by Craig Brown
The Daily Telegraph; London (UK); Nov 21, 2002
IN THESE tense times, it is always reassuring
to hear of yesterday's wild young rock stars at last settling down.
My 24-hour Way of the World Former Rock Star
Monitoring Unit (acronym WWFRSMU - an accurate recreation of the standard
reply given by all rock stars interviewed by New Musical Express between
1969 and 1974) has been making great strides. We were particularly happy to
discover from yesterday's Daily Telegraph that Kenney Jones,
53, formerly of The Small Faces and The Who, is now the proud owner of a
polo club in Surrey.
We will add him to our list of other rock
stars who have settled for a quiet life. These include Buster Bloodvessel
(born Douglas Trendle) of the group Bad Manners, who now runs a hotel in
Margate, Kent; Denis Payton of The Dave Clark Five, who is a partner in a
Bournemouth estate agents'; Rick Buckley of The Jam who runs an antique
business in Surrey; Hurricane Smith, who runs a medical equipment company,
also in Surrey; Iain Anderson of Jethro Tull and Roger Daltrey of The Who,
both of whom own fish farms; Keef Hartley, who has his own building business
in Berkshire; Dean Ford of Marmalade, who drives executive limousines; and
Glen Buxton of the Alice Cooper Band, who, oddly enough, now constructs
radar units for Goodyear Aerospace in America.
Kenney Jones (he seems to
have added a prestigious extra "e" to his christian name) now aims
to consolidate his respectability by recording a song called "Mr
Brown". It is, he explains, a protest song directed against the
Chancellor of the Exchequer. It includes the lines "Taking with one
hand and giving with the other Mr Brown you're robbing me".
Catchy it may be, but I wonder if Mr Jones
has got the wrong end of the stick? Under New Labour, pop stars have been
encouraged to flaunt their wealth, while the rest of us must keep our heads
down. These days, no one bats an eyelid when Sir Elton John boasts of
spending a six-figure sum every year on flowers or Victoria Beckham spends
pounds 15,000 an hour on frocks. "What glamour!" they trill. But
the second a Captain of Industry buys a new umbrella, they all throw up
their hands in horror at such extravagance.
If you or I were to boast of owning a polo
club in Surrey, the rest of the world would sneer resentfully. But pop stars
are allowed to get away with it. Under New Labour, being a pop star, young
or old, is like living in Switzerland during a world war. Mr Jones should
thank his lucky stars.