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Keith Richards slams The Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s” is “a mishmash of rubbish”

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Keith Richards slams The Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s” is “a mishmash of rubbish”

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The 71-year-old rock icon spoke to Esquire about his new solo album, “

Keith Richards slams The Beatles: "Sgt. Pepper's" is "a mishmash of rubbish"EnlargeKeith Richards(Credit: AP/Chris Pizzello)

Keith Richards may be 71 years old, but that doesn’t mean the #Rolling Stones’ storied rivalry with the Beatles has faded into the past. Not by a long shot. In a new interview with Esquire, Richards lobs some pot-shots at the mop-tops, calling out their pathbreaking 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” for being “a mishmash of rubbish.”

 Discussing the frenzied adoration bands like the Stones and the #Beatles received from female fans, Richards suggests that when it came to the Beatles, “those chicks wore those guys out,” adding that “they stopped touring in 1966—they were done already. They were ready to go to India and shit.”

“The Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles. But there’s not a lot of roots in that music,” he continued. “I think they got carried away. Why not? If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away—you forget what it is you wanted to do. You’re starting to do Sgt. Pepper. Some people think it’s a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties—”Oh, if you can make a load of shit, so can we.”

The Tiny island on the Thames that once held The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and the UK’s Largest Hippie Commune

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The Tiny island on the Thames that once held The Rolling Stones, David

Bowie, and the UK’s Largest Hippie Commune

By

21ST AUG, 2014

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Eel Pie Landscape 3

Let’s take a walk along the towpath by the Thames, breathing in the heady scent of summer. See that island in the middle? That’s where we’re headed. And I’ve got a map, so I know it’s there!

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Map of Island

Past the gently bobbing riverboats moored at Twickenham,

Boatyard 2

Until we reach a single footbridge.

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Here we go…

Private Island Sign

And we’re in!

Welcome to the exclusive and elusive Eel Pie Island, former site to the now legendary Eel Pie Island Hotel and one of London’s best kept secrets. It’s tiny expanse is home to just 120 residents, but don’t be fooled by its size- this little island holds an extraordinary history and quirky character all its own.

A postcard showing the Eel Pie Hotel c. 1900

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s rumoured that King Henry VIII used the island during the 1500′s as a courting ground for his many mistresses, and from 1830 onwards its beautiful three-storey Eel Pie Island Hotel made it a popular leisure resort for holidaymakers. The island got its unusual name from the tasty eel pies that were sold by its residents to passing river traders. Although this specialty died out, the name remained.

A photograph from 1952

The footbridge was built in 1957, until then visitors had to pull themselves across the water by rope and paddle boat

But things really took off during the 50′s and 60′s, when the hotel’s old, elegant 19th century ballroom and dusty bar played host to numerous gigs and raves, gradually transforming Eel Pie Island into a buzzing and eclectic music venue.

Pink Floyd

It began to attract a flood of up-and-coming but as yet unknown bands who went on to become some of the biggest names in rock and roll history. Music legends who graced its shores include Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, David Bowie and of course, The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones Ad

Oh for the time when The Stones were a weekly fixture! Below, a young Mick Jagger plays a gig on the island with his unknown band in 1963.

With bands like these playing almost every week, it’s easy to see why many claim Eel Pie Island launched the UK’s first underground music scene. Gigs were infamously raucous and the liqueur (amongst other things) flowed freely. Crowded, loud, smoky, sweaty, and flooded with free spirits and new music lovers from all over the world, it was an escapist’s paradise and the perfect place to leave the daily grind behind.

Rave Island 1960

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Interestingly, the owner of the hotel and founder of the Eelpiland Club, Arthur Chisnell, often used profits from the club to help a number of hard-up teenagers who attended the gigs to get a better start in life. An avid social researcher and philanthropist, Arthur was also a bit of a bohemian at heart and had a wicked sense of humour. Check out these Eel Pie Island ‘passports’ that were issued to jivers in the 50′s and 60′s.

Passport 1

Passport 2

But when the club failed to raise the £200,000 required for much-needed repairs it was forced to close, and the hotel was eventually occupied by a group of anarchists. The island quickly grew into an oasis for society’s waifs and strays, becoming the UK’s largest hippie commune by 1970.

Eel Pie Hotel c. 1970

Hippy gathering on the banks of Eel Pie Island c. 1970

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Eel Pie Hotel c. 1970 2

Although the authorities deemed the hotel ‘uninhabitable’, they admitted that the hippies and the children on the island appeared to be ‘healthy and well cared for’.

Hippie Group

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But when a mysterious fire destroyed the famous hotel in 1970, it was abandoned, left derelict, and eventually demolished in favour of a new block of flats, much to the islanders’ dismay.

The abandoned hotel

Derelict Hotel 2

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The hippies and hotel may be gone, but Eel Pie Island has lost none of its bohemian flair. Today it’s home to a colourful array of inventors, artists, craftsmen and boat builders, who decorate their houses, studios and little alleyways with Alice in Wonderland charm.

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Artist's House 4

Front steps

Adornments range from the enchanting to bizarre, and you can find pretty much anything in their gardens…

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True to its heritage, a number of these beautiful old boatyards are still in use.

Boat House 1

Boatyard 5

Although the footbridge is only open to the public twice a year for the summer and Christmas markets, these are special occasions- a chance for people to browse the arts and crafts on display,

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Meander through the islanders’ quaint and quirky lanes,

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And meet some of the artists who live there.

Sheba Cassini

Lee Campbell

I get the feeling there’s more to this secretive island than meets the eye. Unexplored paths and secret gardens beckon…

But we’ll have to leave that for another day. The light is fading, and twinkling lights guide the way. Back we turn, past the artists’ houses,

Artist's Studio Night 1

Back over the bridge,

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And with one last glance over our shoulders, we leave the Eel Pie isle behind and head towards the gathering dusk.

Landscape Night 1

A book has been published on the history of Eel Pie Island that includes many interviews, images and anecdotes from those who spent time there. It’s available for purchase here.

You can also take a look at this short documentary from 1967, which shows footage of the Eel Pie Island Hotel and details how the club helped several who attended gigs there.

All photos via Flickr

HOW MUCH DO ANIMALS REALLY KNOW

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The news you’re not supposed to know…

  Science/Technology Source: PARADE Magazine Print

How Much Do Animals Really Know?

Scientists are taking a new look at the surprising evidence.
By Eugene Lınden


We all want to believe our pet is as smart as it seems, and every now and then a dog or cat does something astonishing. In 2003 in Kentucky, a dog named Scooby limped to a vet’s office after being hit by a car. A year later in Richland, Wash., a rottweiler named Faith hit 911 on the speed dial with its nose and barked into the phone after its owner fell out of her wheelchair.

Are these slam-dunk cases of animal intelligence? The answer used to be a definitive “no,” but now we can say “maybe.” 

Scientists are seeing evidence of higher mental abilities in a wider range of animals than previously imagined. They have also observed unexpected traits and skills, like empathy and the ability to fashion weapons.

Empathy—being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—is important because it is the basis of morality. But empathy is very difficult to prove. Actions don’t always imply intent. Thus, skeptics have tended to dismiss accounts of chimps helping other chimps, dolphins saving drowning people and elephants supporting their injured herd mates. In lab experiments, rats have been shown to refuse food if their eating causes suffering for other rats. But Harvard biologist Marc Hauser has pointed out that the rats might simply be avoiding unpleasant squealing. 

Empathy relies on self-awareness. Only an animal that recognizes itself can understand another’s plight. So there’s the gauntlet: If you can prove that an animal knows it is a separate creature from others, the case for animal empathy becomes stronger.

A widely used test for a sense of self is to see whether an animal recognizes itself in a mirror. Experimenters will put a mark on an animal’s forehead, then place the animal in front of a mirror. Monkeys, cats and rats react as though they are encountering another member of their species and have shown no curiosity about the mark. By contrast, dolphins and great apes realize that they are looking at themselves.

Do elephants care? 
Elephants have the largest brain of any land animal, but not much is known about how they use it. 

Last fall, Joshua Plotnik, an Emory University graduate student, published the results of a mirror test he’d done with elephants. Working with Emory’s Frans de Waal, a pioneer in the study of chimpanzee intelligence, and Diana Reiss, who devised a version of the mirror test for dolphins, Plotnik installed a sturdy 8×8-foot Plexiglass mirror in an enclosure at New York City’s Bronx Zoo. Keepers painted a white X on the foreheads of three females—Maxine, Patty and Happy. Then Plotnik sat back and enjoyed the show.

The results were fascinating. The three females seemed to recognize right off the bat that the image was not another elephant. They experimented with the reflected image just like kids—moving their heads to the side and watching how the mirror image reacted. Happy used the image to guide her trunk so that she could examine the white X marked on her forehead. 

It may not sound like much, but this means that Happy has a prerequisite for recognizing that another animal—or human—needs help. And if Happy has the capacity for empathy, so do all elephants.

That’s what seemed to happen once at the Indianapolis Zoo. Sophi, a female elephant, watched her keepers push a heavy cart across the yard after cleaning up the enclosure. The elephant had never received any training to do chores, but suddenly she started to push too. Was Sophi displaying empathy? We have no way of knowing, notes Deborah Olson, a director at the zoo, but the staff keenly felt Sophi’s attachment to them.

Actually, examples of animal empathy have long been noted. What’s new today is that scientists seem ready to accept the idea that animals may be conscious or smart. Frans de Waal cites an example of chimp empathy dating back to 1910: A Russian scientist couldn’t get a chimp to come down from a roof unless she pretended she was hurt. Only now are such stories receiving a hearing in the scientific establishment. 

“We are now much freer to talk about mental processes and emotions in animals that 15 years ago would have been laughed out of the room,” says de Waal.

Animals bearing arms
The use of tools—and weapons—is considered a mark of higher intelligence. In the 1960s, the idea that animals might fashion weapons was the stuff of science-fiction films. Then, in 1999, a team led by Richard Wrangham of Harvard observed chimps using sticks to beat other chimps. Even more stunning were reports published this spring by Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University about chimps in the savannas of Senegal fashioning sticks into spears, which they used to hunt small primates called bush babies. 

These chimps may have been hunting for a very long time—there’s evidence that they pass on such expertise from generation to generation. The primatologist Christophe Boesch has observed chimps using granite stones to crack panda nuts in the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest since the 1980s. But this year, Boesch and Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary uncovered nut-cracking stones in that same forest dating back 4,300 years—even before early Africans started using agriculture. This means that, unknown to science, the chimps have been doing something in close proximity to humans for thousands of years.

As scientists continue to investigate evidence of intelligence, empathy and foresight in animals, we’re also likely to broaden our understanding of the origins and nature of human ingenuity. Such studies should increase our respect for the other creatures with whom we share the planet.