Back to the Future with Mick Jagger
By Shlomo Maital
On July 26, Mick Jagger will turn 70! You wouldn’t know it from his tours and stage appearances. It’s the same Mick/Rolling Stone as they were in the 1960’s, when they were a counterculture bad-boy opposite to the clean-cut Beatles.
One of my all-time favorite columnists is Financial Times’ Lucy Kellaway, who always has a unique, and sometimes funny, perspective on things. Here is her ‘take’ on what we can learn from Mick Jagger. I would add: He was an economists student, around the time when I was too. But he did what Nietzsche recommended: “Become who you are!”. (He became a rocker). I did not. Alas.
“There they all were, ginormous and wearing just the sort of clothes the Stones ought to wear and playing “Gimme Shelter” just as it sounds on the 1969 LP Let It Bleed. It’s true that you could also see the deep furrows on their faces – but those merely served to mark time and make the lack of any other change all the more remarkable. The Stones’ tour should be made into a business school case study on when change is called for – and when it isn’t. Change is good if it means being better, faster, cheaper – if it leads to clearer sound and cleaner images. But in anything that touches our emotions, change is a very bad thing indeed. This applies to rock bands – and it applies to chocolate. The other day I bought an Orange Club biscuit and felt a similar surge of gratitude on finding it identical to the ones I used to have in my packed lunchbox. Equally, when I went to a Clarks shoe shop recently and found the original blonde desert boots with the same orangey stitching and white soles, I would have bought them on the spot, only my feet – like Jagger’s face – seem to have collapsed and spread out and so they no longer fit. We notice when the things of our youth are tampered with, as that was a time when our memories functioned perfectly. Every word of every Stones song is preserved forever in the aspic of my cerebrum – unlike, say, my newest computer password which never seems to get purchase at all. The Stones wisely don’t mess with our memories, unlike Bob Dylan, who spitefully and perversely performs his old songs as if defying anyone to recognise them.”