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Brian Jones: The Last Decadent

By Jeremy Reed

The drowning of Brian Jones casts a long shadow over the Rolling Stones legend. It was he who had formed the band, and given them their name, but their meteoric rise to fame proved too much for his fragile personality.

Poet and biographer Jeremy Reed shines his light on Jones, placing him in a terrain firmly aligned with the opium visions of Charles Baudelaire, the sartorial extravagance of Oscar Wilde, the sybaritic indulgences of Count Stenbock. He raises questions about Jones’ heterosexuality, citing his inability to form stable relationships with women, and his terror of the hysterical female fans who “in maenadic frenzy set about literally tearing the hair out of their so called heroes and ripping the shirts off their backs.” Increasingly Jones retreated into his own world, and became too debilitated by alcohol and drugs to remain a member of the band he had founded. Isolated in his Sussex farmhouse, Jones was found drowned in his swimming pool at the age of 27. Within three years he was followed by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison and so Jones started another legend, that of the 27 club.

Reed vividly recolours Brian Jones’s brief, but incandescent and extraordinarily subversive life amidst the pop and fashion whirlwind of the Sixties, and in doing so presents perhaps the most illuminating and evocative portrait yet written of a fallen rock’n’roll angel.

Jeremy Reedis the author of over 40 award winning books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including studies of Marc Almond and Lou Reed. He has been lauded by giants such as JG Ballard – “Each time he goes out into our mundane world he makes the dust sing” – Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. He is well known as a performer of his work with the Ginger Light.

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