Well, we have to start somewhere, so this is as good a place as any.
Like many his age in those days, Mick, [who handily passed seven O Levels and three A Levels in his GCEs - seriously good student], very briefly entertained the idea that he might follow his father and grandfather into the education game. Or, more likely, they entertained the idea.
In the meantime, his interest in singing, and in blues music particularly, continued to distract him from Life's Stern Responsibilities. Let alone the band, which was taking off on the local club circuit.
By 1963, The Stones were already very popular in the south east. I'd seen them a few times at various shows at the Ricky-Tick Club in Guildford, watching in bemusement as local girls screamed and acted like fools, particularly over the glamorous Mr. Jones with his terrific hair.
I also heard stories of their gigs at the Wooden Bridge pub in Guildford. Reportedly, Mick liked to take the piss out of a local yobbo, one Herbie Taylor, a Teddy Boy, all greasy hair, drainpipes, bovver boots, and an IQ too low to register. I was no fan of Herbie's, who lived in a nearby council estate, or his dubious family of brothers, so this pleased me no end.
(The photo is a reasonable facsimile of the local Teds - not Herbie, though the Ted on the left bears some resemblance. What they're doing is anybody's guess - moving awkwardly about by the looks of it. Dancing? Practicing stomping on someone?)
During performances, Mick would deliberately flirt from the stage with whatever female Herbie happened to be with, or make other disrespectful gestures in Herbie's general direction. When Herbie was suitably enraged, about ready to lumber up onstage to finish Jagger off, Mick would skip down, and run around the room on the table tops, pursued by the enraged Herbie, while the band played on, all to the vast entertainment of the Friday night crowd. Ole, ole!
Anyway, in 1963, as the Stones were ready to roll, Mick wound up at the London School of Economics. I think he'd agree that his short year provided a more than valuable education in the world of money and world politics, and I'm sure Mick, always a quick study, took away some serious information. However, he left at the end of year. Nothing dramatic, just that the Stones had a record deal, and Mick had business to attend to.
Enter Gertrude Stein. And thereby hangs my tale.
In 1963, my mother was engaged to Derek Bell, the illegitimate son of Leo Stein, Gertrude Stein's older brother.
It's well documented that around 1912 or so Gertrude and Leo had a serious falling out, and that rift was not mended for thirty years. Derek's mother was allegedly a lady who worked for Leo, and before Gertrude stepped in, young Derek's future was extremely uncertain.
After Gertrude commandered this piece of family business, disgusted by Leo's cavalier dismissal of the situation, young Derek was thereafter financially supported by Gertrude, raised and educated as befitted a member of the Stein family. He attended LSE as part of his education. [Btw, Derek bore a remarkable resemblance to his aunt, with her penetrating stare, so I have no reason to doubt this story.]
Derek commanded the back-up bomber squadron to the famous Dam Busters during the Second World War, and earned the DFC for his service. For many years thereafter he was the Managing Director of 3M in Johannesburg, and when he returned to London in the early 60s, he took up his responsibilities as a member of the Board of Governors of LSE. He ultimately became the Chief Buyer for the Concorde, working for the British Aircraft Corporation (formerly Vickers-Armstrong), which employed many of our neighbors in West Byfleet. Occasionally we'd go out to Ripley on Sundays and visit the plane under construction. All top secret of course, but amazing to see what they were doing.
Anyway, one evening we're having dinner. Derek had been up to "Town," [as we used to refer to London], on some business or other. He fixes me with his eye, and asks "You know about this sort of thing. Have you heard of a band called the Rolling Stones?" Me,"Yes, why?"
From what I recall of the ensuing conversation, during their first year, students at LSE were allowed to write a grant proposal for project funding from LSE. According to Derek, Mick had written a good grant proposal, using the Rolling Stones as his business model, and asking for financial aid to buy equipment so they could improve their stage sound. Of course, not one member of the Board, including Derek, had much of an idea about the financial soundness of rock music, though obviously it was becoming an economic powerhouse, and they'd sort of heard of the Beatles, but when it came to the niceities of the business, LSE needed an expert opinion, in this case, me. The Board wanted to know if the Stones had any future, and I was able to say I thought so, based on what I was seeing. Would they be a good risk? "Er - yes," quoth the expert.
So, Mick got some grant money from LSE which he bought gear with, after which he gave LSE the salute, and took off for the sky.
Gertrude would have liked that. I certainly did.
More encounters with Mick were to follow, including the one I've already mentioned in my first post.