The long hours of practicing, the economic challenges of his youth and the first few years of trying to work as a professional musician are common to many working in the arts.
—Vicki Young, MCO Managing Director
The Rolling Stones have been a small but consistent thread throughout my life. They have been active for most of my lifetime, and their songs and stories make for a good read in the hands of Keith Richards in his book, Life.
In the late 1970s while studying ballet in London, I lived in a residence run by the British Federation of University Women on Cheyne Walk on the embankment in Chelsea. The other residents came from all over the world, and they were studying everything from opera to economics. Some of the early-morning joggers would report sightings of Mick Jagger arriving at his home just down the street, and we would speculate on the events of his previous evening. Richards gives us a pretty clear idea of what he might have been up to!
Life by Keith Richards (Little, Brown and Company)
Written in a conversational tone, it's easy to understand why like-minded musicians would want to work with him. An engaging, intelligent and talented person, he has put music at the centre of his life since he picked up a guitar, and his life story is in some ways the story of many others. The long hours of practicing, the economic challenges of his youth and the first few years of trying to work as a professional musician are common to many working in the arts.
Keith Richards' story highlights the importance of making our own luck. By taking advantage of opportunities, taking on new projects and being open to new experiences while working hard, he has lived a creative, interesting and unconventional life.
Toward the end of the book he talks about his own love of reading. I was particularly interested to learn that some of his favourite books are the Aubrey/Maturin novels
by Patrick O'Brian. Having read that series of naval adventures set during the Napoleonic wars myself about five times, that shared experience in otherwise very dissimilar life tracks made him seem even more sympathetic.
I am currently reading Jennifer Homans's history of ballet, Apollo's Angels
, and am re-reading the first part of the Nobel Prize winning author Wole Soyinka's autobiography, Aké: The Years of Childhood
, about his early years in a small Nigerian village.Vicki Young is the Managing Director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. The MCO will be performing two free one-hour outdoor concerts with Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian this summer: at the Lyric Theatre at 7:00 PM on August 23rd and The Forks under the canopy at 7:00 PM on August 24th. MCO's 40th anniversary season opens on Wednesday, September 12th at Westminster Church.