What started off looking like an iffy morning up here in the hills, given the watery early-morning light that strained to pierce the canopy, has turned out to be pluperfect. Clear blue sky with just a few wisps of cumulus scudding across is a good indication of how the rest of the morning will turn out. A Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), looking like a sparkling jewel darts into the pond and emerges with a small silvery form in its beak, perches on a convenient branch just above the water’s surface and beats the life out of the fish before it swallows part of its breakfast. A female Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea), its speckled plumage and red eyes striking in a shaft of light, is busy gulping mulberries whilst a noisy Red-vented Bulbul (Picnonotus cafer cafer) tries competing with it. The dogs are impatient at my dawdling and urge me onwards in their inimitable style, so we continue. There is one stretch on the path that is covered with leaves, now soggy and the perfect habitat for leeches (Haemadipsa zeylanica) that we have to quick-step through, so as not to get them suckers attached to the lower extremities. The dogs don’t seem to care all that much, although once inside, they do have to spend time getting the annoying annelids unstuck from between their toes.

Back inside I find Java getting into ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, Jean-Luc Goddard’s film featuring the Rolling Stones, so I get another cuppa and join him to watch a young Jagger do his thing with Brian Jones (rare footage of the original leader of the group), Keith Richard, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts – oh, and the keyboard player could well have been Nicky Hopkins or Ian Stewart, although I’m not certain.

The film was an interesting, if eclectic mix, of the genesis of the song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ going through its birthing pangs in the studio over many days. Made in Goddard’s idiosyncratic style that combined it with a series of abstract vignettes in which he features topics as diverse as race, pornography, and the irony of interviewing celebrities, also featuring a demonstration by Black Power revolutionaries. Filmed in 1968, the content clearly reflected the signs of the time and the style in keeping with the European evolution of film that Richard Lester also used for his films on the Beatles around the same period.

Heeey maaan, dis cat be somting else, huh? Jus check out his attitood.

Jagger’s into one of the tracks and going crazy with a small drum he holds between his thighs. Keith Richard is absorbed in his guitar work and Brian Jones is doing his thing but some of his attention is on the cigarette that he has been puffing on madly in an attempt to get through it before the track began – his Pan – Dandy demeanor and dress epitomizing the image he had crafted for himself.

Yo know dey do dis track for da Beggars Banquet album an not fo dat Satanic Majesty’s Request one, right? Ain’t it strange how dese cats be doin all dis Satanic sheet? Dat film dat Jagger did wit Nicholas Roeg and dat Crammell dude who shot hisself – ‘Performance’, dat also be havin som dark sheet in it. Weird dude!

The vignettes that Goddard has interspersed in the film are pretty abstract and off the wall as it were, but interesting and trippy nonetheless. The ‘Black Power’ segments are typical of LA in the late 60s as visions of Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver, the Symbionese Liberation Army, Patty Hearst, et al, flash through the memory banks.

Too soon the film ends. The dogs are lazing in the patches of sunlight that streams through the windows and its time for brekkers. Java’s getting some jazz on, so I’ll leave the lyrics of the song – for what its worth.

Sympathy for the Devil – Mick Jagger / Keith Richards

Please allow me to introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
Ive been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
Who killed the kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer
cause Im in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or Ill lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, whats my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, whats my name
I tell you one time, youre to blame
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Oh, yeah
Whats me name
Tell me, baby, whats my name
Tell me, sweetie, whats my name
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Oh, yeah

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