Keith Richards, more than anyone else on Earth, has earnt the right to do what he likes, whether it's falling out of a tree, starring in hokey pirate films or smoking a fag on a stage in Scotland.
Little did Keith Richards know, however, that smoking a cigarette on a stage in Scotland – as he did during a Rolling Stones concert last week – is a precarious act that could have gained him a fine for doing so under Scottish anti-smoking legislation. But Scottish environmental officers have declared that Keith Richards will not be punished for his onstage smoking. Partly because Keith Richards is genuinely invincible and can therefore withstand any amount of punishment regardless of intensity, and partly because, um, the dimensions of the stadium put it outside the jurisdiction of the legislation. Hey, did we mention Keith Richards is invincible?
Nobody could have expected The Rolling Stones to return to the UK as part of their latest tour without a little controversy; after all, the rest of the Bigger Bang world tour has been filled with the stuff, from American ageism to Chinese censorship to Brazilian mega-audiences to Spanish laryngitis – so most people expected some major Rolling Stones upsets to occur during the band's jaunt around the UK. And was there? Yes there was. Kinda. Keith Richards smoked a cigarette.
You read that correctly; Keith Richards of brain-drilling and crazy driving fame had the cheek to smoke a cigarette – Tom And Jerry style – during the Rolling Stones concert in Hampden Park last Friday. Thank goodness that someone present at the concert managed to forget that they had paid stacks of money to see one of the biggest bands in the history of the world perform a string of legendary songs, instead choosing to complain to Glasgow City Council about a pinprick on a stage smoking a cigarette, remembering that anyone caught smoking in enclosed public places would be subject to a £50 fine.
However, Keith Richards has escaped any form of punishment for lighting up onstage, thanks to Scotland's leaky legislation. A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said:
"The stage for the concert was not of the dimensions to be covered by the smoking ban legislation in Scotland."
Wow, it's strange to think that Hampden Park stadium, basically a circle of chairs with a sodding great hole in the roof, doesn't count as 'enclosed' these days. Also, that £50 fine would have caused a lot of trouble for Keith Richards, being almost half the admission price of one of the 50,000 tickets on sale. With the winter coming up, these old people need to save all the pennies they can for the heating, don't they?
[story by Stuart Heritage]