SPIN DOCTOR: James Jeffrey | October 11, 2008
ERSTWHILE Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead tour manager Sam Cutler is
flogging his memoir, You Can't Always Get What You Want, a title that
may see it mistaken by bookshop browsers for Peter Costello's potboiler.
And the confusion may last for more than a few chapters, both books
telling the story of men who toiled night and day inside a powerful
machine but without getting to be a Mick Jagger or a Keith Richards
or a Jerry Garcia or a J.W. Howard.
Costello-Cutler parallelogists (a word I have just coined for the
benefit of the broader reading public) will have their work cut out
for them for days, even weeks. In just one eerie echo of a classic
Costello observation, Cutler predicts his former bosses the Stones
won't quit the spotlight and will just keep on playing until they
cark it on stage.
Cutler recalls catching up with them 34 years after they sacked him,
to be greeted by His Keefness thus: "F..k me, Sam Cutler. Or should I
say, f..k you?"
I haven't shovelled through enough of Costello's copy to know if this
represents another spooky parallel. Nevertheless, Cutler clearly
comes from a family more robust than the average nuclear unit,
judging by his description of the backstage reunion as being "a bit
like meeting your aunt after many years".
* * *
IT'S bad enough having your musical tastes called into question by
friends, but to be found wanting by a car thief is a blow almost too
low to bear.
It happened the other week when my vehicle -- a rudimentary piece of
technology dating from the late Cretaceous -- was boosted from
outside the house, along with a glovebox full of music cassettes.
(Kids, ask your parents what they are.)
I was bemused by the thief's choice -- most of the other vehicles in
the street are far more readily recognisable as cars -- but also
gutted by the loss of what amounted to an archive of bagpipe music.
Had my thief the gift of a discerning and pipe-curious ear, they
could have had hours listening to Galician gaitas, uilleann pipes,
Scottish half-longs, German dudelsacks, Italian zampognas and AC/DC's
Bon Scott almost blowing his lungs out on It's a Long Way to the Top.
As they started the engine in the darkness, what first greeted their
ears would have been the gem I'd wedged into the tape deck: the
Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band belting through Cock Up Your
Beaver (it's from a poem, you know) and making a noise like a B-52
ploughing into a minefield.
None of us in the house heard anything, but the thief would have
copped an earful. Which may explain why they made it only a few
blocks before dumping the car, but not before systematically ripping
the tape out of nearly every single cassette. As Scott -- whose own
bagpipes came to grief at the hands of crazed fans -- knew only too
well, everyone's a bloody critic.
Iain Shedden is on leave.