My Friend Mark

 

"This place isn't mine anymore. It belongs to the Rolling Stones, and they don't want me giving interviews here."



    "Well, Gil, the time has come." 
    "For what, Mark?" 
    "Well, I was just saying to my editor the other day — you know — Larry O'Neil — he covered Stevie Wonder Day at Long View for the paper. 'Larry,' I said, 'we've really got enough on Gil Markle now to do a real profile. Something for the Sunday edition. It's no flash in the pan any longer. This guy has made real changes. I say, let's go, send me out there with a Nikon and let's see if we can't take the bushel off the candle. Tell the world what this guy's been doing.'" 
    "You said that, Mark? I mean, I didn't think you were all that excited...!" 
    "Well, I am, Gil. Have been for years. And you wanna know what Larry O'Neil said?" 
    "Yeah, now I do, for sure. What did he say?" 
    "He said, 'Sunday edition only? Schmuck! You mean the week endedition — morning paper and the evening paper!" 
    "Well that sounds great, Mark, but I really don't know that this is the time..." 
    "Time! Any time's right when you're doing what you're doing, Gil. So, how about tomorrow, or the next day? Now, Gil, while the iron's hot." 
    "The iron's hot all right, Mark. Too hot. I mean, you know the Rolling Stones are at Long View now, don't you?" 
    "Yeah, Gil. Far out! The Stones! Had to happen sooner or later. Like I said to Larry O'Neil, that Gil Markle . . ." 
    "Mark," I interrupted, "you're aware that I'm not authorized or permitted to arrange news coverage of the Stones, or any interviews with band members, or anything like that . . ." 
    "Hey, Gil. Wait just a minute. It's not them. Not them, Gil. It's you, man.You! Listen, me and the photographer, we'll hug the corners if you want, won't say anything to anybody. Just like flies on the wall. That way we'll get the stuff we need on you, take a picture or two, and have it all together in time for the weekend edition. How about it?" 
    "Mark, you don't understand. At this very moment there's a roadblock down at the bottom of Stoddard Road. On the other side of the barricade are reporters, photographers, TV journalists, the freelancers, and our job is to keep them there. 
    "If they call, I'm supposed to say I don't even know that the Stones are here. Can you imagine that? 'No comment' is all I'm permitted to say. And you want me to radio down there on the walkie-talkie and say, 'Oh, will you please let the crew for the Herald American through? They're coming to interview me.' Mark, people would laugh in my face. This place isn't mine anymore. It belongs to the Rolling Stones, and they don't want me giving interviews here. They think — and I know it's not so, Mark — that it's not me, but really Mick Jagger or Keith Richards that you want to see." 
    "Gil, after all these years, and I have to hear that from you. You were a friend of mine. A real friend. And now, to hear that. Gil, I just don't know what to say." 
    "Figure out what to say to your editor, Larry O'Neil, not what to say to me. I'm only doing my job, Mark." 
    Mark didn't hear that last part. He had hung up. Needless to say, no profile of me appeared in that weekend's paper. I did, however, get Mark invited to the press conference — held on the day the Stones left for Philadelphia. That media event is described in detail very much toward the end of this book.

 


 All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.