pop couple were signed to do a movie in Australia. Ned Kelley an Australian bandit. In the 1840s when plays and books began celebrating former outlaws, highwaymen and crooks they were called Newgates after the equally famed Newgate Calendar of criminal trials. This would be a sort of Newgate movie.

Less than a week after Brian’s death Marianne and Mick arrived in Australia to begin their commitment; after all they had signed well before Brian’s death. Psychologically however all of Marianne’s misgivings were adding up to a heavy burden. While the reasonable approach may be that life goes on not everyone is so reasonable and I suspect Marianne was one of these. Perhaps, too, she realized that she and Mick were becoming estranged. Mick’s history was beginning to become apparent; his abominable treatment of women, Chrissie Shrimpton, of Oldham, of Brian; perhaps she began to wonder if she were next. While Mick may have had justifiable reasons for Oldham and Jones they may not have been that apparent to Marianne.

Certainly Brian was on her mind when the place touched down in Sydney. Exhausted by the long flight she and Mick checked into their hotel. Mick promptly flopped down on the bed to doze off. Marianne troubled in mind picked up a bottle of Tuinals and perhaps in a hypnoid state of grief and confusion dropped a hundred forty of them. Wow! That must have taken five or ten minutes. Shows determination. Who would do that if they weren’t serious about suicide.

For whatever reason Mick woke up and probably groggy himself scoped the situation. He rushed Marianne to the hospital for medical attention. But Marianne had overloaded her brain, she lay in a coma for six days.

The last thing on her mind before she suspended animation or slowed her synapses to a crawl was Brian. Since she was still alive although unconscious synapses must have continued; she must have continued to work on her problems, the anguish that had caused her attempt at self-destruction. Thus, when she came to Brian was still on her mind. I quote from her auto-biography Marianne Faithfull, pp.175-79:

By the time we got to the hotel in Sydney I’d forgotten not only where I was but who I was. I looked in the mirror. What I saw was a very thin, frightened face. I’d cut my hair, I was anorexic, and my skin looked cadaverous. I saw someone literally falling apart. Someone with blond hair and looking very scared. In my drug induced stupor I dimly recognized the ravaged face of Brian Jones staring back at me. I was Brian, and I was dead.

…At that moment Brian was my twin. I identified with him because he had been a public sacrifice; it was a role I understood.

Quite logically, I thought I was Brian.

It was all very rational in the way these things are when you’re unhinged. I reasoned that since I was Brian and since Brian was dead…(ellipsis in original) I had to take the rest of the pills so I could be dead too.

…The Tuinals were taking forever to kick in, I looked down and saw things on the street that shouldn’t have been there…And then I saw Brian Jones. At that moment I went into a coma that lasted six days.

Brian Jones

Brian Jones

When I first spotted Brian he was far below at street level, but greatly enlarged…Various parts of him- his face, his hands- expanded and extended toward me as he spoke, and then he rose straight up as from a shaft of air until he was directly opposite the window of our room.

…He beckoned to me the way spirits traditionally beckon to mortals in the movies. I passed through the plate glass and found myself outside. But instead of standing suspended above the street, I was now in an unstable landscape that pulsed and shifted as we spoke. I had I assumed gone over to the other side.

The grandeur and enormity of the place had the phantasmagoric mood of illustrations by Edmund Dulac or Durer engravings of Hell. As we were walking along, I realized that Brian had no more idea of where we were going than I did. Obviously he had woke up dead, not known where he was and decided to call for me!

It was the nicest chat I ever had with him, actually. He told me how he had woken up and put out his hand for his bottle of Valium, and about the panic that seized when there was nothing there. He said he had been lonely and confused and had brought me to him because he needed to talk to someone he knew.

We strolled blithely along as the quivering earth crumbled away on either side of us, and he told me about the miniature coronation set with Beefeaters and the coach and horses. He said he like books about railway bridges, guides to switching boxes, George McDonald’s fairy stories and Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

…Afterward he became weepy like the Mock Turtle in Alice In Wonderland and said he was sorry to have put me to all this trouble. He didn’t seem to know he was dead. I’m sure this happens frequently…They don’t know where they are. Hence ghosts.

…’Brian, Dear, isn’t this lovely, I said, trying…to distract him from grisly realities. But my sudden descent to small talk must have tipped him off that something was wrong. I was speaking to him in the patronizing way people talk to mad people, children and small dogs. Nevertheless, he plunged ahead in typical Brian fashion.

“Death is the next great adventure.” he said portentously. This something I used to go around saying myself, so I nodded wisely.

“Oh, yes, I quite agree,” I said fervently, as if we were speaking of a new religion. Or a new drug.

…”Welcome to death!” he said brightly.

…”Oh, is that where we are?” I asked.

…We came to the edge of the Dulac landscape. It dropped off abruptly and completely. There was a very obvious point where you chose to go over the edge or not. Brian said, “Coming?” and slipped off the cliff. I drew back. I heard a chorus of voices calling to me, but I wasn’t ready just yet.

Getting back took a long time. I was stranded in a desert town. The color had been drained from everything. The houses were empty. I was in Albania! Wandering down long deserted streets with names like the Avenue of the 17th October. Looking pretty incongruous, people I knew floated by (their feet didn’t quite touch the ground.) I called out, but they hurried past as if they hadn’t seen me.

I was lost in an airport. People came up to me and asked me the sort of questions you ask a child stranded at a railway station. “Are you lost, dear?” “Do you know your name?” And I would answer, “I’m waiting for Mick to come and get me.”

This was obviously the crisis of Marianne’s life. She associates her life with the desolation despair of Brian’s. She must have had the fate of Chrissie Shrimpton in mind, who Mick had crushed so completely. Mick had treated Chrissie and Brian in much the same way. Certainly Marianne could see the same fate for herself on the horizon. So now in an attempt to escape she slips into a Tuinal coma. She doesn’t explain what medical procedures were used to sustain her but she maintained mental activity throughout the coma.

Essentially the first half of her coma is a near death experience and a pretty interesting one. Wonderful, wonderful story; I could have stood another dozen pages. I’m sure she could call it up if she wanted to. I’ve had a couple near death experiences myself. They really leave indelible memories as this has done for Marian. It is possible to relive at any time you choose. I can run both concurrently through my mind.

Marianne’s problem at this time has been building since 1964 when the the life she living came into conflict with her youthful ideals obtained in the convent school. In those years she was much influenced by the chivalric literature of King Arthur, especially the quest for the Holy Grail.

Now, only the pure of mind and body, I. e. virginal, can ever hope to experience the Holy Grail. It takes only one sexual encounter. Even the great Lancelot who was tricked into a sexual act by Elaine forfeited the Grail even though he was innocent of intent. In chivalric terms Marianne was way beyond any hope of redemption. She must have known that. Thus the earth heaved beneath her feet and crumbled away beside her.

Having left Brian at the brink her way back was through a desolate wasteland of colorless desert. Thus, all hope had been lost. Her awakening must have been bleak, as her life would soon become.

She doesn’t mention the Arthurian fairy tales by name but she does recreate a dream landscape from the fairy tale illustrations of Edmund Dulac. (coincidentally Edmund Of The Lake). It is possible that she also confates Dulac with Arthur Rackham, another famous illustrators of fairy tales and also King Arthur.

Marianne also references other of her formative reading bringing in Alice In Wonderland, quintessential for the druggies of the sixties, plus George McDonald’s fairy stories and significantly, Fox’s Booke Of Martyrs. Very good browsing by the way as is Butler’s Lives of the Saints which is terrific.

I wondered if Brian liked books about railway bridges and the surprising guides to switching boxes? There can’t be too many of the latter so ‘switching’ may have a different reference point. It may mean switching horses in mid stream as Marianne said to Mick when she opened her eyes: Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.

The landscape ‘pulsed and shifted’ which may refer to her emotional instability. The Allman Brothers had a great line in one of their songs; See that clock up upon the wall? Rushing tides could make it fall. So possibly she could feel the ground moving out from beneath her feet.

‘He said he had been lonely and confused and brought me to him because he needed someone to talk to someone he knew! Sounds like Marianne is reversing the situation as it was only possible that she brought Brian to her reinforcing the similarity of their situations vis-à-vis Mick.

Then some more chit chat and Brian passes into the Great Beyond while Marianne stands on the brink at road’s end. Great story. I know where that’s at. In one of my experiences my heart stopped and I was standing in a huge empty concrete bunker type thing wondering what to do next. I dead no problem with being dead but I had no instructions what to do next. ‘Oh, well..’ I thought and turned to my right to start hoofing it when my heart started up and I was back in bed.

Obviously for Marianne her medical crisis passed and she was to return to consciousness. But then getting back took a long time. The first part of her fantasy then my have lasted a day or possibly two while reconstructing her nervous system took a little longer leaving room for mistakes that she feels might have occurred. She has obviously began to come to in her post-singing career with its overwhelming challenges that she wasn’t able to successfully deal with. The Avenue of the 17th October sounds as though it may be the Bolshevik October Revolution, if so she got the date wrong, it was the 25th not the 17th. She is obviously returning in a depression. I can dig that, too.

Marianne’s own brief interpretation of her experience is on p.178:

In anguished relationships like the one I had with Mick; it’s much easier and more satisfactory for all concerned if the one playing my role dies, after which I could turn into a sainted mythical figure- like Brian- and no longer be a threat to anyone and- more importantly- no longer be a bother to anyone.

They martyred Marianne…thus Fox’s Book Of Martyrs.

Marianne knew she had come to a turning point in her life or, rather, a dead end. She could no longer rely on Mick, he was a weak reed, a failure as the man he posed to be. At this time she chose to renew her acquaintance with her father at his sex shop who she says was a man Mick could never hope to be. Thus, goodbye Mick. She had been financially dependent on him and having known money liked it. Why not? But she was in no position to make money or at least sufficient money. Royalties of a diminished sort would keep coming in. There was seldom a year that went by that something wasn’t released in her name although she wasn’t recording. As she says Oldham had a re-release of her greatest hits edged in black on the streets before she recovered.

But she would have to record again, perform again for any real money. It was not possible to return again as the Virgin Queen of yesterday. As she was part of the myth making period she would always be the Faerie Queene of the sixties, she was secure in that position, but with four tarnished wings. She sank into a deeper depression finally ending up sitting on her wall above the bomb pit, thinking what to do next.

Her resurrection, such as it was, will be the topic of Chapter 8.

Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties

by

R.E. Prindle

Chaps. 3, 4,5

Chapter 3

zzzzMarianne1

Of all the performers of the Rock era Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney have been the most successful while I would give the nod of most successful to Jagger. One must admire the way he learned the ropes and then used them to strangle others as he had been strangled. Mick in his own way was the Midnight Rambler and the Street Fighting Man. Don’t think I blame him; you either rule or are ruled. But, one does have to live with the reputation one creates.

Mick began cultivating his image from the beginning. As this story concerns Mick’s relationship to Marianne I will concentrate on aspects of their sexuality. Andrew Loog Oldham made a movie of the Stones’ January 1965 Irish tour. Unfortunately he sold the rights to it along with the Stones 1963-70 master recordings to Allen Klein along with, by the way, the first Marianne Faithfull masters. Klein then became the Stones’ manager.

The movie disappeared into Klein’s archives to surface in November 2012 when the Klein estate released it to DVD. It can now be purchased as I did. The DVD features both the Abkco edit and Oldham’s original Director’s Cut.

Mainly a concert film it also features group member interviews and Richards and Jagger cutting up. While they were horsing around they appear to improvise a song with the lyric: I’d rather be with the boys than here with a stupid girl like you.

While Jagger has always cultivated an ambiguous image he has also announced a record of having had sex with four thousand or more different girls. That’s only eighty per annum over fifty years so I imagine that shows an admirable restraint. Yet, at the same time Mick has always been misogynistic while always seeking to emasculate or squash his closer women under his thumb. In fact Mick probably has a domination or emasculation complex. He may have rather been with the boys but in his competition with them he sought to emasculate or squash them too. One of the favorite forms of emasculation and domination is to take other men’s women from them.

Thus when he took Jerry Hall from Bryan Ferry he quipped he had to do it to save her from going through life as Jerry Ferry. One winces when one reads of Eric Clapton begging Mick not to take Carla Bruni from him. Mick even took one of Eric’s temps, Catherine James from him.

Mick And Chrissie

Mick And Chrissie Shrimpton

Mick And Chrissie Shrimpton

When Mick first enters the scene for Andrew Oldham he is in an alley fighting it out with Chrissie Shrimpton, the model Jean Shrimpton’s younger sister. If one reads more deeply into that situation it shows a very cruel sadistic streak in Mick, quite shameful in a celebrity of Mick’s first magnitude of brightness.

Chrissie began the relationship as a strong willed girl battered by and battering Mick. In that day before the change in sexual mores girls weren’t quite so sexually open so Chrissie didn’t want her parents to know she was shacking up with Mick. They insisted to Mick that they not. As a humiliation tactic to break the girl down he let it be known to her parents that in his eyes she was little more than a common whore and she and they should see it that way too as he was in fact shacking with her.

Gradually the monster beat her down completely destroying her self-respect then, more than publicly, he broadcast his triumph on records and over the radio with such songs as Stupid Girl and Under My Thumb which their whole circle knew referred to her. Dylan would later use the same tactic against Edie Sedgwick when he wrote Like A Rolling Stone to break her down.

Both Chrissie and her parents believed Mick and she were to marry but having crushed her beneath his thumb, as it were, with a toss of his curly locks Mick sneeringly walked away adding insult to injury. Cruel in this instance it became psychotic with repeated use.

Years after word got back to Mick that Chrissie had a bundle of his letters, and, now this is unforgivable, without a word to her he immediately set his attorneys on her threatening an expensive law suit while demanding she return his letters. Even though Chrissie had not intended to publish them, still shaking this long after Mick’s brutal treatment, Chrissie without delay forwarded her letters from Mick to him. Shameful.

Mick And Marianne

 

Mick And Marianne

Mick And Marianne

Mick then turned his attentions to the Guinevere, the Ophelia, the Faerie Queene of pop music, our own Marianne. While I’m sure Mick was somewhat enamored with Marianne I’m also sure he had a couple ulterior motives. Marianne was married to John Dunbar at the time while living with Mick so Mick had the pleasure of emasculating and humiliating Dunbar.

At the same time I’m sure he was envious of Marianne’s fame which was probably greater than his at the time. No room in the spotlight for two. He couldn’t stand that Marianne was getting even more press than himself. Thus he undertook to destroy her career. In the process he emasculated her and humiliated her to an astounding degree.

Marianne and Mick were playing with psychologies in a very destructive manner. The events I am going to describe did incalculable damage to their psyches while altering the direction of their subsequent lives dramatically, especially Marianne’s. Of course, few people seem to realize they have a psychology or how it was formed, what expectations they devised. Those hopes and dreams were more especially dashed when they turned to drugs. That was certainly the case with Marianne.

I don’t know how seriously Marianne took her Medieval interest and reading but she was influenced by her Arthurian studies. Like the most or possibly rest of the generation she was also influenced quite heavily by Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan, probably both books and movies.

The key for the generation in Peter Pan was his refusal to grow up or accept adulthood. It was quite fashionable at the time to pretend that you would always be young, keep in contact with your ‘inner child.’ I was a victim of the psychosis myself.

At any rate Marianne was influenced by all three. Thus, when she and Mick met she quizzed him extensively on his knowledge of King Arthur to see how much he knew as though that litmus test would seal his fate. Mick passed and Marianne moved in still married to John Dunbar. Thus her life clashed with her Catholic upbringing. At first Marianne had royalties coming in from her records enabling her to maintain a certain independence but gradually the royalty checks decreased making Marianne financially dependent on Mick.

At the same time Mick was under no obligations to Marianne and observed none. How this clashed with Marianne’s Arthurian expectations in an atmosphere of Peter Pan and Alice she doesn’t go into but there must have been a severe disappointment as Mick treated her as a mere possession.

While in California he was the object of desire for all the groupies including the doyenne Miss Pamela- Pamela Des Barres nee Miller- of Frank Zappa’s girl group the GTOs (Girls Totally Ornery or else in reference to the hottest car of the period, the GTO). Miss Pamela as well as the rest of the California groupies studied to come up with better and better more outrageous sexual thrills with which to astonish the boys in the band which easily surpassed the imaginations of the boys in the band including Mick.

Mick returned home and demanded of Marianne that she perform these tricks which astonished Marianne no less than Mick had been astonished. However she believed the tricks degrading. Marianne quite rightly refused to perform them.

But the repertoire of the boys in the band kept expanding so that the home girls were led to view new horizons. Group sex and that sort of thing became the norm.

As with all loosely knit movements or phenomena this sort of reputation brought more and more of the sado-masochistic libertine drug oriented element gradually forcing out the less inclined to sexual erotica just as bad money drives out good money. Rock and Roll became progressively more degenerate from 1964-65 on until it was disgraceful to be associated with it.

Mick and the Stones were leaders of this degeneration whether the Stones embraced sexual sado-masochism personally their public persona was based on it making them leading corruptors of youth and society in general. They did as much or more to change the sexual mores of the present than anyone. Their LP cover for Black and Blue was the apex of this very sado-masochistic misogynistic persona. The cover caused me all kinds of trouble in running my record store.

As one presents oneself so must one be.

Chapter 4

The Redlands Bust.

Many psychologically devastating events happened to Marianne in the years from 1967-70. It is very difficult from this perspective to evaluate some of them. One can’t tell how Marianne’s renunciation of her career affected her mind. After all in 1964-65 and 66 she went from just another teenager to superb success far beyond her expectations financially, while becoming the female idol of the youth of England and a phenom in the US- ultimately the Faerie Queen of rock and roll. That’s really only two short years until the Redlands bust.

In those two years she passed through several sexual transmogrifications. She went from virgin to the most outre of sexual practices. Its all very well to say that this was her decision but as Paul McCartney said of his own experience in Miles’ biography it was impossible for him to resist peer pressure, especially in the use of drugs. He was ‘forced’ to try heroin even though he was dead set against.

So peer pressure on Marianne and any young girl to be sexual ‘free spirits’ was impossible unless you were prepared to accept group rejection. The same with drugs that couldn’t be resisted so that when depression set in she ended up addicted to the greatest depression drug available- heroin. It was up to Mick to give what protection he could. Regardless of current sexual nonsense it us up to the man to guide his woman.

Now, the era began in relatively clean-cut innocence . It was never quite so white bread as it is depicted, trying to escape the sleaziness, even then, was no easy matter. Then as the decade wore on it all got worse, then it got disgusting. First pot, pills and amphetamines, then LSD that came on like a hurricane. LSD more than anything else conditioned you for cocaine that in at the end of the decade, at least on the West Coast where I was. Remember that there was no national consensus in the US
In 1964 or so when the ‘counter-culture’ hit in the Bay Area it was a very local manifestation not shared by the East Coast the Mid-West or even for that matter LA. LA was never hip in the way the Bay Area was. While the Beatles are credited with introducing long hair, when the Charlatans came down from Virginia City they had hair and they must have been growing it long before the Mop Tops showed up.

The West Coast could not tolerate New York groups. Mafia outfits like the Rascals nee Young Rascals and Vanilla Fudge made the West Coast puke. There really wasn’t any place for The Velvet Underground either. Of course the British groups that had their own sound that really couldn’t compete with that of say, The Doors, an LA group. The LA groups being more commercially oriented pretty much shoved the Bay Area groups aside, although were a couple of real successes. I don’t include freak groups like the Grateful Dead as commercial successes. Cults are cults.

But to the point, boy, LSD. Owsley Stanley kept the West supplied and how. By the time of Altamont and Stonewall the atmosphere was really foul. And then it got worse still.

About the time of the Redlands bust society and the police were losing their patience. Kesey and Leary had them terrified. The drug thing kept growing. When one says that marijuana was generational it is true only to the extent that a significant minority of the generation smoked it. The hippies were only a small and despised part of the generation but they, we, made a lot of noise and got a lot of notice. Without the radio, rock and corrupt record companies the Movement probably wouldn’t have broken the bounds of Bohemia. But, the time was ripe for the Bohemian conquest of America. That was led from New York, principally by Andy Warhol.

The records made the Bohemian life seem very glamorous. Thus the cops focused on groups where actually the greatest drug activity was located and the propaganda the strongest. As the groups began to make good and even big, very big, money they were the natural prey of the drug dealers. And don’t underestimate the role of LSD. The groups also chose to flaunt their drug use- ‘I’ve got to be free to put anything into my body and life I want to’, disdaining the law, the police and actually common decency. This was the case with the Stones and it’s the flaunting, not the use, that got them in trouble.

In 1967 they naturally were set up. Brian Jones in an interview, barroom chat actually, with News Of The World reporters boasted of his drug use. The journalists then attributed the statements to Mick, whether from ignorance or design I leave to your imagination.

When Mick read the article he was indignant. As I said, while Mick and the rockers thought they were big because of records, radio and TV they were actually socially marginal and not particularly appreciated. Musicians get no respect outside their own circle.

Rather than evaluate his situation, considering that he was doing drugs and everyone knew it thus making him an obvious target, he foolishly brought suit against the newspaper. You don’t have to be brilliant to know News Of The World wasn’t going to let that one fly. Hey! Hey! What’d I say! Mick was sleeping or day dreaming.

The police wanted to get England’s bad boys anyway. There may or may not have been collusion between the News Of The World and the police but the way the raid was conducted indicates there was.

Shortly before the bust some guy named Schneiderman drops from the sky with a brief case reportedly filled with whatever you required. Mick, Marianne and Keith and a couple others, I will mention in the next section, were having an LSD weekend at Keith’s house, the Redlands. Schneiderman insinuated himself into the party with his briefcase while probably being in the employ of the News informed them and they in turn notified the police.

For Schneiderman allegedly having a briefcase full of drugs there were remarkably few drugs in evidence at the bust. Jagger was booked only for possession of four pep pills bought legally in Italy, while Keith had no drug charges at all except for being charged with ‘knowingly’ providing a place where pot was smoked. Robert Fraser actually had heroin jacks of his own on him but Schneiderman produced nothing from his briefcase and indeed no drugs were visible in it when the police required him to open it. No drugs were seen only packaging that were assumed to contain drugs by the Bohemians. In any event he hopped the first flight to elsewhere.

While Marianne had no drugs concealed on her person her situation was the most tragic of all. The Faerie Queen would lose her official status.

When the cops came calling the crowd was of course flipped out on LSD but then that was always the danger; the cops would come calling when you’re least prepared to deal with them. Come on, this was just one of the hazards of using illegal substances. And naturally, you tend to be flippant, wise cracking and mocking. Very bad behavior in such a situation when maximum seriousness is the order of the moment. It’s not like everyone didn’t live in fear of being busted. They used to call it deep paranoia.

Marianne whose clothes had become wet from walking in the rain laid them out to dry dressing in nothing more than some sort of rug wrapped around her. Well, what is one to think of a nude woman amongst a bunch of men; what is this Dejeuner Sur L’herbe redux? Even if two thirds of them were screaming fairies as they were, how is one to know that and what to think?

It was said that Marianne let her wrap slip giving the coppers an eyeful. Of course the cops were square and the gang was hip but squares outnumber hips by a very large margin while as Roger Miller sings: Squares make the world go round. And a good thing too. Roger said that hips have too much water for their land; this was a gathering of pretty watery people. Oh, OK, my people, but folks you have to be realistic. That’s what hip means in my book.

And then someone probably at News Of The World concocted the story that Marianne had a Mars bar slipped between her legs and that Mick was grazing away at it. Preposterous, wouldn’t you think? Boy, now that was a blow that will getcha and you’ll be down for a long time too. As might be expected Marianne was devastated. Boy, that opened a lot of anfractuosities in her brain. A hit like two trains running in opposite directions at top speed on the same tracks over a two hundred foot high trestle. That’s a big crash and a long way to tumble, buddy.

It ended any hope Marianne may have had of appearing on a stage. Can you imagine stepping up to the microphone and being showered with Mars bars. Oh no, no,no, better to board a rocket ship for…oops…Mars.

Marianne and Mick may have thought they were handling it well but the bile and psycho-somatic reactions entering the sub-conscious aren’t so easily dismissed. This horror was merely added to their childhood fixations.

In the turmoil of the months succeeding this mind wrenching event fixations would only worsen. Of course the intent of the establishment was not so much to succeed in jailing them but making an example of them while hopefully destroying their careers. The bust should have been career destroying but for the generational gap. When a teacher chastises a student the other students smirk but don’t disown him. After busting Mick and Keith the establishment then went after the more fragile Brian Jones, the guy who got this whole thing rolling by shooting off his mouth. If the three could have been jailed they wouldn’t subsequently have been allowed to enter the US or so it seemed. No one could have forecast the incredible changes that were about to occur that essentially placed the Stones above the law.

Chapter 5

Enter Donald Cammell And His Movie Performance

zzzzMickandCammell

One reads many amusing reasons for the incredible social disintegration of the sixties. One of the most preposterous to come to my attention is the notion that it was caused by lead poisoning.. There’s a hobby horse for you. While I couldn’t rule it out I think lead poisoning would be among the most obscure of reasons. No, the sixties was no more an aberration than was Hitler’s Germany; like the latter it was the result of long historical development, a part of psychological history.

If one reads a good deal with the purpose of understanding the historical background of the sixties things begin to take form. Then if one tries to make one’s intellect rise and float over the information gleaned from that reading patterns will form, a map of the past will appear. Then of course one notes nodes and axons, connections that require further reading and rereading what’s already been read so that a fair approximation of what happened can be more or less confidently stated. Much of it will be subterranean history that doesn’t make it to the history books.

Such is the psycho-sexual mind set that began to develop oh, say, about from 1890 on which a key node was from 1900 to 1920. Western understanding of the human mind developed fairly rapidly from the mid-eighteenth century rapidly gaining momentum after say 1860 and the spectacular doings at Paris’ Salpetriere mental hospital under the tutelage of the amazing Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot.

While his investigations were of a psycho-sexual nature they were not perceived as such except perhaps by a transient student by the name of Sigmund Freud. Sometime after Charcot’s studies toward the nineties people calling themselves sexologists, sex therapists and sex magicians began to appear.

Along with Freud who might be called a sex therapist two leading figures slightly earlier than he were the German Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) and the Englishman Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). In the academic scientific or pseudo-scientific manner all three made their contributions although Freud managed to incorporate their discoveries or understandings into his system acquiring preeminence in the field.

Goerg Groddeck and Wilhelm Reich, two of Freud’s disciples also gained prominence in the sex therapist field.

On the religious or supernatural side the most prominent and influential of the sex magicians was the so-called Magus Aleister Crowley and his organization of the Golden Dawn.

With the exception of Krafft-Ebing all were out to overturn European sexual mores, designated disparagingly as Victorian. Of course there was never a time when men and women didn’t behave sexually because…well, how could they? The real goal then was to disturb prevailing sexual mores and replace them with sexual license. This essentially came to fruition in the 1960s when the influence of Freud and Crowley were at their peak. The two principal cultural nodes of the US, New York and Los Angeles, were flooded with European Jewish émigrés of the Freudian school while Aleister Crowley had established himself and his Golden Dawn in Los Angeles.

The corrosive sexual mores of Freud and Crowley were aided and abetted by the rise of the equally corrosive drug use and, of course, ‘lead poisoning.’

Our next object then is to discover who Donald Cammel might be.

Searching For Donald

Cammell is the central figure in this little drama so we will begin with him although even though the Stones biographers don’t delve into these other characters they are integral to the social scene of Mick, Marianne and Keith. It appears that Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts served a peripherals to Mick primarily and Mick and Keith secondarily. Oldham tried to make himself a third but apparently was incompatible or other interests pulled him in a different direction. By ‘67 he would be out of the picture.

In Marianne’s biography she makes it sound like Cammell was a stranger to the group while actually he was well known to Bob Fraser, and Chrissie Gibbs who were at the Redlands bust and quite familiar with Mick, Keith and Marianne. They all knew each other before the movie began to be filmed.

Cammell was older than the three being contemporary with the first generations of rockers; he was born in 1934 in Scotland. He came from a well to do family immersed in the occult; his father actually knew Aleister Crowley and wrote a biography of him. One may then assume that his father was something of a sex magician as Marianne’s father was a sexologist. It was impossible to escape Freudian influences from at least 1920 through the fifties. So some reference to repression and the unconscious is inevitable.

Cammell’s father was likely familiar with Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis with its emphasis on psychotic sexual practices. All the sexologists and magicians immersed themselves in bizarre sexual practices. If a reader counters that all sex is legitimate it shows how perverted he or she is. No argument from me, we know where each other stands.

As Cammell was born in ‘34, in ‘44 he would have been 10 and 20 in 1954. Thus he would have been aware of the war between the ages of 4, 5, 6, or so and 10 but perhaps in a muddled and uncomprehending manner but in ‘44 and ‘45 he would have been aware enough to partially comprehend. Certainly when the Big Baby turned Hiroshima to ashes in August of ‘45 something would have registered affecting his mind and outlook.

I was 7 in ‘45 and while I have a clear remembrance of VE Day I don’t have any recollection at all of the Bomb or if I do it had little or no significance to me. I have never had a horror of the A-bomb.

Obviously something other than lead poisoning affected the psyches of the crop of kids from ‘33-’34 to 1942-43. It may have had something to do with the total destruction of the world capped by the Bomb. What a terrific exclamation mark to the end of hostilities. What Cammell’s reaction to this destruction was isn’t clear to me while it probably wasn’t clear to himself.

After the war he experienced rationing during the whole of his teen years. He was probably less affected than others as he became prosperous in his teens on his own as a painter. He was successful as a portrait painter. From the pictures I’ve seen he was more than talented while possibly possessing genius. His mind already exhibited an extreme darkness with sexual confusion easily perceived.

Much of the following information comes from web sites such as the fabulous Another Nickel In The Machine that records the history of London, Sam Umland’s 60X50 and many others. I have not read Umland’s biography of Cammell as yet.

Cammell divorced his first wife and then married a very successful model, the American Deborah Dixon, moving to Paris where they both lived. Cammell apparently was supported by his wife.

Bored with painting, not unlike Andy Warhol, he began to take an interest in film. There is nothing like a movie to exhibit one’s sexual fantasies in real life; indeed a movie is a record of the unconscious. Cammell and Dixon were sexually compatible taking an interest in anything remotely copulatory. Cammell’s first few attempts at filmmaking were not successful or, at least, lacked box office magic.

Along with his lack of interest in painting and his attraction to the movies Cammell gravitated toward the pop world of rock and roll seeking out Jagger. Where was a sexual degenerate to turn? The bad boys of Rock, the Rolling Stones, Mick, Keith and Marianne at least. He found Mick and Marianne’s talked about sexual escapades irresistible. He was undoubtedly attracted by Mick’s dope legend also. Mick claims not to have been an excessive user of drugs, which may be true but I doubt there was anyone at the time who didn’t think he was a heroin addict and druggie par excellence.

As an artist Cammell was acquainted with Bob Fraser and that pop art crowd. Both he and Fraser were known to the infamous crime lords, the Kray Brothers. The Krays, of course, were homosexuals as were Fraser and Gibbs. Mick’s legend is that he is bi-sexual, at least, so there is no reason that he wasn’t sexually involved with the bunch in some manner.

Cammell and Fraser also knew the Satanist and sex magician, the American experimental film maker, Kenneth Anger, as did Mick and Marianne. Fraser introduced Anger to the underground film crowd.

In addition Anita Pallenberg knew Cammell from her pre-Brian Jones, Keith Richard days. She was shown the script in the south of France the year before filming began. So, unless I have seriously misread Marianne’s first auto-biography, Cammell didn’t just show up one day with a movie proposal; it was actually old home week.

Cammell did go on to make an additional three or four movies of which I have seen two, Demon Seed and Wild Side. The last movie has escaped my vigilance so far. Wild Side is a virtual remake or variation of Performance. Demon Seed that I will review in an addendum to Chapter 5 is actually a great movie handling a major sci-fi them to perfection.

Just prior to the beginning of filming in 1968 Mick impregnated Marianne. This is 1968 and if Marianne hadn’t been on the Pill she would have had a number of children now in addition to Nicholas her child by John Dunbar. The question then is why she allowed herself to get pregnant at this time. She was still married to Dunbar so one must think he must have suffered humiliation and emasculation to have another man impregnate his wife. Perhaps Mick’s emasculation genes or maybe just a drug haze.

At any rate Marianne was exiled to Ireland while filming was going on. One can only imagine the anxiety she felt separated from her lover in her condition. One doesn’t have to imagine; she suffered a miscarriage.

Point Blank
The Movie

In 1967 the English director John Boorman had filmed a movie that took
Cammell’s mind by storm. The movie was Point Blank starring Lee Marvin as the protagonist Walker. Cammell recommended that all the cast see the move and bear it in mind. It might be advantageous to review the movie here.

Point Blank was only Boorman’s second effort. Unsuccessful on release it has apparently become a cult classic. His movie is obviously a dream sequence or nightmare. Nothing is real. This indicated by the hero’s name of Walker. He has only one name, no first. No one even knows what his first name could be. The name seemed significant to me but I hadn’t a clue as to what it could mean. Well, you know, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. While writing this piece I was also reading Denis Machail’s 1941 biography of J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. There on page 190 was the explanation of Walker. Barrie had written a play titled Walker, London. That was a telegraphic address.  Quote:

Two impudent jokes in one, the second even more mysterious then as it is now. For the word ‘Walker’ is still in the dictionary- “interjection (slang) expressing incredulity and suspicion of being hoaxed” but when was it last used? Not during the present century, one would say; yet before that there was a time when it was the very crystalization of Cockney humor. “Walker!” you said, to show that you could never be caught with chaff. It was the standard answer to the attempted leg pull. It was also one of those blessed with with which any comedian could bring down the house.

So now the viewer knows he is being hoaxed and can suspend belief. The plot involves Lee Marvin as Walker who takes part in a heist then is shot by his partner who runs off with Walker’s share or 93,000 and adding insult to injury Walker’s wife. The rest of the story involves Walker trying to retrieve his money forget the wife. The story is told through a series of frustrations to a paranoid Walker. So, we have a dream study of a frustrated paranoid.

The opening and closing settings are the same; the walking or exercise area inside Alcatraz prison. The joke seemingly being that one walks around and around, never getting anywhere while returning to the same place. Cry “Walker” and then start laughing like a Cockney at the joke.

Alcatraz, the Rock, is of course a small island in the middle of San Francisco Bay between the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge. Established in 1934 it was closed in 1963, so the filming was done in a closed facility and before the Indians occupied the island claiming it as their heritage. The filming was done, then, in vacated premises.

As a dream story it concerns the psychic life of Walker. It’s all going on inside his head. The prison, castle or house represents the psychic the self so that Walker lives a bleak, barren, paranoid inner life.

A helicopter lands in the enclosure, picks up a package and leaves a bundle of money. Walker and his pal Mal (mal, French for bad) kill the messenger while robbing him. Walker is then examining an empty cell signifying his empty life when Mal with Walker’s wife looking on puts a couple bullets in him leaving him for dead while appropriating Walker’s share of the money and his wife. Thus we have some basic paranoia that, of course, might possibly be true. As his wife would say later, Walker just kind of left her cold.

Left for dead Walker somehow recovers while being compelled to take the only way off the island available to him- swim for it. Another grim joke as legend has it that no one who tried ever succeeded.

The rest of the story concerns surmounting the treachery and double crosses Walker encounters in trying to recover his money. He finds his wife, abandons her and takes up with her sister. While he seems a little obsessive-compulsive in the matter, the money in fact represents his lost identity, purpose in life or masculinity. The recovery of the money is central for his personality.

As in the Cockney joke whenever he shows up people exclaim “Walker!” If you’re in on the joke it might be funny. Angie Dickenson makes up the sex interest as Chris as there is no love interest. Just a four letter word in this movie. The three kingpins Walker must knock down are Carter, Brewster and Fairfax. Ironically Carter and Brewster are disposed of by their own team when Walker’s paranoia protects him while the others take the hit meant for him.

The actual climax takes place in Brewster’s house when Walker and Chris have spent the night together, the only consummated sex in the movie. As Walker is walking out the door Chris asks what her last name is. Walker doesn’t know and neither do we. Walker counters, seemingly weakly, does she know his first name. Either check mate or an uproarious joke to Cockneys. But as Walker in joke is a hoax or a put on then it doesn’t matter anyway. Dreams are like that, they follow a different logic than the waking mind.

The denouement returns to the opening at Alcatraz but now Walker is more canny staying out if sight. The drop is made, Brewster calls to him to come get the money. But, as when Walker was supposed to get the money from Carter, after he survived the assassination attempt, the bundle proved to be waste paper, Walker’s paranoia saves him again. A shot rings out and Brewster takes a long walk off a short pier never to return again. Now enter Fairfax who is the head man and the assassin who shot Carter and Brewster and would have shot Walker. Fairfax shouts Walker several times that in another century would have brought the house down.

Walker’s paranoia prevents him from taking what might be money in the bundle but is probably waste paper so that as the bundle of funny paper represents his ego he is left stranded in the haunted empty house of Alcatraz representing his mind for one presumes the rest of his life.

The movie was a box office failure, except for the few like Cammell but holds up well as a psychological thriller. That is what Cammell saw. So, now, he’s basing his own movie ‘Performance’ directly on Point Blank.

Performance

He gathers together essentially the ‘gang’ to make his movie. Even Deborah Dixon took part. He already knew and was friends with James Fox as was apparently Mick, cast as the criminal Chas. Cammell had known Anita Pallenberg in Paris where it is said she formed a brief menage a trois with Cammel and Deborah. Chrissie Gibbs was the set designer…Mick was an old friend, a few outsiders and Cammel had his movie.

Mick sent Marianne to Ireland for the duration. Keith who was shacking with Anita was so unhappy about Cammell’s pairing of Anita with Mick that he found it impossible to visit the set. Instead he brooded outside in his car sending Bob Fraser in to keep tabs until Cammell banned him from the set.

I can’t be sure that Cammell understood the Cockney meaning of Walker but he so admired the character that he based Mick’s role on Walker giving Mick the single name of Turner. No first name. Turner is also meant to be significant. A turner is a sort of acrobat. The word could also be used in the sense of changeling, or perhaps in the homosexual sense or turning a man gay. Turner does turn Chas. from a tough guy to a passive fairy, his sort of changeling. Turner changes the tough hoods into faggots. Probably then that is the meaning of the name. So maybe Cammell was in on the Walker joke.

As the movie is permeated by sex magic and sex as a sort of therapy the influence of Krafft-Ebing, Ellis, Freud and especially Aleister Crowley is very apparent. Kenneth Anger was around at the time while being known to all the participants thus reinforcing the Crowley connection.

All the sex therapists were concerned with aberrant sexual practices that the movie concentrates on. Cammell elaborates the sexual implications of Boorman’s Point Blank, while the decaying mansion obviously represent Cammell’s mind. In the end the sex therapy or magick doesn’t seem to work as Turner turns suicidal obsessed with a death wish.

Boorman’s crime angle comes in through Chas. In order for Fox to appear authentic Cammell actually required him to live the criminal life under the tutelage of a mobster, even to the extent of taking part in actual crimes. Of course, madness is the theme of the movie but even madness can go too far.

Chas. has offended the criminal chief, based on the Kray Bros., who has commanded a man hunt to track Chas. down. When he is located he is summoned to his execution. Turner says: Don’t leave me, take me where you’re going. Chas. says ‘You don’t want to go where I’m going.’ Turner: ‘Yes I do.’  Chas. then blows Turner’s head off, gets into the car and the car drives off, as he looks out the window we see Turners face. Thus the turning or change is complete as each becomes the other.

The version now available for purchase or rental is apparently much different from the original. While even the available version is violent and pornographic the original must have anticipated the current pornographic output of Hollywood . While I wouldn’t call Performance tame almost every movie you see today is as or more explicit. At any rate the movie has no redeeming moral value. If you want porn plain and simple, there it is.

The legend has it that the movie changed the lives of the participants. Perhaps so, but perhaps not. Michele Breton was already a lost child and stayed lost. Anita, no stranger to drugs moved into intense familiarity. James Fox, who was criminally mistreated by Cammell, gave up movies for ten years but he says he was already fed up with the seedy side of movie making so perhaps Performance just capped it. Keith? God, what can you say? Who was going to keep him from drugs? If Cammell was already inclined toward suicide he topped himself off in 1996 finally taking Keith’s advice.

But, now, Mick and Marianne. Mick was advised to play himself but Marianne wisely overruled that advice perhaps saving Mick’s sanity but still leaving him off balance. Marianne advised him to adopt some of the fey characteristics of Brian Jones’ character along with some of Keith’s tough guy stance. Not too difficult as that is the way Mick already appeared but it permanently shifted his personality in that skew. Nevertheless Mick has always remained supremely functional.

As to Marianne, how did she relate to Mick’s rejection of her by sending her to Ireland and the subsequent miscarriage of her child. That is a lot of psychological battering. I think that it is certain that as 1968 progressed she was already in a depression and sinking rapidly. While she was able to hold on for another year or so, by 1969 she would be spinning out of control as further events tested the strength of her mind.