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Reading in Airplanes

My brother was in for the weekend. From the great state of Texas. We talk music mostly. What it means and how powerful it is and how much it’s helped us up over the years, and brought us crashing down. We talk books too. Which means we usually make our way to Borders and drop serious credit on the counter. This weekend I was gracious and gave him the Keith Richards memoir to take home with him. The thought of each brother spending $30 on a book about an unprepentent junkie who refuses to die like a normal person was too much for me. So I just threw my copy at him. He was relieved I could tell, because in no way did he want to buy it, but he knew he’d have to read it in the same way a person who has a dead dog in front of their house has to go out with a shovel and scrape it up. He performed the same service for me when Neil Young’s bio came out. He bought it, being a little more brain damaged than I due to age, but then let me read it, which of course I did….every word on something like 600 ridiculous pages. It was an excruciating read, mostly because I think Neil Young is insane, but did contain some interesting tidbits on 60s acid casualties and how one deals with insufferable egoists like Steven Stills and David Crosby without purchasing a firearm and putting a hole in each of their foreheads. Neil walked the landmine admirably, mostly ignoring them unless they were completely broke or were in desperate need of body parts. Then he’d step in out of loyalty and lend his name to boost ticket sales and hasten organ donations. All in all quite a dreary read, but since it was given to me, I felt obligated, which is exactly why I’m sure my brother spent his day on the plane reading a book about a man once perfectly described by a music writer as resembling a “crippled spider”. I’m sure my brother is now safely tucked back into the bosom of his family, and if he remembers anything at all about the Keef bio I’m positive he’s got enough bottles of Stout waiting in his fridge to reverse his memory and thus remain a productive husband and father without the influence of a man who stays up 9 nights running sitting on his shoulder saying “there’s 30 pills, why not take 30 now and save time?”

Peer pressure. Keef style.

Great music lasts forever. Bad books about music last about as long as certain plane rides, which works out perfectly unless you’re the type who sits on the plane and plays “spot the muslim”, convinced that boarding an airplane in today’s climate is like trying to start a chapter of MoveOn.org in Louisville, Kentucky. But thankfully they’ve got drugs for such fixations now, and I’ve popped the requisite pills and thus read more bad rock writing on airplanes than anyplace else. Airplanes are the perfect place to read about spectacularly ego-driven excess because they give you plenty of time to think and get jealous that it’s not you tossing TVs out window and having fivesomes with groupies ……because the flights are always running behind and you’ve got nothing else to do but some deep thinking.

Well, it’s late and I’ve stopped making much sense. But I think I’ve made enough. Car-pool bad rock books amongst family members. The family that shares Keef’s memoir stays together. Or prays together. Or does drugs together. Something like that. The exact wording escapes me.

In a bit…


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