Play With Fire

I was watching one of those BBC culture slots on Keith Richards recently. Keith was looking good and speaking sense, talking about the early years of the Rolling Stones in Dartford, a few miles down the road from where I used to live.

Now clearly these were heady days for Keith, Mick et al and not to beat around the bush the young Stones (this was 1964) were off their heads, certainly on alcohol, for much of the time and Keith’s memories were understandably a bit hazy. Something about thousands of young ladies screaming at the top of their voices and not being able to hear themselves play. No worries, I thought. That’s rock and roll and if it were any different we would all be a bit disappointed.

But what was compelling was Keith’s description of the moment they decided to move on from doing covers of the superb Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and other seminal geniuses of America’s black music scene and write their own stuff. In other words to move from being back-room blues boys to one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands in the world.

Keith described starting with nothingness, the artist’s blank screen. Or in the case of the band who were set to become so very famous, silence. Then the track grew on to that as they started to make some noise – their noise.

The result was ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ – which started as a rough cut but they left it for what it is – a raw rock and roll classic. Keith wanted to go back to it, change it, edit it. The others said no Keith, leave it alone! More followed: Brown sugar, Under my thumb, You can’t always get what you want, Let’s spend the night together. Many I guess have formed the soundtrack to my fishing (do you sing, in your head o as you go down the pool)?

It’s not unlike writing a new blog post. I know what you’re thinking, the salmon adventurer’s got writer’s block. Well of course I’ve got writer’s block. This is a salmon adventure and I’m stuck in an office.

Anyway I can’t complain. The good times will roll again – I felt the same this time exactly 12 months ago and had nothing planned. Well apart from my usual 2 weeks on the Nith and a pretty well developed longing to return to the Gaula. Russia? I had a dream of fishing the Yokanga (I still do, I believe it to offer the most sensational salmon fishing experiences on Planet Earth, and that’s without having been there, but maybe I’ve been talking on the phone to Matt Harris too much!) but ended up fishing the Varzuga, which was in terms of numbers of fish certainly, but also other matters, just brilliant and I believe, the perfect introduction to the Kola Peninsula.

I was lucky, I know that, but I was also hooked by the experience. So we’ll have to see what happens in 2011 (or 12). Whatever it is, it’ll be on And thanks again, Keith (I can’t get no…)


About henrygiles

Born to fish forced to work and fish
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