15 May, 2021

Stone Age Memorabilia

A cinematic slice of classic rock 'n' roll, retrieved from the debris of the '60s:courtesy Rolling Stones

Stone Age Memorabilia

THE ringmaster is all skin and bone. He thrusts and grinds his pelvis, pouts, jabs pointed fingers in the air. He writhes and struts, he hunches and hops, cracks his whip and the Big Top goes wild. This is no ordinary travelling show. It’s only rock and roll, but they love it. And the master of ceremonies is Jumping Jackflash at his howling best—all rubber lips and sexy menace.

Twenty-eight years down the line, paunchy babyboomers, watching the world film premiere of the Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus at the 1996 New York Film Festival went delirious too: for one glorious hour, it was back to their future, it was retro with introspection, it was them out there in the circus tent: their lives, their headlines all those years ago.

Shot over two days in December 1968, the film extravaganza—studded with names like Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Pete Townsh-end, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, even Taj Mahal—lay in cans, closets and even in a barn till October 8, 1996, when it was finally screened in the Big Apple. And what a Ruby Tuesday it...

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