Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part Three Section Fifteen: The Island
Part Three: In The Aftermath
7 – Mick Jagger
I can’t express the relief you will feel when you get to this place, the weight of fear on your shoulders from the moment you realize you die to this, it is more than pleasure or joy or happiness, it is like the explosion in your head of everything you ever thought suddenly widening in all directions and more than that: nothing to ever ever ever be afraid of ever again because all those ideas, and times, worries, and endless tears, were a complete waste. We don’t actually ever stop. It is true we live on. I feel like a ten year old and I am a ten year old, at the speed of the thought here I am, running up and down this sandy beach alone. I don’t know how to think of it or deal with it, or anything. I’m as free as I can be, whatever life brought to you, gave you, what it never gave you was this rush on joyfulness and possibility. Everything I ever did there wasn’t this moment.
I once asked Keith why he went back to heroin and he said it was always that first taste was so great it was like everything made sense and that is how I feel. I start to run as fast as I can along the shore, faster faster, faster, till like a dream I am flying but it isn’t a dream, I fly forward and skip and trip on air, like it is a personal plaything and suddenly I think, hey everybody is here somewhere and I know that with a thought I can bring them to me, they are waiting to see me, they are dying for me to show but I won’t, maybe I won’t ever. I am hungry, or what I do is think I should be hungry and I am hungry and like Mowgli in “The Jungle Book” , I climb a tree and stare down at this small Island, I reach the top and pull off a banana and then another and then another. I don’t want to come down or go up, I have no responsibilities to anything, not even myself, I have just this one thing I need to do, be really happy always.
I am tired but I am not tired, I think I am tired and I am tired and the tree’s branches are the leafiest of beds and I close my eyes and sleep deep and dreamless but not quite dreamless, it is like this idea: I am so happy in this nothing dream, pokes through so it isn’t like something or other is happening in the dream, it is not like there is any action at all in this dream. It is not like I am seeing images, all I am doing, the way in which it is a dream, is feeling very unafraid. Inescapable, indelibly and always cheerfully unafraid of anything.
Of death –not scared of death. I will always be!!
Maybe more important, I’m not scared for my kids or my Grandkids, or anyone at all, those who died before me, those who will die after me, we are all free of everything that makes us sad or worried or concerned.
I didn’t want anybody and I didn’t have anybody, and I stopped counting absolutely certain that when I wanted someone I’d have someone. No hurry, no rush, no nothing, and all the thoughts that used to fill me were gone because when I was alive I was scared that any thought I lost would never return, would be lost forever but I didn’t feel that here. After a lifetime at the top of the world managing downward, trying so hard all my life, so many things concerning me, hit singles, successful tours, family, friends, an entire infrastructure and none of it mattered now. It is like I had spent decades with a weight on my shoulder and the weight was lifted and would never ever return, at least not that way.
After a week of eating bananas and sleeping I scurried down the tree trunk looking for a change of diet and waked into the sea, up to my waste, further deep and I put my hand down, and drew out a big trout and I wandered back to the beach and I wished it was night and it was and there was a fire burning from out of nowhere, and I toasted the fish on the open fish and picked off the flesh with my fingers and it was the best fish I’ve ever had.
I slept on the beach that night and the place was so quiet, only the waves lapping on the shore, that’s all I could hear, over and over, like a lullaby pulling me into eternity, with something so beautiful and musical always and always, I drifted asleep and I awoke with the sunrise. I washed myself in the sea and sat on the beach, what I wouldn‘t give for a cup of tea and there it was. I took a sip and then a gulp and then thought of bacon and eggs and maybe a couple of kippers and breakfast was there as well. Life like that would become boring eventually though some six weeks after my death and I wasn’t bored yet. Also, I had this deep sense that things would change and while they might be changing at my pace, they might also be changing at a pace that had nothing to do with. I was where I was because I needed the space to consider myself, I needed a feeling of being just this pure thought.
I started to wander around the Island and while, in an obvious sense, the Island was me and I was the Island, it also wasn’t me; it had its own strangeness, and intense mellow Englands pastures green meets a tropical Island and while I could control it in some ways, fountains, mountains, miles of open green. I feel like the boys in in “Lord Of The Flies” –only without the innocence or the menace. A wild boar runs out of the jungle towards me, I pull out a knife and we wrestle on the ground till I slit its throat and bathe in its blood. I tear flesh off its carcass and cook it in the fire, and when I am full I close my eyes and sleep next to it.
When I awake the carcass is gone and a small dog is lying next to me. Now, I have no memory of requesting a companion and for the first time since I don’t know when, something has happened I hadn’t requested to happen. This means something. I’ve been here alone for so long I guessed nothing else anywhere existed, or rather, I just guessed everything everywhere was leaving me the hell alone –fine with me, I might well add. I wished the little rat away and that didn’t happen. I considered strangling it. I considered it dying. If I had to have a dog why not White Fang? Or a German Shepherd? Why this poxy little refuge from a Ron Wood party? Then it dawns on me, it is Ron Wood’s dog! A cute little Pomeranian, what was it named? I couldn’t remember if it was in the crash and then I did remember, the dog howling as the plane hurtled… yep, it was in the plane. But what was it doing here. I don’t know, so I ask it. No answer, a coupla barks, and its tail wagging frantically. Blue Eyes. I never knew Pomeranian’s had blue eyes but there you go. I wandered over the seashore with Blue Eyes close behind me, I went in for a swim while Blue Eyes snoozed and later that night I gave her coconut milk and turkey I cooked on a spit and she wasn’t the nuisance I might have believed her to be. She didn’t need much, we were just companions, searching round this Island which changed sizes, dependent on my needs. It was odd to find myself in the Lake District one moment, Brazilian Rain Forest the next.
All we did was play, swim, fly, eat, sleep, wander around and around, climb mountains, walk across streams: an endless, timeless time where all my worries had stopped. I wasn’t really Mick any more, no, I was Mick, I was very much myself, but I wasn’t a Mick that faced a public or even himself. I was the Island, a freewheeling free spirit, in endless play. The thing about life was it forced you through time, and through extinction, to push against the edges of yourself. And the thing eternity isn’t the absolute freedom to do nothing for ever but the absolute freedom to do nothing till you were ready to do something. Blue Eyes was the same way as well, I think so. Neither of us spoke at all but we communicated, we wandered nowhere with deep purpose, waking up on a morning and wandering towards the waterfall, a towering edifice of a waterfall that must have reached upwards 2000 miles, till we tried to walk up to the top where it seemed to scale backwards to a barely 20 minute trot and when we reached the top we jumped off, carried by the fall downwards for miles and miles, for 10, 20 minutes of falling together till I think, “OK I’ve had enough” and bump we are there. Then we walk towards the base of a steep and thickly wooded sandstone ridge: I recognize it, Alderley Edge, a gorgeous, somewhat haunting thing: we walk right to the very Edge, this time it takes us two hours to get there and when we reach the top we jump off gain, never getting enough of the trill of plunging. Either of us.
We are hungry suddenly and we walk towards the village, there is no one there but there is a village inn and we enter and there is food on a huge table. There just for us. But no one around, nothing to bother us. Thick country ham and blocks of creamy butter, loaves of crusty bread and milk so fresh it tastes better than cream. We eat and eat and when we are tired of eating we are full and there is treacle pudding with custard and then we look out the window and the temperature drops 20, 30 degrees in an instant and its cold. There is a fire roaring, and a large comfortable looking sofa, the weather has gotten pretty darn gruesome, thunder cracking up till Blue Eyes whimpers and hides behind me, lightning shattering the sky and rain and rain and rain. Blue Eyes pokes his head out from behind me, and we know we are going nowhere tonight. So we lay down and watch the rain outside the window, torrential and comforting, like it will never end. I think that I could take a tape recorder and tape the sound and use it as the beat to a song. I hadn’t thought about music in a long time, or creativity, or anything much at all, just decompressed and closed my eyes and when I awoke I found Blue Eyes gone and there was a loud knocking on the front door