March 21, 2014
Performance (Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg, 1970). All week, since the death of L’Wren Scott, Jagger’s voice has seemed so poignant on the sad songs – “Sister Morphine”, “Memory Motel” – and for the first time ever, he has seemed vulnerable in public. If Keith Richards has become more loved over the years than Jagger (you can’t imagine a Jagger memoir outselling the Richards one) it’s because Richards has had those very human qualities – vulnerability, flaws, a sense of humour – that Jagger buried. There was a very basic polarity established sometime in the 1970s – one as artificial and dilettantish and one as rebellious and authentic; one as a mimic and one as his true self – that has left both playing characters ever since. No one saw Performance in 1970 but it surely had a part to play in the way that mimicry was taken as a kind of reality.