Memorable juxtapositions

Sometimes events are polar opposites. They co-exist in memory, at least in my memory. The two that caught me this morning involve Mick Jagger and explosive diarrhea.

Back in the mid-1980s I was trying to produce a film I’d written with my friend Alex. Our securing the commitment of French star Sandrine Bonnaire attracted a host of European television stations to express interest. Simultaneously, we’d built up a friendship with the manager for Keith Richards, who we were trying to get to do some soundtrack material.

A dinner date was arranged at La Coupole, the grand old Montparnasse brasserie with wall paintings and drawings by some of the greats of modern art. Enter all the Rolling Stones minus Bill Wyman and Jagger. A grand old time was started, with loads of wine flowing, orders taken around the long table, and Charlie Watts holding court like the aristocrat he’s become, while Ronnie and Keith kept running off to the men’s room giggling. I felt at ease, like one of the crowd.


A half-hour in I took a taxi to pick up Sandrine, who took an extra half-hour to decide what she should wear. By the time I returned to our table my seat had been taken by Mr. Jagger.

My knees went wobbly.

“Did you eat my tartare?” was all I could say. He laughed.

I was preparing 27 years later to head off to one of my oldest friend’s second wedding. I’d been at his first, too. We’d been making plans to make it a Maine vacation when I realized that our son, then four, hadn’t taken a shit in what seemed like nearly two weeks. I asked what was wrong. Nothing, he said.

Within an hour, however, he said we had to pull over. The back seat got soiled. It happened again as we sped home. We cancelled the trip and have spent the last decade apologizing for missing the wedding.

Is there a point of continuity between these disparate pair of tales? Not really. My mind is the sole link. Such juxtapositions exist within me.

Concomitance may just be the most real of human states. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a conjunction that is regular and is marked by correlative variation of accompanying elements.” It also has a theological history involving the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.