Tuesday, February 8, 2011

McGuane on the Stones.

I'm a latecomer to the genius of Thomas McGuane. My buddy Troy from Alaska convinced me to read 92 in the Shade a few years ago, and I was hooked. Because this isn't a literature blog, I won't go into detail, other than to say that I rarely come across a writer of any generation who causes me to pause and reread a sentence just to be able to take in the sheer beauty of the writing with the frequency McGuane does. If you really care about writing, and have hopes that one day you yourself make some contribution to the collective aesthetic, well then don't read Tom McGuane. Whatever self-confidence you may have had will be squelched with a cold and raw abandon.

I'm reading a book of his essays on fishing. One of them is about fishing in Ireland in the early 60s. Writing in the late 90s, McGuane recalls reading a month-old copy of the Dublin Times:

There was an upstart band from London, the Rolling Stones, who would soon play Dublin. A large advertisement suggested this band was going places. I looked at their pictures in astonishment. Only the English cities, I thought, could come up with these drooling imbeciles whose stippled and wolfish jaws and pusspocket eyes indicated a genetic impasse. A decade later, I tried and failed to get tickets to their concert at Altamont, where with their retinue of Hell's Angels, a rock 'n' roll ceremony of murder was performed for our guitar-ridden new world. I didn't even see it coming.

As homage to drooling imbeciles, here's a Stones cover by the Hellacopters, played the only way they know how -- full on and utterly without subtlety or nuance. I'm pretty sure the title to their first stateside release, "Supershitty to the Max!", is Swedish for "skullcrushing freaking awesomeness."

1 comment:

John Hyland said...

"Genetic Impasse". That would be a good name for a band. Yep.