July 17, 2013

David McGraw: 101 Affirmations for Self Confidence



See more on You Tube                                                                           

July 14, 2013

Modern Technology and Albert Einstein: Are We There Yet?



The day that Albert Einstein most feared has finally arrived!

Clearly he was not named as "Time Magazine's Person of the Century" for nothing, not just his Theory of Relativity.


His genius goes way beyond it. 

And it's not only the younger generation that uses this technology.

I have seen people using two 'phones at once! 

It happens everywhere you go: at home -  either at meal times or when watching television or any other activity. 

Even though they have some terrific benefits - whatever did we do before mobile/cell 'phones were so readily available?

Are we living in the age of Idiocracy?

I hope not!

Many thanks to Lidia for sending me this.Below: In a nutshell!

See also The Technology of Nature




Einstein's Famous Theory Has Aged Well

Arthur Benjamin: The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers

Claude Shannon Jr: The Greatest Genius No One Has Heard Of

John von Neumann: This Hungarian-American Mathematician May Have Been Smarter Than Einstein 

Great Minds: Filippo Brunelleschi

Great Minds: Leonardo da Vinci

The Genius of Nicola Tesla

Hedy Lamarr - Beauty And Brains in Abundance

The New Turing Test:Brainy Machines Need An Updated IQ Test, Experts Say 

Warp Speed Space Travel A Possibility Thanks To Einstein's Theory Of Relativity 

Albert Einstein: 25 Quotes

A Century Ago Albert Einstein Showed The Most Unlikely Idea Can Be Right

 Mad Geniuses: 10 Odd Tales About Famous Scientists

Benjamin Franklin:11 Surprising Facts

 Last Piece of Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity In Line For Final ‘Proof’

Never Ever Give Up! - Famous Failures 

Student Builds Super-smart Robot That Paints Award-winning Einstein Portrait

Albert Einstein's Legacy

The Nobel Prizes In Numbers

July 11, 2013

How to become an optimist


By Michael Mosley
A FEW months ago I was wandering around my house in the early hours of the morning, cursing my insomnia. For lack of anything better to do I went to my computer and looked up research on "optimism". 
Why is it, I wondered, that I was once so positive about life and now I'm not? My father was warm, and sociable, but not particularly reflective. So should I blame my parents, my genes, or random events in my life? And is there anything I can do to change?

I was a happy child, but at some point in my life I drifted away from believing that tomorrow would be a better day to thinking that it probably wouldn't.

I can't pinpoint key moments or even likely causes. Perhaps it's happened because I'm married with four children, which means I feel responsible for four other lives, not just my own. Perhaps I'm just more realistic. Whatever the reasons, I am someone who frequently assumes the worst will happen and frets about the future.

This turn towards the dark side has become more noticeable as I have grown older. It makes me self-absorbed and keeps me from sleeping. I used to sleep like the dead. I slept on railway platforms, at parties, in a telephone box, even in a graveyard. Now I regularly wake at 3am and drift around my house, with insistent, anxious thoughts battling for attention.

So a few months ago I decided to try to do something about it. As a documentary maker with the BBC's Horizon program, I decided to explore the latest science of personality and attempt to make myself more optimistic. I didn't want to become optimistic in a wishful thinking, self-help sort of way; I wanted to rewire my brain in a measurable, evidence-based, realistic way.

As a pessimist, I naturally enough expected to fail. I certainly suspected that this was going to be one of the harder things I'd attempted. "Personality" is something we think of as both nebulous and fixed, hard to define, set in early childhood and not that susceptible to change. Optimism and pessimism are characteristics that I'd imagined would be difficult to alter because they are deep rooted.

As the psychologist and neuroscientist professor Elaine Fox of Oxford University points out in her book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, the way we view the world changes how the world responds to us. She claims that whether we turn to the dark side or the light can be traced to patterns of activity in the brain and this reflects basic drives.

Like any other animal, we are primed optimistically to head out into the unknown in search of a mate and food. But we are also wired to anticipate danger. In a situation where your life is at risk, fearing the worst brings clear survival advantages.

In the modern world, however, being constantly on the lookout for things that might go wrong is more likely to lead to anxiety, insomnia and negative patterns of thinking. It can even shorten your life. There have been a number of studies that point to the effect of optimism on longevity. In 1975, for example, the inhabitants of the town of Oxford, Ohio, in the US Midwest, took part in a fascinating social experiment.

It started when a scientist from the local university came up with an ambitious plan to recruit all the over-50s in the town for a study into ageing. More than 1000 signed up. They filled in questionnaires about jobs, health, family and attitudes towards growing older. Decades later the data ended up in Yale University on the desk of associate professor Becca Levy. "What we did was to try and track down the survival patterns of everybody who was in the original study via something called the National Death Index," Levy says. "In fact, we did find mortality information about all the original participants."

When Levy went through the death records she found that those who felt optimistic about the future lived, on average, about 7 1/2 years longer than those who were more pessimistic. Mental attitude was more important than almost any other factor. This finding took into account possible reasons for pessimism, such as sickness or depression. Levy's work has been backed by other research.

To put her findings into context, if we could cure cancer tomorrow it would add half as much - three to four years - to life expectancy. But why should optimism have this effect? And what can you do if you're not naturally a happy soul?

I went to see Elaine Fox for advice and guidance. A cheerful optimist herself, for more than 20 years she has been studying ways that our health, wealth and wellbeing are shaped by how we view the world. She is particularly interested in studying how differences in our outlook can be traced to specific patterns of brain activity.

She started by asking me to don a cap fitted with numerous EEG (electroencephalographic) leads. "We're going to be measuring the electrical activity in your brain, and we're really just going to try and probe and see whether your brain naturally tunes into either positive or negative stuff," she said.

The first part of the test involved measuring the levels of electrical activity on the two sides of my brain while I was resting. Studies have shown that people who are prone to high levels of pessimism, neuroticism and anxiety tend to have greater activity on the right side of their frontal cortex than the left. The same pattern is seen in infants who are anxious and cry a lot, and in monkeys with high blood levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This is known as cerebral asymmetry.

It turns out that I have three times more activity in my right frontal cortex than my left. Oh dear. I didn't know whether to feel gratified or appalled.

Then I did another test, still wearing the cap. I had to press a button whenever I saw dots flashing in a particular pattern behind faces on a computer screen. I was asked not to focus on the faces, just on the dots.

I didn't realise it, but the point is to test my unconscious negative bias to see if my brain's response time was influenced by whether the dots appeared behind angry or happy faces. It turns out my brain subconsciously reacts far more rapidly to negative images. With optimists the reverse is true.

After Fox had established that I am "on the negative side of the spectrum", she sent me off to try out two forms of mental training which she said would help: mindfulness meditation and cognitive bias modification.

But why, I wondered, are some people more optimistic than others? Is it simply upbringing or do other factors play a part? One of the places I went looking for answers was St Thomas' Hospital in London where for years professor Tim Spector has been running a research unit analysing and probing a special group of people: identical twins.

"Twin studies have told us that personality has a heritable component," Spector says. "And they tell us that, generally, 40 per cent to 50 per cent of personality, of the differences between us in personality, is due to genetic factors, and the rest is either random or due to environment."

As Spector also points out, what matters is not just the genes we are born with but whether they are active or not. Throughout our lives, in response to life events, our genes are constantly being switched on and off. It's a process known as epigenetics.

We've known for some time that stressful emotional events, such as a death or a separation, can trigger depression and anxiety. What we didn't know is that they also change the behaviour of our genes. In fact, by studying identical twins, where one is depressed or anxious and the other is not, Spector and his team have recently been able to identify a handful of genes that seem to play an important role in these conditions. In other words, a life event, or perhaps series of life events, appears to have made subtle changes to their genes, altering their protein output and therefore their biochemistry, making one of the twins more vulnerable to depression later in life.

This discovery raises the enticing possibility that if these genes have been switched one way, then maybe they can be switched back. The research also makes it clear our personalities aren't just something we were born with; there are many aspects of our selves that are being subtly shaped and modified throughout our lives.

After seven weeks of practising mindfulness and CBM, and numerous visits to other research labs, I felt my mood lifting. I had begun sleeping better and felt, perhaps, a little more optimistic. But had I changed my brain?

I went back to see Elaine Fox and we redid the tests. During my previous visit I had demonstrated far more activity in the right frontal cortex of my brain than the left, a striking indicator of pessimism. This time? Big improvement.

Next, I repeated the test with the faces to see if my reaction times had changed. Last time I was much quicker to hit the button when an angry face appeared. Would that still be true?
Again, there were significant changes.

Reflecting on my journey, I had started out wanting to worry less, sleep better and be more optimistic.

As I looked for answers I came across research that shines a surprising light on the mystery of what makes us who we are. I'm not yet a signed-up member of the Panglossian club and I still sometimes roam the house at night, but I have discovered that it's never too late to change your mind. And that, surely, is something worth being cheerful about.

What the author did
MINDFULNESS: In the morning I sit in a quiet place and focus on physical sensations, such as the weight of my body. Then I focus on my breath, allowing thoughts to drift in and out of my consciousness. I did this for 10 minutes, building up to 20.

COGNITIVE BIAS MODIFICATION: The exercise I tried involved looking at a screen that showed 15 blank or angry faces, and one smiley face. I had to spot the smiley face and click on it. Then a new set of faces appeared. The idea is to train your brain to look for positive images - this will generalise to everyday life. To try the faces test go to tinyurl.com/lv5njmn
QUIZ: Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Read the questions below and, using the A to E options, make a note of your response. Then go to the end to calculate your score.
Try not to let your response to one statement influence your responses to others: nothing is “correct” or “incorrect”.
Answer according to your own feelings, rather than how you think “most people” would answer.


1 In uncertain times, I usually expect the best
2 It’s easy for me to relax
3 If something can go wrong for me, it will
4 I’m always optimistic about my future
5 I enjoy my friends a lot
6 It’s important for me to keep busy
7 I hardly ever expect things to go my way
8 I don’t get upset too easily
9 I rarely count on good things happening to me
10 Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad

How to score
For questions 1, 4 and 10
give yourself a score of
A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, E=0;
For questions 3, 7 and 9,
A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3, E=4

Questions 2, 5, 6, and 8 are fillers, so don’t score. 

Most people score 15, which is mildly optimistic; 0 is profoundly pessimistic.

With many thanks to The Australian

Picture credits: Doblelol and Picture Quotes



July 09, 2013

The Landfill Harmonic Recycled Orchestra


Truly creative, ingenious and inspiring. And these children are very talented indeed!


The people of Cateura, Paraguay, are some of the poorest in Latin America, living off landfill — but one group has discovered a way to create art.

Cateura, in the Santa Ana neighbourhood of Paraguay's capital Asunción, is a slum. The residents live on a massive landfill, picking through the refuse for items to recycle and sell. Where a violin would be worth more than a house, it is, perhaps, the last place you would expect to find an orchestra.

But that changed the day that garbage collector (now luthier) Nicolás "Cola" Gómez picked up the shell of what looked to him like a violin. He took it to Favio Chávez, who was working on a recycling program and had opened up a music school for the local kids — and together, they started creating musical instruments: violins and cellos from oil drums, flutes from water pipes and spoons, guitars from packing crates.

In a place where children have very little chance of a better life, the Los Reciclados (recycled) Orchestra gives them hope. Landfill Orchestra, by documentary maker Alejandra Amarilla Nash, wants to tell the story of Ada, Tania, Noelia, Esteban, Maria and Christian: how they live, and how the Recycled Orchestra changed their lives. If the Kickstarter campaign reaches its stretch goal of US$500,000, it will also send the orchestra on a world tour.

You can find out more about the orchestra on both its Kickstarter page (where you can also find an address to send instruments, if you have any care to donate) and Facebook page.

With many thanks to cnet

Many thanks to Claudette for sending me this.


July 08, 2013

Seven Effective Ways Happy People Think


by: Marc Chernoff

Believe it or not, I’ve read 27 personal development books specifically on the topic of happiness over the last few years.  (Yeah, I suppose that makes me a bit of a happiness junkie.)  Throughout my reading, one of the sub-topics that kept catching my attention is how our thoughts directly influence our satisfaction and effectiveness in life.
Today I want to honor and discuss seven ways I’ve changed my thinking, based on the principles I’ve read about, that has undoubtedly made me a happier person.

1.  Feeling privileged and satisfied to be alive.

If you’re reading this, congratulations, you’re ALIVE!  And if you can’t find a reason to smile about that, you’ll have an awfully tough time finding a better reason to do so.
Time spent living is time worth appreciating.  You are able to see the sunrise and the sunset.  You are able to hear birds sing and waves crash.  You can walk outside and feel the breeze through your hair and the sun’s warmth on your skin.  When you make the most out of what you have it turns out being a lot more than you ever imagined.
A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.  When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.  Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks.  The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one.  (Read Zen and the Art of Happiness.)

2.  Believing in the possibility of a better tomorrow.

What you believe determines who you become.  If the thoughts running through your mind are pure, positive and empowering, you will create positive and empowering beliefs about yourself and about life.  In turn, your actions, habits and daily routines will be a reflection of these thoughts and beliefs.
Sometimes you may catch yourself and wonder why you haven’t dropped all your positive ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to achieve.  Yet you must keep them, because deep down, in spite of everything, you believe that people are still good at heart and that life still contains a touch of magic.
You have to believe that hope is stronger than fear.  That imagination is more influential than public opinion.  That dreams are more powerful than today’s reality.  That determination always triumphs over experience.  That laughter is the best cure for grief.  And above all, you have to believe that love is stronger than any negative force in the world.

3.  Knowing deep down that every step is worth it.

Through every life experience, especially those that force you to look fear and adversity in the face, you will gain strength, courage and confidence.  Stop when you must, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am living through this and I am still OK.  I can take the next thing that comes my way.”
Make a pact with yourself and do the thing you once thought you couldn’t do.  Take another step, even when you feel too worn out or tired.  Find a reason to laugh, even when you’re trying not to cry.  Trust yourself, even when your mind second-guesses your heart.  Dance, even when others refuse to hear the music.  Dream, even if you’re afraid of what they might bring.  Open the door of opportunity in front of you, even when you have no idea what’s behind it.
Every step and experience is what makes you the person you are now.  Without this experience, you are an empty page, a blank journal, an unsung lyric.  What makes you ALIVE is your willingness to live through today’s challenges and then hold your head up high tomorrow with hope and tenacity.

4.  Appreciating the beauty in all the small things.

Subtract the obvious so you can see the meaningful.
Rediscover the sensitivity of your childhood eyes.  The eyes that saw life as it is – a beautiful compilation of tiny lives, each lived one at a time like snapshots in a family photo album.  That saw beauty in flowers and rainbows and wild animals.  That marveled at fireflies and sunsets and starry nights.  That let you dream every instant with your eyes wide open.
See yourself sitting right where you are, breathing, moving your limbs, and appreciating this chance to experience this moment.  If a child of two can see the beauty in it, why can’t you?  (Read Tuesdays with Morrie.)

5.  Feeling good enough.

Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble and reasonable confidence in your own abilities you cannot be effective or happy.  Know that you are good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, and strong enough.  Do not derive your sense of self-worth from what you own, who you know, where you live or what you look like.  Your self-worth is a reflection of who YOU are and how YOU choose to live.
Above all, don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  If you somehow feel ‘better’ than someone you’re comparing yourself to, it gives you an unhealthy sense of superiority.  If, on the other hand, you feel ‘worse’ than someone you’re comparing yourself to, you usually discredit all of the important progress you’ve made.  The bottom line is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

6.  Consciously detaching and living in the present.

The greatest step towards a life of positivity is objectivity – experiencing something fully and then learning to let go and move onward.  The key is to accept that everything is changing.  Each moment of your life is unlike any other.  To live each one to the fullest, you must learn to be in the moment, fully, and then step out of it.  This is detachment.
Take any emotional feeling – love for a significant other, or grief over a lost family member, or fear and pain from a deadly illness.  If you hold back on your emotions and you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them, you can never get to the point of being detached from them.  In other words, if you spend all your energy being afraid of feeling your true emotions – the vulnerability that love, sincerity and acceptance entails – you will be forever stuck.
But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to fully embrace them to the point where you’re effectively in over your head, you leave no emotion abandoned or question lingering in your mind.  You know what love is.  You know what grief is.  You know what fear is.  And only when you know these things can you say, “I’m OK.  I have experienced this.  I know what this emotion feels like, and now I need to detach from this emotion and move on with my life.”  (Angel and I cover this in detail in the Adversity and Happiness chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

7.  Embracing change.

As Oscar Wilde so profoundly said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all.”

Living a positive life hinges on your ability to accept the fact that everything is constantly moving forward, away from everything that previously existed.  Not only do you have to emotionally detach from the past, but you also have to willingly thrust yourself forward into the unknown.  You have to open yourself to trying new things, especially those that you may previously never have thought of doing, or had been too hesitant to attempt.  This is how you open doors of opportunity for positive growth.
So many people live within the confines of unhappy situations and yet refuse to take the initiative to change their circumstances.  They are conditioned to believe that the only choice is the current choice because it’s the life they know.  Their comfort zone blinds them from the truth – that nothing is more damaging to the human spirit than a mind that resists progress and change.
All of your personal growth and much of your joy in life will come from your encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater commitment than to embrace an endlessly changing horizon.

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list?  What is your number one tip for being happy?  

With many thanks to marcandangel.com

Picture credit: We 3 United Happiness Blog

July 06, 2013

Keith Richards - His Life with the Rolling Stones and His Book - Updated


Keith Richards talks about his years with The Rolling Stones and his new book.

JUST before Christmas this year, Keith Richards will turn 70. Swirl that around in your snifter for a moment. The world's most famous rhythm guitarist set the standard for powders injected and ingested, but he is still going to make it to the big 7-0. 

That's 30 more than Lennon, 43 more than Hendrix and Cobain. 
It seems impossible. And now, somehow, Richards has found another gear. In 2010, he published his memoir, Life, and the only thing pretentious and rock-starish about it was the title. He wrote sweetly about being bullied as a kid, the size of Mick's member, days on the run with Anita Pallenberg, and enough escapes from the lawman to fund another decade of Law & Order: Special Guitarist Unit. 

The book will be read by Stones fans and alchemists until the end of time.

Just as remarkable, as you read this, the Rolling Stones are playing again. Even more remarkable, according to reviews of the Stones' 2012 dates, they'll be damn good. Richards has emerged as the band's greatest defender, carping about the defections of Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor but also recruiting them to play with the band once again. (Taylor will join the band on selected numbers this tour.)

Over the years, Richards has segued from dissolute dad to dedicated family man, patriarch of a sprawling clan. He had three children with Italian-born actress Pallenberg, whom he swiped from fellow Stones guitarist Brian Jones. In the '70s, Richards was notorious for taking his boy, Marlon, on the road with him while he was still in primary school. 

But those were different times. Richards has two girls with his longtime partner, wife Patti Hansen. Theodora and Alexandra were raised under slightly different circumstances, with Richards claiming he was the breakfast cook if not the homework helper. He talks with affection and some melancholy about being an empty- nester and missing a house full of noise.

I caught up with Richards at Electric Lady Studios in New York and again while he was at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles for rehearsals before the tour. He wore the omnipresent bandanna, chain-smoked Marlboros, and drank a mysterious potion from a large plastic cup. He dodged nothing. The other weird thing? Keith Richards looked freakin' healthy. That bastard is going to outlive us all.

Your whole pirate-junkie image has become part of pop culture, even homogenised for kids. How do you feel about that?

They think I'm a cartoon! I mean "Keith Richards" - everybody knows what it means. It comes with longevity. I'm glad it strikes people's imaginations. I'd like to be old Keith and play him to the hilt. I'm probably something different to millions of different people.

Is Keith onstage different from Keith at home?

No, I'm the same bloke - I know who I am, but I'm also aware of the kaleidoscope of different visions being taken in by different people.

John Updike said, "Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face." You don't feel like a trained monkey sometimes?

I know my master, and I know when to jump and hop. I feel totally comfortable with it. The whole "Keef" thing, I consider it basically an honour. You've got to be around for a while to become this sort of icon thing.

You're going to be 70 this year. How the hell did that happen? Does that freak you out?

No, man, everybody should try it if they can get there. If I had a secret, I'd bottle it maybe. I just happen to be here. Just string it, and play it low.

But with the drugs and all, people will wonder how the hell you made it.

With the smack, I knew: "I've got to stop now, or I'm going to go in for hard time." The cocaine I quit because I fell on my head! Due to that - no more coke. Actually, my body tells me when to stop ... the hard way. It's a knock on the head - OK. It's no big deal to me, to give things up.

Your book suggests you did heroin because it allowed you to work. I find it hard to believe heroin was part of your Protestant work ethic.

It was - either stay up or crash out or wake up. It was always to do something. Also, I've got to confess, I was very interested in what I could take and what I could do. I looked upon the body as a laboratory - I used to throw in this chemical and then that one to see what would happen; I was intrigued by that. What one would work against another; I've got a bit of alchemist in me that way. But all experiments must come to an end.

Has there been damage done?

I've never felt that it affected the way I played one way or another; if I stayed up I got a few more songs out of it. It's like Churchill said about alcohol: "Believe me - I've taken a lot more out of alcohol than it's ever taken out of me." And I kind of feel the same way about the dope and stuff. I got something out of it. Might've pissed off a lot of people!

Now it's just a little weed, a little wine?

Yeah, exactly. I hate all this idea of rehab and giving stuff up because it just means you're hung up on it. It just means, "OK, I'm drinking too much, I'll cut down."

Ronnie Wood's been to a lot of rehabs.

Ronnie loves drama. He loves to talk to people he doesn't know. "I can't wait to hear your story!" That's not my idea of an audience.

So what's the current state of you and Mick?


You're in a detente period?

Smooth. Even. Definitely workable. Otherwise, we wouldn't be doing it. A lot of these things are blown way out of whack. It's like two very volatile brothers - when they clash, they really clash, but when it's over, it's over because we both know we need each other; we both enjoy working with each other. Ninety per cent of the time it's as cool as can be, then, of course, the people only get to hear about the 10. And the 10 are pretty fierce.

Was the book part of that 10 per cent?

That was my gentle letdown. I'd tell Mick, "You should've read the rest, pal! You should've read the blue pencil." But I didn't want to get into it.

Did he express his displeasure?

He was intentionally annoyed. But at the same time, I had sent him the proofs. There's nothing in there that ain't true. There might have been a few things in there that he didn't know about ... But I said, "Mick - you got the book, went straight to the index, and shot to M ... You went straight there, and you read that chapter, and you formed your whole opinion, and that was that. You didn't read the rest of the other great stuff in there. Because I know you, Mick, and you're a 'me-me-me'." And he is! There's no getting away from it. It took him a while to come around, you know, demanding apologies and all of this crap. I'd say, "Eh, I'm sorry I upset you," you know?

You didn't apologise for writing the book?

No, no way! If I withdrew one sentence, I would withdraw the whole book. At the same time, it didn't surprise me it upset him - but you know, who else is going to say it?

So are you and Mick in a place where you can play together, but not write together?

We could do that, too. It's not that we would seek each other out for fun or company - it's a different social thing going on, but we could absolutely get together and sit down and go, "Let's go in the back room," and then, "I've got this song, you've got this song" and I've always found working with Mick is like a joy, it's a real pleasure. Outside of the realm of work is where we tend to disagree.

When you guys are thinking about gearing up the machine, who has to be convinced?

That's a hard one to call. Mick will want to be convinced, but at the same time he's the one who really wants to do it, so then he's like, "OK, convince me." Charlie [Watts] is a little hesitant about things until it starts. Charlie likes to check out the rest of the band to see if we can cut it. Then once he's happy with that, we'll know. So it sort of starts in weird little ways like that, and the only way to find out is like, "Why don't we all get together?" And then we'll know, which is what we did in April last year, in New Jersey - everybody got together, and I don't know what other people's expectations were but they were incredible rehearsals. I mean, the band just exploded. And from that moment, I knew that we had a thing going.

You played in London with ex-bassist Bill Wyman, and ex-guitarist Mick Taylor will make a few appearances on the North American tour. Is that tough? You were bitter when they left.

Yeah, I guess I mellowed. Until maybe 20-odd years ago it was, "Nobody left this band except in a coffin." I'd just say, after 50 years in a band, anybody that is still alive, you're welcome to come back in and do your bit.

In your book you seem a bit vexed by Wyman - a quiet guy but an incorrigible ladies' man.

They'll both hate me for saying this, but Bill Wyman is very much like Mick Jagger - especially in that respect. But with Bill, if my attitude seemed off to Bill, it's because he left. I was pissed off. I was like, "Where's the coffin?"

You weren't moving around stage as much as in the past at last year's New York-area shows, but your playing has never been better ...

I wanted to concentrate on the playing. We obviously hadn't played onstage for a long time, and I did want to stay close to Charlie Watts, keep the band in tight. It wasn't from a physical point of view. I wanted to stay centred, I wanted to play well - with me, I never know! As long as I've got the band centred then I can play well.

After you fell out of the tree and had to have brain surgery, was there some apprehension the first time you picked the guitar back up?

I'm sure there was for millions of other people. I've fallen out of trees and worse before. It didn't really occur to me. The main thing was, "Oh, yes, I have to give up some drinks." That's the only thing I remember about falling. You can't do that anymore because it will thin your blood. Anyway, I was looking to kick it.

Do you do anything to get in shape? Yoga?

[Laughs] The answer is no. My workout is when I work with the guys. If I have a massage, it's from the old lady. I've never been the person to be like, "I need a massage," somebody who's like, "Oh, that's nice." I mean, I'm pretty limber. Mick is in fantastic shape; Charlie Watts is endlessly relentless. So from the physical point of view, it doesn't come into it. We're actually doing a longer show than we've ever done. I've felt no particular strain.

So you haven't gone vegan or macrobiotic?

No, we haven't gone that far. I eat basically bangers and mash in the morning, and a small tipple in the evening. I've given up all the hard stuff.

I imagine your approach to child-rearing was much different with your younger kids.

Well, yes, of course. A different wife, for starters.

Patti seems more of a rock than Anita was.

Marlon and Angela, you know, the kids from Anita - we were basically on the run. They had to grow up on the lam. Luckily, though, at the same time, you've got to say, "Hey, you've got your mum and your dad around" - all kinds of shit can happen, but as long as you know they're there, there's been no damage. Marlon's a great lad, he's given me three grandkids, and Angela's given me one. My present brood - thank God for Mrs Patti Hansen, who has finally got her way and put me on the straight and narrow. I mean the proof is in the pudding: great kids.

What were you able to give Marlon? You were basically taking a 10-year-old on the road.

I gave him excitement! Knowledge of geography, a kind of street-wiseness nobody else could get. He's basically on the road with me and a bunch of musicians; Stevie Wonder - he used to hang with Stevie. So he grew up in a very unique way.

Even at the height of that kind of craziness, would you try to carve out 15 or 20 minutes of father-son time a day?

Oh man, every day! I used to do that by giving him a task that involved us both: "Today you're my roadie, grab my guitar." Make it a "we" thing; "we've got to do this together". Like I said, a very unique upbringing, but at the same time I don't know a straighter guy than Marlon.

Were you ever worried about him?

I would've been if he'd given me cause to be, but he didn't. He was going to prep school on Long Island, and he turned around to me and said, "This is no good, Dad. I want to go to England and get some education." He made his own decision and off he went with his mum and got himself an education. And I'm glad he made that decision, and I think he is, too, because, you know, he was hanging out with a lot of bums.

With your kids growing up in Connecticut, it's hard to imagine you at soccer games.

Oh, I've been to a few end-of-year concerts and school plays. I've done my daddy bit, big time. It's kind of new for me - graduations and stuff.

Do you enjoy it?

Yes, of course I enjoyed it. It was important to me because it was important to them.

You don't feel shackled by domesticity?

No! I'm the one who cooks breakfast. When I'm at home, I'm Daddy to the max.

When you're not working, what's your life like in Connecticut?

Depending on the weather, sit down and read a bit. There's always lots of incoming information to deal with. Patti and I without the kids - we're sort of still learning. The kids have gone from the nest, but they're only around the corner; most of the time they're all up at the house anyway. We have a lot of family, especially Patti, an enormous family. Ours is a tribe, not a family!

Will the band just keep playing?

We love it, and even more important than that: They love it. You don't sell out [London's] Hyde Park in four minutes without knowing you have an audience. In a way, you feel an obligation. I don't get nervous. I don't feel like it's all on me, you know? I'm just there to sling some hash and everybody have a good time.

by Stephen Robick

With many thanks to The Australian




''Of the musicians I know personally,'' Richards writes in his autobiography, ''the two who had an attitude towards music that was the same as mine were Gram Parsons and John Lennon.
And that was: whatever bag the business wants to put you in is immaterial; that's just a selling point, a tool that makes it easier … Gram and John were pure musicians. All they liked was music, and then they got thrown into the game.''


Summary of posts on the Rolling Stones in no particular order:


The Rolling Stones To Release Two Heritage Concerts On DVD & Their Australian "On Fire" Tour  

Rolling Stones Book To Cost $5,000 (or $10,000)

Behind The Song: The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses”

Jagger Gives Charlie Watts A Special Gift!

The Rolling Stones - A New Book

Altamont at 45: The Most Dangerous Rock Concert Ever?

The Rolling Stones: New Tour Announced - Zip Code Updated: Releases from The Vault And A New Album for Keith Richards

'American Pie' Lyrics Sell For $1.2 million In New York

The Weirdest Musical Instruments

 The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers: Super Deluxe Edition

Bill Wyman: The Rolling Stones Never Forgave Me For Leaving 

The Rolling Stones To Create Their Own Museum

Don Henley Recruits Mick Jagger And Dolly Parton For Country Album Cass County

Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood’s - "How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary"

The Who Release First Song In 8 Years: Be Lucky 

Bob Dylan Named Greatest Songwriter Ahead Of Lennon and McCartney According To Rolling Stone

Keith Richards ‘Under The Influence’

Keith Richards Says Jagger’s Ego Sent Him Solo

 The Rolling Stones’ 'Satisfaction' Was The Result Of A Faulty Amp

Rolling Stones Rehearse Rare Songs For Their South American Tour

A History Of Mick Jagger On Film

'Vinyl' Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese's Mini-series

The Rolling Stones To Create Their Own Museum - #StonesIsm

The Rolling Stones Guide To Business Success And Survival

The Rolling Stones Reveal ‘Totally Stripped’

The Rolling Stones: A New Movie About The Making of 'Exile on Main Street'

The Rolling Stones’ ‘Havana Moon’ In Cinemas Worldwide

Rollings Stones’ Keith Richards Is Evolving, Not Ageing

The Rolling Stones:Olé Olé Olé: A Trip Across Latin America

The Rolling Stones: First Music From New Blues Album

Rolling Stones Reclaim Soul On Blue & Lonesome